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From the CommunityFrom the Community

EvDem Offers $10K Award for Leadership in Democracy

We want encourage our etwork to consider submitting a nomination for the new $10K leadership award being offered by NCDD member organization Everyday Democracy. This new award can be granted to anyone 16 or older whose work embodies the values EvDem’s work reflects, but the deadline for nominations is June 15, so don’t wait too long! You can learn more about the award criteria and how to submit a nomination in the EvDem announcement below or find the original announcement here.


Announcing the Paul and Joyce Aicher Leadership in Democracy Award

EvDem LogoWe are pleased to announce the first annual Paul and Joyce Aicher Leadership in Democracy Award. This $10,000 award will be given to an individual and/or organization that demonstrates the values on which Everyday Democracy was founded – voice, connection, racial equity, and community change.

For more than 25 years, Everyday Democracy has worked in communities across the country to foster a strong and vibrant democracy – one that is characterized by strong relationships across divides, leadership development, lifting up the voices of all people, and celebrating racial equity.

Paul and Joyce Aicher’s generosity and creative genius have had a profound impact on individuals and organizations in every part of this country. Their passion and diligent effort inspired the dialogue guides, organizing and facilitating training, and community coaching that Everyday Democracy is so well known for delivering.

Through this award, we will recognize the work of individuals and/or organizations across the U.S. for outstanding achievement in creating opportunities for people to talk to and listen to each other, work together for equitable communities, and help create a democracy that works for everyone.

Download an information sheet about the award (PDF).

A brief history of Paul and Joyce Aicher

Paul J. Aicher’s motto, “Don’t just stand there, do something,” marked all that he did. Before (more…)

NCDD NewsNCDD News

NCDD Launches New Membership Structure to Strengthen D&D Field

We live in critical times. Dialogue, deliberation, and a commitment to effective public engagement methods are crucial to helping bridge the increasingly bitter partisan, racial, religious, and socioeconomic divides in our society.Small green NCDD logo

NCDD is committed to improving discourse and decision-making through better engagement by providing our members with the latest news, tools, and resources in D&D. But there is also a great need to do even more, and that means that NCDD must keep itself sustainable in order to help our community do this important work together.

In order to do that, NCDD is rolling out some adjustments to our membership structure.

What’s Changing?

The main and most necessary adjustment to our structure is that – effective immediately – we will no longer have a non-dues membership level, so in order to continue getting all the benefits of NCDD membership, our non-dues members will need to upgrade to a dues-paying membership level (individual, student, or organizational) by June 15th.

As always, NCDD will continue to offer some critical services and resources to anyone who is interested in D&D – for instance, our Resource Center and News Blog, our main Discussion List, and most of our online events will remain free and open to the public. But soon we will be making many of our services and other special opportunities – like updates about jobs in the field, access to the archived recordings of our Confab Call and Tech Tuesday events, the Emerging Leaders listserv, and more – direct benefits of membership.

This is a necessary step to ensure that NCDD is here to support our members for years to come. For a complete list of member benefits, please visit ncdd.org/join.

In order to streamline the process for everyone, we’re also making it easier to become a member by:

  • Offering a new monthly dues option in addition to our normal yearly dues plan,
  • Offering the option to auto-renew your dues via credit card,
  • And adding a sliding-scale for organizational members.

These are just some of the changes we’re making to our membership structure, and you can read up on the full list
of changes at ncdd.org/join.

We encourage our members and our broader community to review the options and make the commitment to continue advancing this work by joining, renewing, or upgrading your membership. Our current members will have until June 15th to ensure their dues are in good standing before any changes to their status will occur. For more information on these changes, see our Frequently Asked Questions.

Strengthening the Network for the Future

It will take strong commitments and collaborative efforts across our network to make the impact we wish to see in our communities and nation. NCDD continues to be committed to helping our network and our field strengthen its work and explore new areas for collaboration.

Together there is no end to what we can accomplish. And as we continue our efforts to address the deep divides in our communities and to improve civil discourse and decision-making, we hope you will consider recommitting to the work of NCDD or joining us for the first time by renewing your NCDD membership or becoming a member.

NCDD’s staff is honored to be able to support such an incredible network of people, and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with you on this important work!

