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From the CommunityFrom the Community

NCDD Discount on Dynamic Facilitation Training

We are pleased to share the announcement below from NCDD member Rosa Zubizarreta of DiaPraxis about an opportunity for NCDD members to receive a discount on an upcoming training in dynamic facilitation methods. We encourage you to learn more about the opportunity below!
Rosa 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!


Advanced 3-day facilitation training & special offer for NCDD folks

Are you interested in effective ways to help people become curious and interested about differences, instead of defensive and threatened?

Last time I was invited to Maine to offer a Dynamic Facilitation workshop, here’s what one participant wrote afterward about the results of this work: “…a dynamic shift in the capacity of the participants and the group as a whole to hold diversity and complexity with their eyes and hearts wide open.”

It seems to me that these kinds of outcomes are needed more than ever. At the same time, to uplevel our game, we may need to learn to do things somewhat differently. In Germany, Dynamic Facilitation is often described as “ein ganz anders moderieren” (“a very different way of facilitating”). How accurate is that? Below is more info about what we do and how we do it, so you can decide for yourself.

But first, a word about the special offer. One is, as an NCDD member, you qualify for the super-low community fee: $425 early-bird rate, $525 regular rate. And in addition, we have arranged for a two-week extra time period where NCDD members can register at the early-bird rate: so instead of March 1st, you have until March 15th.  Of course, if you already know you want to sign up, here is the link.

Ok, back to what makes this work distinctive:

1) Heart-centered listening. What might “active listening” look like if our aim as facilitators or mediators was not to “be impartial”, but instead, to be “multi-partial” and to really support (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

New D&D Job Openings

We’ve heard about several job openings this month in the NCDD network, and so we thought we’d share about them here on the blog.  We know that there are many people in our network who would be great fits for these openings, and we strongly encourage you to apply to these positions or share them with your networks!

The list of the openings and links we’ve seen lately is here:

Public Agenda – an NCDD member org – has an opening for a Public Engagement Assistant. Learn more about the position and how to apply here. This would be a great position for younger or newer folks in our field!

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard – another NCDD member org – is in search of a new Associate Director for Democratic Governance. Learn more about the position and how to apply here.

The Environmental Dispute Resolution Program at University of Utah – also an NCDD member org – is hiring for an Associate Director / Senior Mediator. Learn more about the position and how to apply here.

The City of Laguna Niguel, CA is hiring for a Community Engagement Manager. Learn more about the position and how to apply here. The deadline to apply is March 14th.

The US Department of State is seeking a Regional Public Engagement Specialist. Learn more about the position and how to apply here. The deadline to apply is tomorrow, Feb. 28th, so don’t waste time on this one!

We’d love to see NCDDers fill all of these positions, so we encourage you to apply if one or more of these positions sounds up your alley. Best of luck to all the applicants!

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Treating Tension Across Difference as a Positive

As the week closes, we wanted to share an piece from the New Directions Collaborative, one of our NCDD member organizations. In it, NDC shared some useful insights into how they have changed their practices to make differences among participants in their programs and meetings into assets for learning in the face of discomfort. We hope you’ll check out their piece below or find the original blog post here.


Engaging Across Differences

Many of us are working hard to generate solutions to today’s complex and interrelated challenges in ways that are resilient and beneficial for all. This requires new and creative ways to bring people together who have not traditionally worked together.

This is hard work. As a facilitator, I had multiple experiences with groups where not everyone felt heard and the group did not reach its potential. This set me on a journey to understand how we can engage with difference and create spaces where difference can be generative and creative.

Critical to this work is creating environments where different perspectives and experiences within a system can be openly shared and all are equally valid and valued. It requires us to develop our capacity to respond to difference with curiosity, not defensiveness, and to respond to the discomfort that may result with a learning orientation, not withdrawal. When groups come together with this stance, new insight and possibilities almost always emerge.

Building relationships across difference is a necessary foundation. In our work, one way we explore difference is (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Register for the March NCDD Confab Call between Journalists and D&D Practitioners!

We invite our network to register to join us for an especially exciting NCDD Confab Call about strengthening partnerships and collaboration between journalists and dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement practitioners on Wednesday, March 15th from 1-2:30 pm Eastern / 10-11:30am Pacific! The Confab is part of NCDD’s ongoing #BridgingOurDivides campaign, and it’s going to be a very special call.

NCDD will be co-hosting this webinar with Journalism That Matters, one of our member organizations, and we are working in collaboration to bring both journalists and public engagement practitioners together on the call to continue the conversation we began at NCDD 2016 on ways that we can work together.

As you may remember, Peggy Holman, Executive Director of Journalism That Matters, moderated a panel of journalists at the NCDD conference this past fall who discussed innovative ways they are engaging communities, as well as their ideas for how journalists and public engagement practitioners can partner more substantively. What we also heard in this conversation was that journalism is more challenged than ever to share stories of people coming together across differences.

