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Join the NCDD Confab on Conversation Café, 12/19!

We’re excited to announce our next NCDD Confab Call will be featuring the co-creators of Conversation Café! Join us on Monday, December 19th from 1-2pm Eastern/10-11am Pacific for this one-hour call where we will learn more about this simple but powerful dialogue tool from the people who made it.convo-cafe-logo

This Confab will be an opportunity to learn all about the Conversation Café (CC) process, connect with people already doing Cafés, understand the basics of being a host, and share with NCDD how we can be of support to the CC network. Conversation Café is supported by a bank of resources for conversations and a wide network of CC hosts and groups, many of whom will be on the call. Register today to be part of the discussion!

The Confab will feature insights from NCDD supporting members Susan Partnow and Vicki Robin, two of the three original co-creators of the process. They will share with us how CC was started, their experience developing the process, and a even run a miniature host training!


Conversation Cafés are open, hosted conversations held in public spaces – not just in cafés! The CC process is elegantly simple – it’s nimble, accessible, and easy enough to be used very quickly by many people. As a process that moves participants from “small talk to big conversation,” our vision for CC, in part, is that it will be used to help communities address national and local crises that call for the immediate, real dialogue which we need in so many cc_cardsways today. We invite you to join this call to find out more about how you can start using CC today!

NCDD recently became the steward of the Conversation Café process because we are particularly well equipped to help new CC groups use other forms of dialogue and deliberation when the time is right, and we know that it’s a wonderful model for dialogue that can and should be widely adopted across the U.S. and the globe. NCDD would love to see more people in more places joining the CC network and engaging regularly in conversations that matter – register today to find out how you can be involved!

About NCDD’s Confab Calls…

Confab bubble imageNCDD’s Confab Calls are opportunities for members (and potential members) of NCDD to talk with and hear from innovators in our field about the work they’re doing and to connect with fellow members around shared interests. Membership in NCDD is encouraged but not required for participation. Confabs are free and open to all. Register today if you’d like to join us!


Top Resources for Post-Election Dialogue Across Divides

Earlier this week, NCDD hosted a special post-election Confab Call during which over fifty of our members and affiliates had a rich, inspiring, and for some, therapeutic conversation about what kind of work people in the dialogue and deliberation field are doing to address this post-election moment.

XS Purple NCDD logoThe call was part of our ongoing #BridgingOurDivides campaign, during which we’ve been encouraging our members to share about the work happening in our field that’s aimed at fostering bridge building, and to share resources that can build capacity to move forward together despite differences. The Confab Call was its own kind of resource, and if you missed the call, you can hear about all the great projects, insights, and resources that were discussed during it by listening to the recording here or reading over the discussion and links from the call’s chatbox here. But there are many more resources we want to share with you all today.

As we’ve mentioned before, there are important needs being felt in the wake of the election year’s end that dialogue and deliberation can address: D&D can help us process our feelings and what’s next, it can help promote and maintain civility, it can assist in bridging long-standing divides, and it can facilitate interactions that humanize people or groups who’ve been made into caricatured “others” and out groups. NCDD wanted to know how our field is responding to these needs, so we recently asked our D&D community to share their resources, tools, and projects that could help address post-election issues with us.

We received a wide variety of wonderful resources in response to that call, and in our continued efforts to help the field rise to the needs and opportunities presented in this challenging moment for our country, we’ve created a list of some of the best resources the NCDDers shared. We’ve linked to over two dozen resources below that we hope D&D practitioners will find useful as you engage with your communities over the coming weeks and months.

Please continue to add to this list in the comments section, as we’ll be continuing to archive the best of these and other tools in our Resource Center for future use. For now, take a look through the list below of valuable D&D resources.

Processing Emotions and What Happens Next

Much of what is needed across the country after the election is simply spaces and methods to process our thoughts and feelings about the election season, the outcome, and what they want to see happen next – together. There are tons of great resources in our field for doing that, and here are some of the good ones:


Support NCDD Today for #GivingTuesday!

With the madness of the holiday shopping season now in full swing, it’s often easy to forget that this time of year is supposed to be about giving – sharing of what we have and supporting our communities. But today is “Giving Tuesday,” a day created to celebrate and support giving and philanthropy as a counterbalance to the “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday,” and NCDD wants to invite you to join in commemorating it with us.

This #GivingTuesday, we are encouraging all who are able to give in support of NCDD’s important work. After a tremendously polarizing election and increasing concerns over our ability to bridge our divides, the need is greater than ever to support the community of people dedicated to helping our nation listen to each other, learn from those we disagree with, and find common ground for action. NCDD does just that kind of crucial work, and we are inviting you to help us keep doing it by making a tax-deductible donation on this #GivingTuesday.