From the CommunityFrom the Community

NCDD Member Discount on the Int’l Assoc. of Facilitators’ Regional Conference in FL

If you hadn’t already heard, the International Association of Facilitators – one of our NCDD member organizations – is hosting its 2017 conference for the N. American and Caribbean region this May 8-11, and we encourage our members to consider attending. Even if you’re not an IAF member, dues-paying NCDD members are eligible for a $50 registration discount. NCDD supports the conference’s goal of growing the relevance of facilitation, and it will be a great way to make international connections with other D&D practitioners. You can learn more about this great opportunity in the IAF’s invitation below or learn more at the conference site here.


IAF 2017 N. American & Caribbean Conference: The Relevance of Facilitation

Where will you be May 8 to 11, 2017?

Hopefully at the 2017 International Association of Facilitators North America & Caribbean Conference (IAFNAC) – The Relevance of Facilitation – in West Palm Beach, Florida which takes place this May 8 through 11. As a facilitation practitioner in the IAF’s network, you can register for a $50 discount off of the conference workshops being offered on May 10 & 11.

Here is an opportunity to experience leading facilitators from the U.S., Canada, Caribbean, Sweden, France, Russia, and Australia, sharing their best practices across a wide spectrum of hard and soft skills and topics. These sessions are designed to give you proven strategies that you can use right away.

Session topics cover not only facilitator tools and techniques, but also the business of facilitation and (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Join NCDD Confab on Non-Hierarchical Orgs with Loomio, May 4th

We are excited to invite the NCDD network to register to join us for our next Confab Call on Thursday, May 4th from 3-4pm Eastern/12-1pm Pacific. This one-hour webinar event will feature a conversation with staff of Loomio, a collaborative online decision making tool and a worker-owned cooperative based in New Zealand.

Some of you may remember that NCDD hosted a Tech Tuesday webinar on Loomio a couple years ago where we showcased the features of Loomio’s decision making tool. But during this Confab, the discussion will focus on Loomio’s organizational dynamics, philosophy, and what lessons the dialogue and deliberation field can learn from – and offer to – non-hierarchical cooperatives like theirs.

Loomio is part of Enspiral – a global network that is also a lab for new ways distributed innovators can collaborate. Their team recognizes that there’s a need and opportunity for new ways of working for diverse groups to become more nimble, creative and productive. Loomio recently made an open source handbook that teaches others to use their cooperative work processes, and a few of their staff have been on a US tour this month to host discussions with different organizations who want to share and reflect on “the challenges and delights of non-hierarchical, inclusive, intersectional, collaborative, horizontal organising.” We are inviting Loomio to share and reflect with the NCDD network as a “virtual stop” on their tour, and we hope you will join us!

We will be joined on the Confab by Rich Bartlett, one of the co-founders of both Loomio and Enspiral, and NCDD member MJ Kaplan, also a Loomio co-founder and social innovator in her own right. Rich and MJ will help us learn more about the unconventional, non-hierarchical approaches that (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

D&D Partnerships with Libraries Can Change Communities

As we hope you’ve heard, NCDD is partnering with the American Library Association to build the capacity of local library staff across the country to host and support dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement gatherings. We know these kinds of D&D-library collaborations can have huge impacts on issues facing any given community, and today we wanted to share a few great examples of what it can look like. NCDD member organization Common Knowledge published the piece below on three library-based dialogues they hosted, and we encourage you to read it below or find the original here.
Have you partnered with a local library? We’d love to hear how it went and what you learned – tell us about it in the comments section!


We Learned it at the Library

Common Knowledge was originally founded to put a more inclusive “public” in public participation. Over the years, we’ve grown to see it’s equally important to put more “unity” in community.

At Common Knowledge, we’ve designed hundreds of programs and trainings that bring people together to listen together and learn together. This cumulative experience leads us to one powerful conclusion: greater inclusion leads to greater innovation. And much of what we’ve learned has resulted from projects based in California public libraries. Libraries today are uniquely positioned to be the neutral “safe space” for inclusive community conversations that let people connect as humans and learn about what is possible when we listen and learn together.

Our cumulative experience leads us to one powerful conclusion: greater inclusion leads to greater innovation.

Here are three examples of library-based dialogues that sparked meaningful outcomes: (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Join Kettering’s “A Public Voice” Event on Safety & Justice

In case you haven’t heard about it already, we want to encourage all of you in the NCDD network to mark your calendars for A Public Voice 2017 (APV) on Tuesday, May 9th from 1:30-3pm Eastern.

