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Become a Sponsor of NCDD 2016 Today!

NCDD is working hard on putting together our 2016 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation this October 14-16 in the Boston metro area. It’s shaping up to be our best conference yet, and like all of our conferences, NCDD 2016 will be a great opportunity to gain recognition while supporting the field by becoming a conference sponsor!

Looking to heighten the profile of your organization and work in the field? Being a sponsor is a great way to do it! NCDD conferences regularly bring together over 400 of the most active, thoughtful, and influential people in public engagement and group process work across the U.S. and Canada (plus practitioners from around the world), and being a sponsor can help your organization can reach them all.

Being an All-Star Sponsor ($3000), Co-Sponsor ($2000) or Partner ($1000) will earn you name recognition with potential clients, provide months of PR, and build respect and good will for your organization every time we proudly acknowledge your support as we promote the conference. Plus you’ll be providing the crucial support that NCDD relies on to make our national conferences so spectacular, including making it possible for us to offer more scholarships to the amazing young people and other deserving folks in our field. You can learn more about the details in our sponsorship document.

The earlier you commit to being an NCDD 2016 sponsor, the more exposure you earn as we begin to roll out our sponsor logos on our website. But the benefits go way beyond that – just look at all the perks you get for being a sponsor!

By supporting an NCDD conference, our sponsors are demonstrating leadership in D&D, showing commitment to public engagement and innovative community problem solving, and making a name for themselves among the established leaders and emerging leaders in our rapidly growing field. We expect to have between 400 and 450 attendees at NCDD 2016, and all of them will hear about our sponsors’ work!

When you sign on as a sponsor or partner of NCDD 2016, you’ll be joining an amazing group of peers you can be proud to associate with. To give you an idea, check out our sponsors and partners for our 2014 national conference in Reston:


Interested in joining their ranks and sponsoring the 2016 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation? We encourage you to consider investing in yourself, in NCDD, and in the field by becoming a sponsor today! We would deeply appreciate your support – plus you get so many benefits.

Learn more about sponsor benefits and requirements here, or send an email to sandy@ncdd.org to let us know you are interested in supporting this important convening through sponsorship. And thank you for considering supporting the conference in this critical way!


Engaging D&D’s Young Leaders in NCDD 2016

As many of you know, NCDD’s 2014 conference in Reston, VA had more students and young people in attendance than any conference before it, and it made a huge difference – the energy and fresh thinking that young people bring to our conferences and to our field was and is inspiring and indispensable. NCDD continues to be committed to cultivating the next generation of leaders in our field, and that’s why we are aiming to have even more youth and student attendees at NCDD 2016 this Oct. 14th-16th in Boston!yardsign_300px

As part of that commitment, we are pleased to announce that NCDD is offering a super-low student registration rate of $250 (that’s $200 off!), and we have opened up our application for NCDD 2016 scholarships. These scholarships are intended to help young people in D&D and other deserving applicants who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend by offsetting the costs of travel, housing, and registration as needed.

The scholarship application can be found at www.surveymonkey.com/r/NCDD2016-scholarship-app.

But we need our NCDD members’ help encouraging the promising and engaged young people and students in this field to attend the conference! Do you work with an outstanding young person who is passionate about the work of dialogue and deliberation? Are you connected to a student who is working to bridge divides in their community? Make sure to tell them about NCDD 2016 and encourage them to register today!

Also, please note that we are offering group discounts to incentivize teachers and other practitioners who (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

How Elite and Popular Discourse Supress Dialogue

We are happy to share the announcement below about a new facilitation training opportunity in California from NCDD supporting member Donald Ellis from the University of Hartford. Donald shared this piece via our great Submit-to-Blog Form. Do you have news or thoughts you want to share with the NCDD network? Just click here to submit your news post for the NCDD Blog!

Me Talk Prettier Than You: Elite and Popular Discourse

One of the divides that has emerged more starkly from the Brexit debate and the candidacy of Donald Trump is the distinction between elite and popular discourse. Just being overly general for the moment, elite discourse is most associated with the educated and professional classes and is characterized by what is considered to be acceptable forms of argument, the use of evidence, the recognition of complexity, and articulation. Popular discourse is more ethnopolitical and nationalistic. It is typically characterized by binary thinking, a simpler and more reductive understanding of the issue, and an ample amount of cognitive rigidity makes it difficult to change attitudes. To be sure, this is a general characterization because both genres are capable of each.

Still, consistent with the well-known polarization of society is the withdrawal of each side into a comfortable discourse structure where the two codes are increasingly removed from one another and the gap between them cannot be transcended very easily. Dialogue is a real challenge if possible at all.