Many people recognize NCDD as a facilitative leader for this vital community of practice and the”go-to” organization for improving dialogue and deliberative capacity. But what many don’t realize is that NCDD is a small non-profit that depends on memberships and donations to remain a healthy organization. We run mostly on the our members’ yearly dues payments, donations, and a few small grants – that’s it.

With that meager funding, we are still able to bring the field together during our biennial conferences, maintain one of the largest online collections of D&D tools in our Resource Center, tackle challenges and explore innovations in the field through our Confab Calls and Tech Tuesday events, catalyze efforts like the #BridgingOurDivides campaign, and begin to support and connect rising young leaders in our field with our new youth program.

Just imagine what NCDD and the field could do if we had more.

We’re joining #GivingTuesday in the hopes of not only spreading awareness about the important work we do at NCDD, but encouraging you to actively support NCDD by joining as a member, renewing your dues, or making a donation.

Your involvement in and support of NCDD is critical to our organization and our field. Thanks for all you do in your own work and in your support of our network. We look forward to continuing to work with you and our vibrant community in the year ahead!

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Sign Up for Tomorrow’s Post-Election Confab Call with NCDD

As we’ve previously stated here at NCDD, dialogue & deliberation is more critical than ever after this election season. That’s why we are hosting a very special 90-minute post-election Confab Call tomorrow, Tuesday, November 29th at 1pm Eastern/10am Pacific, and we want to encourage you to register to join!

On this special call, we are inviting our network to discuss the question of “what’s next for the dialogue & deliberation field?” in light of the division that this election year has fostered in our country, to have an open conversation about how the D&D community should be addressing the nation’s post-election needs, and to lift up some of the work of those who are already launching projects or new initiatives that respond to this important moment.

NCDD has been getting some great responses to our #BridgingOurDivides campaign that asks what kind of bridge-building work folks in our field are doing – which we encourage you all to continue contributing to – and we are convening this Confab to build upon those responses by facilitating more real-time exchange of ideas and reflections about what our field is and will be doing in this critical time. We encourage you to join over forty D&Ders who will already be part of this discussion by registering today!

This call will be unique in that NCDD staff will facilitate, but there will be no featured presenters this time – we will simply be inviting folks to talk with us about their current projects, ideas for our community’s response, and hopes for how we’ll change the landscape through our efforts. Be sure to join us!

There is more need now than ever for quality dialogue and deliberation today that can increase understanding, build bridges, and foster capacity for moving forward together despite differences. Be part of the conversation on Tuesday about what we’re doing now and what this moment makes possible for the future of our field’s work, both individually and collectively! Sign up today!


Tips and Resources for Better Thanksgiving Conversations

For many people, the Thanksgiving holiday this week and the holiday season around the corner bring the likelihood of difficult conversations and out-right fights around the dinner table. Talk of politics and other hot topics can be tricky to navigate with family and friends – especially when we don’t see eye to eye – and it seems like the loud, divisive election season might only make holiday conflicts harder to avoid this year.tday-plate-faces

NCDD will continue to carry on our #BridgingOurDivides campaign through the holidays because we recognize that the holiday season can be a time when the divides our country is grappling with become most personal and hard to deal with, especially when Uncle Bob is on his third beer.

So to help folks enter the holiday with a game plan for productive, thoughtful conversations, we at NCDD want to share some tips and resources that you can use to help keep the family dinner conversations more about genuine dialogue and understanding despite differences than heated rhetoric and emotional outbursts.

Six Tips for Thoughtful Holiday Conversations from NCDD

  1. Be an active listener: Listening is key to respectful conversations. Be sure that you are really seeking to hear and understand what’s being said, not just looking the next moment to interject or thinking about what you’ll say to argue their last point. Be sure to give the person your talking with your full attention – look at them, show you are listening with verbal or non-verbal affirmations (like saying “I see” or nodding),  and ask clarifying questions about what they’ve said. Modeling active listening invites the other person to reciprocate when it’s your turn to talk.
  2. Keep an open mind: Dialogue is most successful when we are open enough to learn something new and even admit that we might be wrong. Be open to others’ ideas and perspectives, to learning something new, to questioning your assumptions, and suspend your judgments for as long as you can. If you hear something that makes you angry or offended, take a moment to think whether your own biases are at play, and take the chance to ask for clarification or for them to say it in a different way. Misunderstandings frequently come from our own assumptions about what someone means, so asking about it can help prevent hurt feelings and breakdowns in communication.
  3. Be curious. The opinions that we hold are usually grounded in a deeper (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Join our Confab on “What’s Next?” Post-Election, 11/29

As we posted about earlier this week, the Presidential election has brought forth new needs for dialogue and deliberation, as well as renewed importance of the work to bridge divides that our field has been doing for many Confab bubble imageyears. We’ve been appreciating the responses our community have had so far to this post, and we’d like to provide an additional opportunity for us all to discuss this important time in our work.

