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Student & Youth Scholarships Available for NCDD 2014!

Do you know an exceptional student or young person who has the potential to become a leader in the dialogue and deliberation field? Someone who really embodies the “next generation of democracy”? We want them to join us at NCDD 2014!


Two of our great student attendees at NCDD 2012

NCDD is committed to helping students and youth attend this year’s NCDD conference (October 17-19 in Reston, VA) because part of our conference theme, Democracy for the Next Generation, is about getting tomorrow’s leaders in our work involved with us today. And as part of that commitment, we are helping cultivate youth leadership in the field by providing our student and youth attendees with special support and mentorship during and after the conference.

We are also offering a number of scholarships, thanks to generous donations from our community, for young people and students who would be unable to join us at NCDD 2014 without support. Depending on what is needed, we can offer help with lodging, travel costs, and registration fees. and the application form can be found here.

As Dr. Martin Carcasson of Colorado State University said after bringing 8 of his undergrad students with him to the last NCDD conference, “Clearly NCDD is the ideal conference for college and university students interested in dialogue and deliberation. It provides students with an excellent overview of the overall field, and a chance to meet and work with many of the national leaders.”  You can read more about Martin’s and his students’ NCDD 2012 experiences at http://ncdd.org/15260.

We are encouraging students and young people (which we are defining for the sake of the conference as age 25 and under) to apply for the scholarships at www.surveymonkey.com/s/NCDD2014-scholarship-app. Make sure to apply as early as possible – the funds will go quickly!

We also encourage you to send your recommendations for young people you think NCDD should support to our student outreach coordinator Roshan Bliss (me!) at roshan@ncdd.org so we can reach out to them directly. Please also let us know if you’re already planning to bring students with you to NCDD 2014 and you’d like to make sure they’re part of our mentorship and orientation efforts at the conference!

We look forward to seeing you in October at our most generationally diverse NCDD conference yet!

From the CommunityFrom the Community

“Hard Conversations” Conference Call on Ferguson, Sept. 3

We want to share an invitation from NCDD Sustaining Member Rebecca Colwell of Ten Directions for the NCDD community to join a conference call tomorrow focused on supporting those having the difficult conversations around the events in Ferguson, MO. The call is described in Rebecca’s announcement below, and we encourage you to register here.

I’m writing to share a timely invitation with the NCDD community exploring the topic of diversity, inequality and the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri.

This Wednesday, September 3rd from 12-1pm EST, I’d like to invite you to join a public call with Diane Hamilton – renowned mediator, facilitator and author of Everything is Workable: A Zen Approach to Conflict Resolution.

Entitled, “Having a Hard Conversation”, this call will explore multiple perspectives on the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri. This open call aims to support those who are working with divisive issues and entrenched conflicts, who are seeking ways to (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Looking for a roommate for NCDD 2014?

For those of you coming to the 2014 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation who want to cut down on your lodging costs, we encourage you to use the comments field on this blog post to find people interested in sharing a room at the conference hotel.

HyattRegencyRestonShotThe conference is taking place in Reston, VA (in the DC metro area) at the Hyatt Regency Reston. It’s a a cozy 4-Diamond hotel in the heart of Reston Town Center, and we encourage everyone coming in from out of town to stay at the Hyatt for your own comfort and convenience! We’ve negotiated a fantastic rate of $124/night (plus tax) for our conference attendees.

If you need to cut lodging costs while still staying at the hotel, use the comment field to post that you’re interested in finding a roommate.  I think you’ll be very glad you’re staying at the conference hotel. Staying at the Hyatt means you can take a break or nap whenever you need one, spend more time downstairs networking, and even room with someone who may become a lifelong colleague and friend. Plus you can partake in all the other hotel amenities like free wireless for guests, the huge fitness center, the pool, and the shops and restaurants right outside the hotel. (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Melbourne “People’s Panel” Connects Citizens to Public Decisions

We wanted to make sure the NCDD community saw an article from The Age about an intriguing new development in Melbourne, Australia where the city council is working with the good people at The newDemocracy Foundation - an NCDD organizational member – to create a “People’s Panel”. We encourage you to read more about it below or to find the original here.

newDemocracy logoYou might describe it as Melbourne City Council’s version of jury duty, except it is far easier to get out of.

A panel of 43 “everyday” Melburnians will advise council on how it should spend its money for the next 10 years, when the randomly selected group is given unprecedented access to the municipality’s financial books and experts.

In a Victorian first, 7500 letters have been sent out to randomly selected business owners, residents and students asking them to be part of a “People’s Panel”. The names of those who want to participate will be put into a ballot to decide the final team.

The $150,000 project is being run by independent research group the newDemocracy Foundation, which has run (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

CM Call on Digital Public Participation, Sept. 5

CM_logo-200pxWe are pleased to invite NCDD members to join our partners at CommunityMatters for the next of their monthly capacity-building calls series. This month’s call is titled “Deepening Public Participation - Digitally”, and it will be taking place next Friday, September 5th from 2-3pm Eastern Time. 

