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What We’re All About

The National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) is a network of more than 2,100 innovators who bring people together across divides to discuss, decide, and take action together effectively on today’s toughest issues.  NCDD serves as a gathering place, a resource center, a news source, and a facilitative leader for this vital community of practice.

Dialogue and deliberation are innovative processes that help people come together across differences to tackle our most challenging problems.  In a time of extreme political partisanship and increased conflict between religious and ethnic groups, teaching, spreading, and supporting the skills of dialogue and deliberation are vital.

The NCDD website is a clearinghouse for literally thousands of resources and best practices, and our highly participatory national and regional conferences have brought together more than 2,500 practitioners, community leaders, public administrators, researchers, activists, teachers and students since 2002. We keep in touch monthly with 34,000 people involved in public engagement and conflict resolution work.

Above all, NCDD provides opportunities for members of the broadly-defined dialogue and deliberation (“D&D”) community to share knowledge, inspire one another, build collaborative relationships, and have a greater collective impact.

Below you’ll find our contact info, mission, details about our membership, and more. You can also read the full story of NCDD’s beginnings and learn about the NCDD team. And, of course, if this resonates with you, please consider becoming a member or making a donation to NCDD!

Contacting Us

The easiest way to get in touch with us is via our Contact Form. Otherwise, you can call, email, or write NCDD at…

Phone:  717-243-5144
Email:
  info [at] ncdd [dot] org
Mail:  114 W. Springville Road, Boiling Springs, PA 17007

Who is involved in NCDD?

Photo of Sandy and AndyNCDD was co-founded in 2002 by Sandy Heierbacher and Andy Fluke (pictured), and a coalition of 60 organizations that had come together to endorse and organize the first National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation.  Sandy is NCDD’s Director, and Andy is NCDD’s Creative Director.  Joy Garman is NCDD’s indefatigable Office Manager. Learn more about NCDD’s staff, Board of Directors, and other leaders.

NCDD’s members include organizations as varied as the the Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Project, AmericaSpeaks, The Public Conversations Project, the Small Planet Institute and Everyday Democracy. Our individual members are consultants, public administrators, teachers, scholars, activists, facilitators, artists, students and community leaders.

Why did the Coalition form?

NCDD exists to support the growing “dialogue and deliberation community” — a broadly-defined community of practice involving practitioners, scholars, activists, public officials, nonprofit leaders, process geeks, students, and others who engage and mobilize people across partisan, ethnic and other divides.

NCDD was formed in 2002 in response to a clear need for an infrastructure for learning and collaboration among those who approach D&D from a variety of disciplines, including public policy, social work, communications, education, social justice, social activism, and organizational development. The Coalition was a result of the first National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation, held near Washington, DC in October 2002.

Communities of practice are formed by people who engage in a process of collective learning in a shared domain or topic area.  In other words, communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.

Our members make up the core of our community of practice. As of July 2014, the Coalition’s membership has grown to include more than 2,100 organizations and individuals. Our website visitors, social media group members, conference attendees, and over 34,000 email Updates subscribers are also part of this ever-growing community of practice.

What does the Coalition do?

Most of NCDD’s work falls under four broad categories…

1. Maintaining a resource and news clearinghouse

NCDD keeps thousands updated on the latest news and resources in dialogue & deliberation.

  • Sort through 3,000 carefully described and referenced resources (discussion guides, methods, evaluation tools, articles, books, videos, etc.) in our Resource Center.
  • Check out more than 2,000 posts about funding and job opportunities, events and trainings, new articles and tools, etc. in the NCDD Community News blog (one of the longest-running blogs in our field).
2.  Developing new resources to educate the public and the D&D community about dialogue & deliberation work

NCDD has developed some well-loved resources that represent the D&D community broadly, and are great tools for educating those new to dialogue and deliberation processes.

  • Download NCDD’s Resource Guide on Public Engagement, which showcases NCDD’s most popular tools (like the Core Principles for Public Engagement and the Engagement Streams Framework), and recognizes and directs you to a lot of the great work that has been done by others in our field.
  • Use our Quick Reference Glossary for definitions to over 100 terms related to public engagement and conflict resolution.
  • Don’t miss NCDD’s Engagement Streams Framework, a series of 2 charts that help you navigate the range of D&D approaches and make design choices appropriate for your situation.
  • Look over the collaboratively-created and widely-endorsed Core Principles for Public Engagement (a project led by NCDD, IAP2 and the Co-Intelligence Institute).
  • And visit our Beginner’s Guide for other NCDD resources that help people understand what dialogue and deliberation are and how to get started.
  • Check out Upgrading the Way We Do Politics, an article by NCDD Director Sandy Heierbacher that reflects NCDD members’ reaction to the August 2009 town halls on health care (a one-page flyer for public managers is also available).
3. Developing a vibrant community of practice

NCDD has developed an active Coalition and community of organizations and individuals involved in dialogue, deliberation and other innovative group processes that help people tackle complex issues.