Join us Tuesday, November 29th at 1pm Eastern/10am Pacific for a 90-minute Confab Call to talk together as a community about what’s next after the election. This will be an open call, allowing community members to talk about their bridge building work, or ideas for what they can do post-election. NCDD staff will lead the call, but we won’t have any featured presenters – we want to hear from you!

The need for dialogue and deliberation is stronger than ever, and our network is poised to help our communities and nation come together across divides to tackle our toughest challenges. Join us as we talk about what’s being done now, and what’s possible for us in our work individually and collectively.

NCDD’s interactive Confab Calls are free and open to all members and potential members. Register today if you’d like to join us!

NCDD’s Confab Calls are opportunities for members (and potential members) of NCDD to talk with and hear from innovators in our field about the work they’re doing, and to connect with fellow members around shared interests. Membership in NCDD is encouraged but not required for participation. Register today if you’d like to join us.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

SFU Seeks Nominations for Int’l Dialogue Award

We want to highlight the recent call from Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue – an NCDD member organization – for nominations for the Jack P. Blaney Award for Dialogue which recognizes dialogue practitioners of international excellence. We encourage our members to consider nominating people you think are doing especially impactful work in our field before the Dec. 16 deadline. You can learn more in the Centre’s announcement below or find the original here.

Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue is now accepting nominations for the 2017-18 Jack P. Blaney Award for Dialogue

The Jack P. Blaney Award for Dialogue is presented every second year to an individual who has demonstrated international excellence in the use of dialogue to increase mutual understanding and advance complex public issues. Nominations are encouraged from around the world in the fields of international diplomacy & conflict resolution, climate solutions, intercultural dialogue, civic engagement, and urban sustainability.

Criteria used to select the recipient include:

  • The candidate’s demonstrated international excellence in the use of dialogue to increase mutual understanding;
  • The global significance of his or her work in addressing complex and profound public issues; and
  • Related programming opportunities.

Far more than a simple ceremony, the Blaney Award includes a short programming residency in Vancouver, Canada that builds upon the recipient’s work to achieve (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Join Conversation on Public Voice After the Election

NCDD member organization Public Agenda is hosting a post-election event tomorrow in NYC that we want our members to be aware of. They’ll be convening a breakfast panel including two field-leading NCDD members along with an NYC city councilor to discuss making politics more responsive to public input in light of the election results. You can tweet or email them questions you want to see discussed, or register to attend if you’re in the area. Learn more in the PA blog post below or find the original here.

The State of Public Voice, Post-Election

PublicAgenda-logoMany in the United States have felt for some time that our elected officials don’t put the public’s concerns first. Now, years of diminishing trust in government and a growing divide between elites and the public have culminated in 2016: a growing, rarely productive populism and a divisive election season here in the United States.

While this year has been tumultuous and confusing, it also represents a crossroads. Can we harness the growing populism and cultivate a more meaningful, productive public conversation and a more engaged, informed public?

We’ll be exploring this and other questions during our upcoming policy breakfast, Can the Public Have a Real Voice in American Politics?

The event takes place the morning of November 17th, after the election. We’ll know who our next president will be. But we’ll have a lot more questions to explore.

We hope you can join us for this exciting conversation. We’ll dig into how politics (more…)


What We Know Post-Election: Dialogue & Deliberation is More Critical than Ever

The Presidential election and the week following has brought the deep divides in this nation to a head, and brought to light numerous issues in our country. The results show us that huge swaths of the country feel unheard and anxious about the future, and sadly, many responses to the election and events taking place in its wake have highlighted issues of pent up frustration, racism, bigotry, and more. flag-cracked

We don’t know for sure what the coming weeks, months, and years will bring, but we do know this: dialogue & deliberation is more critical than ever. Our community may need some time to process this and think about what to do next, but we know our involvement is essential to helping bridge our divides, addressing substantive disagreements, and finding ways for us to work and move forward together as a nation.

The Needs We See & Our Network’s Response

There are many different needs that our country and our communities have right now, but we see a few key needs that stand out as ones that are especially suited for D&D solutions: bridging long-standing divides, processing hopes and fears together, encouraging and maintaining civility in our conversations, and humanizing groups who have become “the other.”

