Commons cafes were created by Sharif Abdullah to bring diverse groups of people together in small groups to get to know each other.
The set-up is like a cafe - or IS a cafe - with tables for four. Participants are solicited from, say, a golf club, a homeless shelter, a new age church and a senior center -- say, ten people from each place. Chairs are color-coded so that one of each type of person is sitting at each of the four chairs at each of ten tables. No one knows who the other people are. Then participants start sharing their answers to questions from a stack of cards in the middle of the table, starting with very simple personal questions such as "talk about the kids in your family", and moving on to increasingly personal questions such as "what has been hard in your life".
During a table's sharing of answers to these questions, they start to realize who each other are, and discover their humanity in the midst of their differences.
For more information see Sharif's site http://www.commonway.org/cafes/