Additionally, elite and popular discourses share some different sociological and economic orientations. Elites are more (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Lessons in Listening to Students from Providence Youth

We recently came across a piece on a student-led, World Cafe-style event in Providence that provides a wonderful example of how schools can bridge the divide between youth and adults and teach deliberation, and we had to share it. The article below by Megan Harrington of the Students at the Center Hub describes the event, the students’ discussions, and their proposed solutions to issues in their schools, most of which are summarized in the open letter the students wrote after the event. We hope to see more processes engaging young people like this nationwide! You can read Megan’s piece below or find the original here.

#RealTalk: Providence Students Raise Their Voices

On a sunny Wednesday afternoon in April, over 100 high school students gathered at the Providence Career and Technical Academy cafeteria, talking with friends, setting up tables with sheets of paper and markers, and manning sign-in tables. They were members of the Providence Youth Caucus (PYC) – a coalition of Providence’s seven youth organizations -gathering to develop solutions to improve education in their public schools, which they would then share with relevant policymakers to advocate for change.

An entirely student-led event, the PYC Superintendent’s Forum began a little after 4pm, when student speakers took the microphone at the front of the room to lay the groundwork for the event. “Your thoughts and voices matter,” they said. “We’re going to take all of your ideas and present this data to the superintendent and city officials so we can make a difference.”

Key school leaders – including Providence Public Schools Superintendent Chris Maher – attended the event to hear the students’ insights.

After a round of icebreakers, the students quickly broke out into nine tables to discuss hot topics in education such as (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Join NIFI & Kettering for Online Forums on Energy & Climate

NCDD members are invited to participate in two online forums hosted on the Common Ground for Action platform that was created by NCDD member organizations the Kettering Foundation and the National Issues Forums Institute. These deliberative forums, hosted on July 22 and Aug. 3, will help KF and NIFI hone their issue guide materials on the decisions we face around energy and the environment – we encourage you to join! You can read more in the NIFI announcement below, or find the original post here.

Two Opportunities – You’re Invited to Join an Online Forum about Energy Choices

You are invited to join one of two upcoming online forums to deliberate about Energy Choices as part of a new Environment and Society series of forum materials that will be available for people to use in their communities. The online forums will use the Common Ground for Action platform.

National Issues Forums (NIF) is working with the North American Association for Environmental Education on the second framing in our new “Environment and Society” series, “Energy Choices.” We now have a draft framing ready to test out in forums, and we’d like you to help!

Please check your calendars and register for either of the two upcoming online test forums. These forums will be run just like regular Common Ground for Action (CGA) forums, to see if they produce real deliberative conversation and choice making.

Energy CGA Forum 1: Fri. July 22, 1:30 pm ET

Energy CGA Forum 2: Wed. Aug. 3, 1 pm ET

Can’t make it? Share this invitation with a friend or share on your social media – for these test forums particularly, we want a diverse range of voices!

You can find the original version of this NIFI blog post at www.nifi.org/en/two-opportunities-youre-invited-join-online-forum-about-energy-choices

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Former Legislators Work with NICD to End Partisan “War”

Recently, The Hill published a piece written by two former representatives, Republican Mickey Edwards and Democrat Zack Space – both of whom have worked with NCDD member organization the National Institute for Civil Discourse – on the current state of politics in Congress, and we wanted to share part of it here. The former reps urge us not to see politics in terms of warfare, instead calling on their colleagues to restore civility, bridge their divides, work toward solutions to national problems. We encourage you to read excerpts from their piece below or find the full original version here.

Politics Is Not War

One of the hardest things to do in Congress is to cease thinking of your opponent as your enemy.

Why wouldn’t you think of them as your enemy? You sit on opposite sides of the House chamber. You caucus in different rooms. You take opposing votes. Every two years they raise money to try and take your job.

The truth is those on the other side of the aisle are not the enemy. They are Americans, just like the citizens they represent back home in their districts.

The frame of “politics as combat” is ingrained into our society. The language of war permeates media coverage… But the difference is that these war analogies are harmful to the state of civility in our politics. Language matters. We cannot ignore the innate violence of this rhetoric, which has spurred us further and further into a place of polarization and discord. For many, working across the aisle is synonymous with “colluding with the enemy.”

…When we both left Congress, it was bad, but not this bad. The 2016 election is shaping up to be one of the most uncivil in decades, from the presidential level to the local level… Whoever lands in the White House will (more…)


NCDD2016 Early Bird Registration Extended to Monday!