We at NCDD have been discussing bridging our divides all year, and we have an ongoing campaign focused on that work, but the election highlights that need even more. The partisan divide is always there, of course, as well as our historical racial divides. But the election also highlighted the disconnect between rural and urban communities, between people who attended college and who didn’t, and between people from different class statuses. The D&D community needs to be responding to all of these divides – exploring their origins, understanding how they impact people, and imagining how we can dissolve them. Essential Partners just released a Guide for Reaching Across Red-Blue Divides that can be a helpful tool for these needed conversations, and there are more.

After the election, people also need to process and reflect. There is a critical need for dialogue right now where people can express how they’re feeling and explore their hopes and worries for the weeks and months to come. Processes like Conversation Cafe are easy access points for people looking to have a dialogue to reflect on the election as well as what they’d like to see happen now. It’s a tool that provides the structure people need to have thoughtful, respectful conversations in person, and Essential Partners’ work to engage people about what happens #AfterNov8 is a good social media complement.

There is also a need – possibly more than ever – for civility in our discussions that allows us to disagree without attacking each other. D&D practitioners have our work cut out for us in helping people approach both public and private post-election conversations with civility and respect. Several NCDD members are leading efforts to maintain and restore it, with the National Institute for Civil Discourse leading the charge in their Revive Civility campaign, yet much more is needed.

fatima-talkingFinally and maybe most importantly, the country needs help finding approaches to humanizing the people and groups that have become “the other” – unapproachable and unredeemable caricatures – to our own groups. Conservatives are feeling unfairly vilified and misunderstood. Many immigrants, Muslims, and women are feeling threatened, at risk, and unwelcome. NCDD is continuing to support this work and promote collaboration through our new Race, Police, & Reconciliation listserv, and Not In Our Town has many resources for opposing bullying and hate groups that we recommend checking out. But this strand of potentially transformational D&D work needs much more energy and investment devoted to it in coming months and years.

Share What You’re Doing

As we look ahead, we want to ask NCDD members and our broader network, what work are you doing in response to the election and the issues that have arisen? What resources can you share to help others at this time?

Please share any efforts you are making, ideas you have, resources or tools you know of that could be helpful in the comments section of this post or on the #BridgingOurDivides campaign post. We learn so much from being in communication with one another about what we’re up to. NCDD will continue to share your responses on the NCDD Blog and our social media using the hashtag #BridgingOurDivides to continue lifting up stories and resources to a broader audience, and we’ll be working to compile the best divide-bridging resources in our Resource Center.

Furthermore, tell us what you think we can be doing together as a community to address the post-election landscape. Let’s talk with one another about how we can work collaboratively to engage the public and bring peaceful interactions and greater understanding to everyone.

It’s clear there is a lot of work to do to help our country come together, and heal the divides this election season has unearthed or widened. Our community is well suited to do this work, and we call on all of us to be supporting one another in our efforts.

Continue the conversation with NCDD on social media: FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Guide for Conversation Across Red-Blue Divides #AfterNov8

As our field continues to process the election results, we hope our members will keep sharing divide bridging projects and resources as part of NCDD’s #BridgingOurDivides campaign. We know there are many conversations that need to be had in our country, and we want to encourage you to continue to use the hashtags #BridgingOurDivides and #AfterNov8 as you have them. To help those discussions, both online and in person, we want to share a guide that NCDD member organization Essential Partners recently released for conversations across partisan divides. We encourage you to read Essential Partners’ announcement about the resource below or find the guide here.

Election’s Over. But We Still Have a Choice

Today, we gathered together in our offices in Cambridge with friends and supporters to try to begin to understand what happens now. What happens, now that half of our nation feels bereft and hopeless and half feel at last heard and recognized? How can we approach one another again?

Calls for “healing” are proliferating right now. I’m sure you’ve seen them. But I don’t think healing is a possibility until we accomplish something much more basic: simple human encounter grounded in genuine curiosity.

The choice before us as a nation is stark. We can dive into our isolated encampments and stay there, magnifying the chasm, bemoaning our own righteousness and the other side’s blindness. Or we can choose to act with courage, to walk into a room where we will encounter people who have voted for a candidate (or a President-Elect) we can’t stand and explore your most deeply held beliefs.

So, that’s what we plan to do, with your partnership. We’ve put together a guide for conversations across political differences that we hope you’ll use in your own conversations and communities. Today wasn’t the beginning of conversations across the divide, but it was a deep recommitment to pushing past media-induced stereotypes to ask each other questions that ground us in shared humanity.

Who do we want to be, and how do we want to be with those neighbors whom we have called “other”? What will we need to hold back in our own knee-jerk propensity in order to say the larger truth we need to share? What do we want that “other” to know about us and our values? And what do we want to know about theirs?