APV 2017 is the annual event hosted by NCDD member organizations the Kettering Foundation and the National Issues Forums Institute that brings together Congressional and agency staffers in Washington DC for a working meeting on the results of the deliberative forums that KF and NIFI have hosted across the nation on pressing public policy issues.

This year’s APV forum will focus on what was learned about the public’s feelings on community-police relations during the Safety & Justice forums held this year in communities across the country. And KF and NIFI will be livestreaming the Washington event via Facebook Live, so you are invited to particiapte by sending your comments on social media directly into the program.

Here’s how they describe the event:

At this year’s A Public Voice event in Washington, we’re trying something new. We will introduce congressional staffers to NIF forum convenors from their districts, and those convenors will explain the most unique and transformational moments from the deliberative forums in their communities. Our aim is to illustrate the unique value of these forums and the breadth of the network.

Which means, WE NEED YOU. Put May 9 from 1:30 to 3:00 pm on your calendar, because we’ll be livestreaming the Washington event via Facebook Live.

We encourage our network to join the APV event on Facebook to get updates as the event nears and share about it with your networks. You can learn more about A Public Voice 2017 by visiting www.apublicvoice.org and checking out NIFI’s Safety & Justice deliberative forum discussion guide here.

NCDD NewsNCDD News

Introducing NCDD’s New Board Members

As many in our network know, NCDD had a major transition on our Board at the beginning of this year. On January 1st, we were excited to have four new leaders from the field join our Board, and at the same time, we said goodbye four of our outgoing Board members.

The outgoing Board members – Barb Simonetti, Marla Crocket, Diane Miller, and John Backman – all worked tirelessly over the last six years to help steward NCDD through important transitions in our organization and guide our work to new heights. We can’t thank the four of them enough for all of the hard work they put in over the years, and if they weren’t all term limited, we would have kept them on forever! But thankfully, none of these incredible leaders will be going far, and you can expect them to remain regular parts of the NCDD network.

But as Barb, Marla, Diane, and John step off the Board, we couldn’t be more excited to be welcoming on four amazing new additions! These new Board members will be joining our remaining Board members – Martín Carcasson and Susan Stuart Clark – in helping provide vision and leadership for NCDD and our field more broadly, and we wanted to officially introduce them to our network! We encourage you to join us in thanking them for taking on these new roles and to learn a bit more about them below.

The New Members of the NCDD Board of Directors

Simone Talma Flowers

Simone Talma Flowers is the Executive Director of Interfaith Action of Central Texas (iACT), whose mission is to cultivate peace and respect through interfaith dialogue, service and celebration. Simone Talma Flowers brings over 26 years of extensive experience in non-profit management.

Simone promotes a culture of high performance, support and collaboration. She advances the mission of the organization by bringing people of diverse faiths, cultures and backgrounds together, to break down the barriers that divide us. She is passionate about (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Deepening D&D’s Impact by Connecting Politicians to Theorists through Practitioners

We recently came across an article that frames a key issue in our field so well that we had to share it. The piece is by Lucy Parry, a researcher with NCDD member org Participedia, and Wendy Russell of the Canberra Center for Deliberative Democracy, both of whom are contributors for The Policy Space blog. In it, they describe the gaps and similarities between D&D theorists and practitioners, and the power of their synergy. They propose that in order for our field to influence policy outcomes and ultimately help our democratic systems become more deliberative, we have to connect politicians and elected officials meaningfully to our field’s theoretical grounding, and that D&D practitioners might be the right bridge for that connection.
What do you think? How should D&D theorists and practitioners work together? How should they not? We encourage you to read the excerpt below from the Lucy’s great piece and read the full version here.


Bridging the Gap: why deliberative democracy needs theorists and practitioners to work together

…[O]ne of the obstacles for successful use of deliberative approaches is the challenge of bringing the normative ideals of deliberative democratic theory – what it should look like and what functions it should serve – to the reality of political decision-making contexts. This raises a potential ‘gap’ between deliberative academics and practitioners, given the constraints of translating normative theory into workable political reality….