IMG_8080This post is just a friendly reminder for all of our members that we’ve decided to extend the Early Bird registration deadline for NCDD2016 until THIS Monday, July 18th!

This is the last time that you’ll be able to take advantage of the lower registration rate of $375 and lock in your spot with 400+ leaders, innovators, and practitioners in dialogue and deliberation as we work, vision, and learn together about Bridging Our Divides this October 14th-16th in the Boston metro area. After Monday, it will be the regular registration rate of $450, and the late registration rate will kick in on October 1st.

Don’t miss your chance to save $75 on registering for one of the premier learning and networking events for our field! You can learn much more about this year’s national conference at www.ncdd.org/ncdd2016, and register today at www.ncdd2016.eventbrite.com to take advantage of the Early Bird rate.

Want to get a better sense of what our conferences are like? Check out the Storify page the features great pictures and comments about our 2014 conference by clicking here.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Bridging Police-Community Divides through Truth & Reconciliation Processes?

As the country continues to reel from a week of high profile killings of both people of color and police officers, many feel a sense of despair about what can be done to change the patterns of violence that plague our country. There are no easy answers. But we are grateful to NCDD member Harold Fields for sharing the powerful Yes! Magazine piece below by restorative justice practitioner Fania Davis. Harold and Fania are helping launch truth and reconciliation processes across the country that seek to address the patterns that have created such a deep divide between police and African American communities, and the piece shares examples of similar processes that are already bridging our divides. We encourage you to read Fania’s piece below or find the original here.

This Country Needs a Truth and Reconciliation Process on Violence Against African Americans – Right Now

I am among the millions who have experienced the shock, grief, and fury of losing someone to racial violence.

When I was 15, two close friends were killed in the Birmingham Sunday School bombing carried out by white supremacists trying to terrorize the rising civil rights movement. Only six years later, my husband was shot and nearly killed by police who broke into our home, all because of our activism at the time, especially in support of the Black Panthers.

As a civil rights trial lawyer, I’ve spent much of my professional life protecting people from racial discrimination. In my early twenties, I devoted myself to organizing an international movement to defend my sister, Angela Davis, from politically motivated capital murder charges aimed at silencing her calls for racial and social justice. Early childhood experiences in the South set me on a quest for social transformation, and I’ve been (more…)


NCDD2016 Session Proposal Deadline Extended!

As we hope you’ve heard, we announced that we were opening the call for NCDD2016 conference session proposals earlier last month. We’ve had lots of great proposals come in so far, and we thank everyone who has submitted session ideas so far!

bumper_sticker_600pxWe’ve also received quite a few requests this week for extensions as folks firm up ideas and finalize plans with collaborators, so in honor of all the hard work our members are doing to make the conference an amazing experience, we are extending the deadline for session proposals! We are now accepting submissions until the end of the day on Wednesday, July 13th! 

If you’re rushing to finish up a proposal, you’ve got a few more days now, but don’t delay! There is going to be some stiff competition for session spots this year.

If you’re still looking for collaborators on your sessions, you can review the calls for session partners that some of our members have put out on our NCDD discussion listserv checking out the discussion topics from the last few weeks in our listserv archives – you could also join the listserv and ask for collaborators yourself!

We recommend that you read over the initial call for proposals one more time before submitting, but once you’re ready, visit the Application Form and submit your proposal!

We look forward to seeing all of your great ideas!

From the CommunityFrom the Community

A Story of Bridging Partisan Divides in the Legislature

A major goal of NCDD2016 is to lift up stories of how people across the country are Bridging Our Divides through D&D work, despite pervasive narratives telling us we can’t. So we wanted to share just such a story that NCDD member Jessica Weaver of the Public Conversations Project recently wrote about. The piece tells the story of women legislators who are resisting the urge to focus on the negative and instead look to solutions. You can read the story below or find Jessica’s original post here.

Shining a Light Beyond Polarization

PCP new logoWe’ve all seen the headlines. Gridlock. Paralysis. Incivility. All the result of widening political polarization in the United States government, and also among its people. Like other aspects of identity, political ideology can be a dividing factor in our national conversation. We refuse to engage with the “other side” and reflect critically on our own views.

The science shows that polarization has indeed worsened – almost exponentially – over the last ten years. Pew Research also indicates that in addition to estrangement, this trend has seen increased venom and antipathy between liberals and conservatives. There’s evidence that this trend is worsening, and that it has had profoundly destructive effects on American governance and its public discourse. We know that story.

But at a women’s leadership conference a couple of weeks ago, I heard a very different story. Women from all levels of government – senators, state legislators, and city council members – came together to talk about (more…)