• Limmud Chicago 2016

    "Friending our Foes"

    An open debate


    Debate Topics. Learn Skills. Find the Middle.

  • The Workshop

    Passionately debate controversial topics while learning healthy conversation tactics on the spot.

  • Hot Topics

    Circumcision - Intelligent Design - Jews marrying non-Jews - Bisexuality

    Abortion - Guns - Harambe - Is college worth it? - Selling friendship

    Outsourcing - Are the Oscars racist - Winning the lottery - First date: who pays?

    Unpaid internships - Required tipping - Crocs - A debate on being LGBT+ and religion

    Did these topics get you you fired up? These are just some of the topics I bring up in my workshop. Some are lighter and some get a bit deeper. It all depends on who you invite to the table.

  • Tips

    *Appreciate their truth

    *Gain converts to your side

    *Find the middle ground

    *Value good intentions

    *Share your story

    *Communicate using humor and positivity

    *Prescribe a medication

  • the nitty gritty

    "I wish that each time I hear someone speak I could hear the intent behind the words being expressed"

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    How I do it

    The secret sauce

    After getting to know your needs, we start with the contentious issues facing your community. With an arsenal of topics in hand, participants go through a heated discussion. When things get heated, I advise participants on how to adjust their language to get people to really listen. Your participants will do this in an extremely supportive, participant driven environment. By the end of the workshop, your participants will have practiced an array of debate strategies, discussed a topic that needed to be discussed, and have a few laughs along the way.

    Highschool GSA

    Who has seen it?

    Here is a list of where I have presented

    Chicago Pride Parade


    Why I made the workshop

    In high school, I was an avid fighter for marriage equality. If you tried to tell me anything that wasn't totally pro LGBT, I would debate you till you agreed. One day my mom's good friend came over and told me that she thought "marriage is between one man and one woman." I immediately started crying because I literally thought she was the devil. I ran off to the bathroom and avoided her like the plague. After some time, I gave in and realized that she was more than just her opinion, shocking. Even though we disagreed, we could have a real talk with one another and at least try to learn something from each of our experiences.


    After working with activists, I noticed this same problem on a larger scale. If someone disagreed about a topic, they would be ignored not engaged. I wanted to create an opportunity for people from different sides of the spectrum to understand other viewpoints. After having an "ah ha" moment, the workshop was born. I presented it as a youth lead workshop at Advocates for Youth's Urban Retreat 2012. The rest is history.

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    It's "Friending Our Foes" the show on Live Stream

    I wanted to bring my passion for debating controversial topics to the web. On my Periscope show #DEBATE, I pick today's juiciest topics and lay out the various points of view using my positive energy, LIVE. Viewers chime into the conversation. Everyone leaves with a new perspective allowing them to see beyond their own opinions.

  • Testimonials

    "I'd like to say that I was so impressed by your energy. I'm a 71 year old and when I was young and had much more energy than I do today, I would sometimes be able to share w/others in such an energetic positive way like you did. So great to see someone carrying on my "tradition" of joy and energy in presenting."


    "I thought you did a great job in guiding us/goading us into finding a topic where we could practice discussing /debating /talking with those who had strong and opposite views, or strong views vs me for example who tries to see both sides."


    "I think you do good work and that you manage, facilitate, and execute tasks very well."

    "Your presentation was awesome" - said 3 years after seeing my presentation


  • Conflict Consulting

    I use the passion I have for helping people communicate to facilitate dialogues between conflicting parties. Is there someone you care about that you are constantly fighting with? Often the problem is not as much the content of the fight as much as it is how you are communicating it. There's always a reason for the fight deep down that seldom comes out. Over the past 5 years, I have helped people get to the core of their arguments so that they can start to repair relationships.


    Here are their stories...

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    Unrequited Love

    How I helped two friends determine if they wanted to date each other

    It was a game of he said she said. I went back and forth to figure out if these two actually wanted to pursue each other. He wasn't ready for a relationship with her while she was ready for marriage. They were stuck in uncertainty. I went back and forth and helped them communicate their problems. By the end, they were able to have a long overdue conversation.

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    Father and Son

    What do you do when your dad/business partner doesn't trust you with the reigns?

    Working with your dad can be a challenge especially when millennial tech knowledge and old school wisdom conflict. The son wanted to modernize the business while the dad was pointing out the risks involved. Together, these two could take over the world. But they could not see eye to eye. We all hashed out what the real problems were and helped them get more clarity than their expensive shrink could.

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    When you are still married to you ex...

    She wanted to stay married and he didn't

    When I saw a screaming incident blow up with the split couple in front of their two-year-old child, I knew I had to do something. Having been the product of divorce, I wanted to spare this child from going through the yelling I went through. I took it upon myself to talk to the wife and find out what she was most upset about. Over the next few weeks, we found out exactly why they couldn't stand each other and they both thanked me in the end.

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    Wisconsin is for Lovers?

    Was it just a fling or something more?

    While I was making new friends at my camping adventure in Wisconsin, I saw a love spark between two of my adventure mates. But, neither of them were sure what they wanted. I asked one and he said he wanted a relationship and the other said he wanted to just date. It was clear that they were both looking for different things. With a bit of back and forth, they figured it out for themselves and spared everyone on the trip a ton of awkwardness.

  • Creator / Facilitator / Energizer

    Photo credit: Robert Bejil Productions via VisualHunt / CC BY

    Chicago, IL

    Shaily has been entertaining, emceeing, teaching, and public speaking since she was 17. Born and raised in the Chicago area as a first generation American, she has a teaching degree from Indiana University. She has worked in both the Jewish and LGBT community. While everyone is buried into their phones, she strives to create new ways to bring communities together. In her free time, she obsesses over reality competition shows such at Big Brother & Survivor. She believes that stand up comedy is the "cure to life." One of her most life changing experiences was a program called Inside-Out Prison Exchange where she spent 4 months bonding with her incarcerated classmates. It allowed her to love people no matter what their background.

  • hire me

    Bring me to your community to facilitate workshops, emcee, deliver a keynote, professional development, and beyond. What kind of groups bring me in? Middle schools/high schools/clubsHuman Resources ProfessionalsLiberal Activists Communities and NonprofitsReligious groups like synagogues and churchesSummer CampsConferences with Controversy

  • Connect With Shaily

    For bookings outside of Chicago and special pricing email me at MissHakimian@gmail.com

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