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Talking circles The round table - furniture that opens the doors of democracy

What to do when tensions burst or a crisis threatens? Or when adversaries won't give an inch? Often the key to finding a solution is exemplified in a piece of furniture – the round table. Here is one big advantage: Everyone gathered around can talk to each other at eye level.

They might be kindergarten children, revellers at a cocktail party, or perhaps ministers and presidents at an international summit. For all of them, gathering in a circle is the most suitable way of enabling communication between people.

A round table has the advantage of levelling the playing field for all participants. Differences in power, influence, legitimacy, nationality, ethnicity, background, gender … all these considerations can be temporarily set aside. The round table: could this be humanity's most democratic piece of furniture?

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