Based on our conversations at NCDD 2016, both journalists and public engagement practitioners are needed now more than ever to help us be in conversation on the issues that divide us. How can we bring our skill sets together to do this? How do community engagement practitioners and journalists work together to share stories? We’ll do a deep dive on these questions and more to see what’s possible now with these two worlds coming together to heal communities, and you won’t want to miss it!

(more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

From the Listserv: Is Dialogue Under Attack?

In the past week or two, there has been a lively conversation about the post that former NCDD Board member John Backman shared on the NCDD Discussion Listserv. In the post, John shared an article he wrote asking whether or not dialogue itself has come under attack since the election in November, and since it sparked such a rich discussion, we thought we’d share the post here on the blog as well.
We encourage you to read John’s piece below or find the original here, then tell us, what do you think? Is dialogue under attack? If so, how should our field respond? If not, is there anything you think we in the D&D field should be doing differently in this time of tension?


In Mr. Trump’s Escher World, Is Dialogue Under Assault?

There’s been a lot of talk in the dialogue field since the U.S. presidential election. Practitioners are talking about the meaning of Donald Trump’s victory for dialogue efforts, our collective failure to listen to a wide swath of the American electorate, etc. Many have voiced the belief that we need dialogue more than ever.

And yet, ever since hearing this talk, something has felt off to me. I’m just starting to put my finger on it, and I’m surprised by how dire it feels. In a nutshell, if I’m seeing this right, the very underpinnings of dialogue are under assault.

Consider three of these underpinnings:

Words mean things. To state the obvious: dialogue depends on words. To understand each other, we have to agree on the meanings of those words, or at least understand each other’s meanings. If we don’t, how can I can begin to know what you’re saying?

Yet this very notion is going away. All too often Mr. Trump appears to use the first word that comes into his mind, not caring what it might mean or connote. He makes great use of “throwaway lines,” easy to deny or reinterpret later. Or he dismisses what he’s said as “locker-room talk.” It’s as if, in this new era, words really don’t mean anything, and we should dismiss the value of any given word or phrase. What kind of dialogue could possibly arise from that?

Believe your own eyes. There’s a reason police officers are now being equipped with
body cameras, or private investigators take photos of people in compromising positions. We believe what (more…)

NCDD NewsNCDD News

Growing Civic Infrastructure with D&D-Library Collaborations

As we announced early this year, NCDD is partnering over the next two years with the American Library Association on the Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change project, during which we will be helping introduce libraries and their staff to various models of D&D work and training them to use our field’s tools to support the communities they serve. It’s an exciting collaboration that we think will yield potentially transformative results.

To kick-start the project, our Managing Director Courtney Breese and ALA presented a webinar last week introducing NCDD’s work and the LTC collaboration to over 400 librarians and library staff from across the country. We were blown away by the level of participation, and are looking forward to seeing the project grow even further beyond this amazing start!

During the webinar, Courtney shared about our NCDD partner organizations, the models we’ll be training on, the NCDD engagement streams framework, and featured examples of libraries and communities using these models for engagement. Participating librarians expressed excitement for learning techniques that can benefit the libraries and the communities they serve, and they are eager to engage with the NCDD community more broadly as well.

The Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change project is a follow-up to the ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities: Turning Outward project which introduced the Harwood Institute – an NCDD member organization – and their Turning Outward approach to libraries. Libraries have been using the Turning Outward approach over the past several years to engage their communities and identify the needs of their community.

NCDD is especially excited about this collaboration with ALA because we believe it will produce possibilities for members of our network to partner in concrete ways with libraries over the long-term. But we know that some of our members already collaborate with libraries, and we’d love to hear about how!

If you collaborate with local libraries in your D&D work or have collaborated with them in the past, tell us about it! Please share a bit in the comments section below about what your partnerships have looked like, what sort of you’ve done, or how you hope to work with libraries in the future. 

We know there are mountains of potential in building library-D&D collaborations as part of our nation’s civic infrastructure, and we can’t wait to see and catalyze more!

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Lessons on Turning Deliberation into Action from Alabama

The David Mathews Center – an NCDD member org – recently completed a great deliberative process focused on helping Alabama communities take action together to improve their town, and we think many in our network could learn a thing or two from it, so we’re sharing about it here. The DMC team wrote an insightful piece on their three-stage process of moving the town of Cullman from talk to collaborative action, and we encourage you to read it below or find the original version on their blog here.


What’s Next, Cullman? Pilot Program Wraps Up

The DMC recently wrapped up its pilot forum series for What’s Next, Alabama? in the city of Cullman, with promising results.

What’s Next, Alabama? (WNAL) is shaping up to be the Mathew Center’s largest programmatic undertaking to date. WNAL is a part of the DMC’s flagship program, Alabama Issues Forums (AIF), and will feature three deliberative forums in each community, focused broadly on issues of community, economic, and workforce development.