  • Become a member! Organizations can join for only $150/year, and individuals who choose to contribute dues can become Supporting Members for $50/year or Sustaining Members for $125/year.  You can also become a Student Member for $25/year.  Though dues are optional so no one is excluded to due to limited funds, those who contribute dues are eligible for all the discounts listed at www.ncdd.org/discounts.
  • Connect with more than 2,100 members in our online member directory and on our member map.
  • Subscribe to our popular NCDD Discussion list (one of the most valued resources in our community), our Newbies list, our Making-a-Living list (for job hunters) or our regional lists for the DC metro area, Northern California, Boston, Cascadia, Greater Chicago, Colorado, Central Texas, New England, and Virginia (more info on our listervs).
  • If you live and work in Canada, get involved in our sister organization, the Canadian Community for Dialogue & Deliberation (C2D2) as well as NCDD.
4. Serving as a facilitative leader and convenor in our community

Since 2002, NCDD has provided unique opportunities for members to gather, share knowledge and build relationships in order to strengthen our individual and collective work.

  • Learn about NCDD’s high-energy national and regional conferences. NCDD’s high-energy biennial events bring together practitioners, scholars, public leaders, trainers, artists, activists and students from across this critically important field. Over 2,500 people, from 20 countries, have attended NCDD five national conferences (2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and our 2012 conference in Seattle) and five regional events (fall 2010).
  • Join our groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, and follow us on Twitter. Be sure to also “like” our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ncddpage, where we’re following over 60 of our members’ blogs on dialogue, deliberation and public engagement.
  • Take part in NCDD Confabs (conference calls and webinars) and other network activities (updates here).
  • And subscribe to our various listservs (mentioned above) to network with NCDDers who share your interests or live in your region.

NCDD’s mission, vision and values

Word cloud about NCDDNCDD’s mission is to bring together and support people, organizations, and resources in ways that expand the power of discussion to benefit society.

Our primary purpose is to educate people — members and non-members alike — on dialogue and deliberation. NCDD fulfills its mission by serving as a resource clearinghouse, a news source, a gathering place, and a facilitative leader for the dialogue and deliberation community and beyond.

NCDD envisions a future in which all people–regardless of income, position, background or education–are able to engage regularly in lively, thoughtful, and challenging discussions about what really matters to them, in ways that have a positive impact on their lives and their world. We envision a society in which systems and structures support and advance inclusive, constructive dialogue and deliberation.

NCDD embraces and demonstrates the following values and principles: collaboration and active participation, openness and transparency, inclusivity, balance, curiosity and commitment to learning, action, and service to others. Click here to see what we mean by these values.

A bit more about NCDD’s origins…

Although they are by no means new processes, dialogue and deliberation have enjoyed tremendous growth in popularity in recent years. This growth has been so grassroots that numerous streams of practice (deliberative democracy, conflict transformation, intergroup dialogue, whole systems change, transpartisan politics, e-democracy, etc.) have developed simultaneously, often without much awareness of one another.

The result was the emergence of an important but disjointed field whose practitioners use completely different terminology, employ different techniques and resources, share different messages  and educational frameworks with the public, and emphasize different types of outcomes – despite the similarity of their basic values and principles.  Perhaps more critically, practitioners often felt like they were the only ones doing this work, and had no means of connecting to others for advice and support.

The National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) emerged from the Hewlett Foundation-funded 2002 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation, which sought to address this disconnect. The planning process for the 2002 conference exemplifies NCDD’s collaborative, inclusive way of working. A group of 60 people – from graduate students in conflict resolution to directors of leading dialogue organizations – came together to plan a highly participatory, high-energy conference which ultimately brought together 240 scholars and practitioners across all streams of practice for the very first time.

The conference was a revelation to many participants, making them feel part of an important, growing field of practice. The proceedings introduced attendees to a vast array of models and techniques, uncovered key issues facing the nascent community, and fostered the creation of a blueprint for strengthening this emerging field.

Ultimately, the conference’s participants and planners decided to expand on their work by establishing the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation.

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