We are excited to note that this month’s call features insights from Pete Peterson of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership - NCDD organization member – as well as Alissa Black of the Omidyar Network. The folks at CM describe the upcoming call this way:

Your town is finally in the digital age with a website, online calendar, and Facebook page.  Now you can sit back and relax, right? Not exactly.

An array of online tools is available that can take your digital presence to the next level, promoting collaboration between government and citizens, engaging new audiences, and effectively complementing “analog” face-to-face engagement. It’s time for your town to get online and see what’s out there!

Join the next CommunityMatters® conference call and dig deeper into digital engagement with experts Alissa Black and Pete Peterson. You’ll learn about online public engagement and which digital tools are right for your town.

Make sure to register for the call today!

As always, we encourage you to check out the CommunityMatters blog to read (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Power of Dialogue Training Sept. 18-20 from PCP

We are pleased to announce that the Public Conversations Project is hosting a great dialogue training Sept. 18-20 which features a steep discount for NCDD members. PCP is an NCDD organizational member and we are proud to have them as one of our NCDD 2014 All-Star Sponsors. Find out more about the training below or by clicking here.

Public Conversations ProjectDo you work with groups challenged by deep differences? Do you need new ways to help them engage? Join Public Conversations in Minneapolis on September 18-20 for our signature workshop, The Power of Dialogue.

This Public Conversation Project signature workshop offers a deep exploration of Reflective Structured Dialogue, an intentional communication process to reduce threat and foster mutual understanding across lines of deep difference. Through immersion in an intensive case simulation, participants will learn about the dynamics of polarization and conflict, and explore modes of communication that increase understanding, re-humanize opponents and shift relationships. Learn more and register.

Learn: (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Can Pinterest Make Local Public Engagement More Effective?

We were intrigued by this commsgodigital piece on the ways that Pinterest can be used by local government officials for public engagement, and we wanted to share it with the NCDD community. The article was penned by Andrew Coulson, a local community engagement officer, and you can read it below or find the original commsgodigital piece by clicking here.

Pintresting: 10 tips for using Pinterest in local government

At 4 years old Pinterest is still recognised as a young social media platform. It has survived the storm of its first steps in society and has been accepted as a survivor. As a tool for potential engagement, I love it.

We started using Pinterest at the City of Salisbury very early on when it was still in Beta and in some case studies have been recognised as one of the first councils in Australia if not the world to use it as a tool in Community Engagement.

Pinterest overview

Pinterest is a free platform that basically resembles those old scrapbooks you used to (more…)


Telling Our Stories: Featured Entries to NCDD’s Dialogue Storytelling Tool

NCDD has been experimenting with collecting examples of dialogue and deliberation projects through the “Dialogue Storytelling Tool” we launched last summer at www.ncdd.org/storytelling-tool.

SuccessStoriesCoverIn partnership with the Kettering Foundation, we’ve been gathering brief case studies and project descriptions from dialogue and deliberation practitioners. Today we’re releasing a 19-page report that shares some of the best entries we’ve received so far.

Please check it out, share it widely, and add your stories today!

Some of the projects you’ll learn about in the doc are UrbanMatters, Migrant Farmworkers Reading Project, the Oregon Citizens Initiative Review, the Palestinian-Jewish Living Room Dialogue, Engaging in Aging, and more.

It has always been more challenging to collect case examples of projects than to get people to share information on their organization, method, or fee-based programs like upcoming trainings. Our strategy with the Dialogue Storytelling Tool is to keep the tool as simple as possible, and to emphasize the convenience of filling out a simple form in order to share your work with Kettering, with Participedia, and on the NCDD blog.

These are the only required fields in the form:

  • Name and email
  • Title of program
  • Short description
  • Your role in the project

All additional fields are optional!  We encourage NCDD members to get in the habit of submitting the basics of all your projects on the tool. We’ll create publications like this one featuring your stories, share them with our friends at Kettering and Participedia, and we hope to eventually feature them on a map of projects.

NCDD members are busy, and we know it’s difficult to find the time to tell people about all your great projects. The Dialogue Storytelling Tool makes it easy to report on your dialogue and deliberation projects and events, and let NCDD help spread the word.

Kettering, Participedia, and NCDD are all interested in what you’ve got going on, and may follow up with you to learn more about your work.

Look for this image in the sidebar on the NCDD site whenever you have a moment to share your project’s story:


From the CommunityFrom the Community

Participate in Conversation Day in NYC, Aug. 30th

We want to make sure that our NCDD members, especially those of you in and around NYC, are aware of a very cool event called Conversation Day coming up this Saturday. We received the announcement below from NCDD Sustaining Member Ronald Gross, and we encourage you to check it our or find our more at www.conversationsnewyork.com.

Join us on Saturday, August 30th, at 3 pm in Bryant Park, located between 40th and 42nd streets between 5th Avenue and the Avenue of the Americas (6th Ave.), at the Fountain on the west edge of the Park. RSVP ASAP to reserve your  place to grossassoc@aol.com.