In general, practitioners work at the coalface, adapting to political constraints and timeframes, and doing what works in these contexts. Researchers tend to stand back, describe how best practice should look, and critique attempts to achieve it. In bringing a critical eye they play an important function, but collaboration between theory and practice is clearly important…

In some ways, practitioners of deliberative democracy are uniquely placed at the interface between theory and policy worlds and can act as mediators between the two. On the one hand, they work within the constraints of policymaking, familiar with the day-to-day rigmarole. On the other, they have the most experience of real-life deliberative democracy: they see it, they do it. Practitioners know what deliberative processes can achieve, in empowering citizens and improving the quality and legitimacy of political decisions. They also know how deliberative approaches can fail.

It is arguably the case that despite the different work that theorists and practitioners do, they park their cars in the same garage; sharing a commitment to enhancing inclusiveness and public reasoning in political decision-making. What’s more, practitioners are uniquely placed to bridge a much wider gulf: between theorists and policymakers….

We encourage you to read the full original version by Lucy Parry and Wendy Russell of The Policy Space at www.thepolicyspace.com.au/2016/17/125-bridging-the-gap-why-deliberative-democracy-needs-theorists-and-practitioners-to-work-together.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Journalists Convene Divide-Bridging Dialogue in Pacific NW

Recently, journalists from The Evergrey undertook an effort that provided an inspiring, real-life example of dialogue work that is #BridgingOurDivides, and we wanted to highlight it for our network. The group brought people from urban, liberal King County, WA together with people from rural, conservative Sherman County, OR to have conversations about politics and their perspectives. Not only did they avoid shouting mathes, but people acutally listened to and learned from each other.
We encourage you to read the excerpt below from the great write up about the trip below from one of the organizers, Mónica Guzmán of The Evergrey, and check out the full version here. You can also learn more by watching the recording of the live chat that The Evergrey hosted to debrief the trip, which you can find here.


Seattleites took a 10-hour road trip to cross a political divide. Here’s what happened

Sherman County, Oregon, sits just south of the Washington border, east of the Cascades. Fewer than 2,000 people live in its 831 square miles. Stand on one of the hills near Moro, the county seat, and you’ll see wheat fields all around – and maybe some tall wind turbines.

Sherman County has very little in common with Seattle and King County. And yet, we’re connected: It’s the nearest county to ours that voted exactly opposite us in the presidential election. While 74 percent of King County voters went for Clinton, 74 percent of Sherman County voters went for Trump.

So on Saturday, about 20 of us King County residents took a 10-hour road trip to pay the people of Sherman County a visit.

We called the trip “Melting Mountains: An Urban-Rural Gathering.” Sandy Macnab, a just-retired Sherman and Wasco County agricultural agent who planned the event with us, came up with the name. It refers to the snowmelt that runs down the mountains dividing the eastern and western parts of our states, nourishing the land below.

We like the metaphor. And though we know we can’t melt the political and cultural “mountains” that divide our two counties in an afternoon – red vs. blue, liberal vs. conservative, rural vs. urban – we figured we might help people take a first step…

We encourage you to read the full version of this piece by Monica Guzman of The Evergrey at www.theevergrey.com/took-10-hour-road-trip-cross-political-divide-heres-happened.

NCDD NewsNCDD News

New NCDD Podcast Episode Featuring Bring it to the Table!

The latest episode of the NCDD Podcast is now live! You can find this on iTunes, SoundCloud and Google Play.

In this episode, NCDD Managing Director Courtney Breese speaks with Julie Winokur of Bring it to the Table. Julie is Producer and Director of Bring it to the Table, a project seeking to bridge political divides and break down partisanship through a documentary, webisodes, online platform and community engagement campaign. Julie speaks about her experiences filming the original documentary in 2012 (some of you saw the documentary at NCDD 2014!), as well as her more recent work bringing the film and table talks to college campuses. She also shares her reflections on the state of U.S. politics today and the opportunities she sees for us to come together through dialogue.

The NCDD podcast is a new format for leaders and practitioners from the D&D field to share their stories and ideas, as well as discuss opportunities and challenges in this work. The podcast will also help us to continue our conversation from the NCDD 2016 Conference about #BridgingOurDivides.

We invite you to listen to this episode and share your thoughts here, particularly about the opportunities you see for dialogue across political and other divides. In light of Julie’s story, what more can we be doing as individuals and dialogue & deliberation practitioners to bring people together across our differences? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Our thanks to Ryan Spenser for his continued help recording and editing these podcast episodes.

Please share this episode and the podcast links with others – and let Courtney (courtney@ncdd.org) know if you have any ideas for future episodes!

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