The first forum will ask, “Where are we now?” How did your community get to where it is today? What has been working well, and what hasn’t? What are the assets already have at your disposal? The second forum will ask, “Where do we want to go?” What would you like to change about your community? What would you live to preserve? What issue(s) would you like to tackle? What are your priorities? The third forum will ask, “How do we get there?” Using the resources you have, what is most doable? What are the next steps? How can you move from talk to action? Partnering with local conveners including the LINK of Cullman County and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, we were able to launch What’s Next, Cullman? as a pilot program and our first WNAL community.

The first forum gave the community an opportunity for deep reflection on the changes Cullman has seen through the years. Attendees crafted an exhaustive list of (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Leading Organizational and Community Change

We are happy to share the announcement below about a series of D&D skills trainings being offered at Humboldt State University this year. NCDD Supporting Member Mary Gelinas shared the announcement below via our great Submit-to-Blog Form. Do you have news you want to share with the NCDD network? Just click here to submit your news post for the NCDD Blog!


If you are an elected official, community leader, manager, planner, consultant or facilitator who wants to be even more effective than you already are, these workshops are for you.

The Leading Organizational & Community Change program is a transformative professional development program focused on creating collaboration at work and in your communities. Offered through the College of eLearning and Extended Education at Humboldt State University in Northern California, this program offers courses designed to help organizational managers, community leaders, public officials, city managers, planners, facilitators, and consultants to be more effective in getting things done and creating sustainable change at work, in communities, and in municipalities.

Grounded in the behavioral sciences and brain science, along with effective and innovative process skills and approaches, the curriculum is designed to build your knowledge and develop your skills so you can work more constructively and productively with colleagues, constituents, neighbors, and clients to solve problems, resolve conflicts, build lasting agreements, develop public policy, and plan for the future.

The courses still available in 2017 include: (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

What You Missed on the Confab Call with Not In Our Town

NCDD was happy to host a very special Confab Call earlier this week featuring NCDD member organization Not In Our Town (NIOT). Over 50 people from our network joined us for a conversation with Patrice O’Neill, NIOT’s executive director, about how the history of NIOT’s history, its work, and how the dialogue events that NIOT hosts have helped catalyze broad civic engagement and stop the spread of hate in communities across the country.

We recorded the Confab as always, so if you missed it, we highly encourage you to list to the recording of the webinar by clicking here. You can also click here to read the transcript of the chat from the webinar where we shared a number of resources, links, and answers to questions posed during the call.

One of the most exciting possibilities that came out of the call was the clear opportunity for dialogue practitioners from NCDD’s network to support the towns and communities that NIOT works with in their dialogue events on hate and bullying. NIOT and NCDD are discussing ways to bring dialogue partners and a framework to local NIOT groups working long term to prevent hate and foster inclusion, but we want you to be part of the discussion too!

We’ve created a quick 5-question survey that we are asking our network to fill out so that we can find out who is interested in continuing conversations about NCDD-NIOT collaborations and collect your ideas about what that could look like. Please take just a couple minutes to complete the brief survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/KRVC252 if you’re interested. We will have more on these collaboration opportunities soon.

In the meantime, if you want to connect with Not In Our Town’s work, here’s are some suggestions from Patrice for ways  you can get involved: (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

NIFI Hosts 10 Online Community-Police Relations Forums

In addition to offering free copies of their new Safety & Justice discussion guide on community-police relations, the National Issues Forums Institute – an NCDD member org – is also hosting ten online forums to discuss the issue using their Common Ground for Action online deliberation tool, including two training webinars for prospective forum hosts. We encourage those in our network focusing on related issues to consider joining the forums or the training. You can learn more about the CGA forums in the NIFI announcement below or find the original here.


Common Ground for Action 2017 Forum Series

The Common Ground for Action (CGA) Forums Series is Back!

The 2016 CGA Fridays were a huge hit. Demand for trying the new platform and giving our network of moderators more practice was so high that we’re back at it for 2017. This winter, we will have a CGA forum each week, with some in the evening and Saturdays so more of our network can join in. If you’re a CGA moderator and want practice or a refresher workshop, we’ve got those too.

In February, the CGA Forum Series will be using the NEW Safety and Justice: How Should Communities Reduce Violence? issue guide. These forums will be part of our 2017 series of reports to policymakers on how people are thinking about issues.

  • Friday, February 3rd 12:00pm EST – Register
  • Friday, February 10th 4pm EST – Register
  • Wednesday, February 15th 7pm EST- Register
  • Tuesday, February 21st 10am EST – Register
  • Saturday, February 25th 4pm EST – Register
  • Monday, February 27th 2pm EST – Register
  • Saturday, March 4th 4pm EST – Register
  • Friday, March 10th 12pm EST – Register
  • Monday, March 13th 2:30pm EST (more…)
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