Conversation Day is a celebration of the joys and benefits of Good Talk, presented by Conversations New York in concert with our friends in Boston, San Francisco,  London, and Paris and as far afield as Kuala Lampur — by talking the talk here in the Big Apple!

Join us at 3 pm in Bryant Park on the 30th. Look for us wearing colored hats (red/yellow/blue/green). Exact location and details will be provided when you RSVP to grossassoc@aol.com.

OR… Do-it-yourself! You can hold your own conversation (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Introducing Grande Lum and his work at the US Dept of Justice’s Community Relations Service

I want to draw your attention to the important work being done by the Community Relations Service of the Department of Justice in communities like Ferguson that are in crisis. The director of the Community Relations Service, Grande Lum, is one of our featured speakers at the 2014 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation coming up in October, and we’re honored to be following his work and to be able to hear from him at the conference.

Grande-LumThe Community Relations Service (CRS) is often called “America’s Peacemaker.” Over the years, CRS has worked with thousands of communities, many of whom came together in crisis and emerged stronger and more unified. CRS delivers four services: mediation of disputes, facilitation of dialogue, training, and consulting.

Their must-see resource page provides tips and best practices for police, schools, community leaders, and others who find themselves at the center of crises revolving around division and inequity.

In an August 18th press release from the Department of Justice on the federal civil rights investigation into the death of Michael Brown, Attorney General Eric Holder highlighted the work of the Community Relations Service in Ferguson, Missouri:

In order to truly begin the process of healing, we must also see an end to the acts of violence in the streets of Ferguson. Those who have been peacefully demonstrating should join with law enforcement in condemning the actions of looters and others seeking to enflame tensions.

To assist on this front, the Department will be dispatching additional representatives from the Community Relations Service, including Director Grande Lum, to Ferguson. These officials will continue to convene stakeholders whose cooperation is critical to keeping the peace.

And an August 20th post on BuzzFeed covers how the mayor of Sanford, Florida (the town where Trayvon Martin was shot not long ago) has urged Feruson to welcome the help of the Justice Department and especially its Community Relations Service, saying it “saved the day” in Sanford.

trayvonprotestTriplett, who is white, was the man in charge a year-and-a-half ago when the killing of Trayvon Martin spiked racial tensions in the area and far beyond. A situation that many expected to explode into violence, didn’t. Peaceful protestors were met with respectful police and public officials.

Triplett credits the the Department of Justice for the calm and in an interview Tuesday he urged Ferguson leaders to embrace the help the feds have to offer. In his town, Triplett said federal officials arrived with experience on how to handle large crowds and engage with protest movements.

They had tips on police tactics, too. “The best thing that you can do is use your mind and your mouth versus an nightstick and a gun. You know, ‘violence breeds violence’ type thing. These guys [Justice Department advisers] have been there, done it, they’re very astute,” Triplett said.

“We on the city side, we fix roads. We make sure your lights turn off and on. We make sure your toilets flush. We cut ribbons for new businesses. So you’ve got to rely on those that know.” Justice Department officials are engaged in Ferguson in full force, with six agencies on the ground in the Missouri town coordinating a federal investigation into the death, monitoring police behavior and trying to build a bridge between authorities and protesters through a previously little-known department branch called the Community Relations Service.

The agency, which has ten regional offices across the country, is specifically designed to diffuse tension after discrimination-charged events and was established as part of the 1964 Civil Rights act. On Wednesday, the head of CRS, Grande Lum, will be in the Justice Department party accompanying Attorney General Eric Holder on his trip to Ferguson.

Holder has been very critical of the police response to protests in Ferguson, and Justice Department officials have pointed to the early involvement of CRS as proof the feds have a better handle on how to deal with the Ferguson protests than local authorities do.

Read the full BuzzFeed article at http://www.buzzfeed.com/evanmcsan/doj-in-ferguson#1gu9nsk for LOTS more interesting content.

CRS-officesCRS has 10 Regional Directors who supervise conflict resolution specialists (also called conciliation specialists) in regional offices and 4 smaller field offices. These offices are strategically located throughout the country to meet the unique needs of the states and communities they serve.

The Regional Directors are highly trained professional mediators, facilitators, trainers, and consultants who are experienced in bringing together communities in conflict to help them enhance their ability to independently prevent and resolve existing and future concerns.

Regional Directors oversee the regional conflict resolution teams in the development of customized and proactive local solutions. The 10 regional offices are located in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, Denver, Los Angeles, and Seattle. The field offices are located in Miami, Detroit, Houston, and San Francisco. The regional and field offices increase the availability of CRS services to rural communities and aid in rapid deployment during crises.

Grande Lum will be speaking during the closing plenary at the 2014 NCDD conference. Learn more about Grande here, and register today to join us at the conference!

Grande is also a Supporting Member of NCDD, and you can learn more about him on his member page. Also see NCDD’s previous blog post about Top #NCDD Resources for Addressing Racial Conflict & Inequality.