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Lessons from NCDD Members Bridging Partisan Divides

One of the most salient divides in our nation today that we will be focusing on during NCDD 2016 is the divide between the left and right sides of the political spectrum. Bridging the partisan divide, especially in an election year, is crucial work that many of our NCDD members have taken on, and we wanted to share the article below in which NCDD member Mark Gerzon of the Mediators Foundation poignantly shares lessons to be learned from their efforts. The original version of Mark’s piece appeared in the Christian Science Monitor and can be found here.


Four Ways to Fix American Politics

It’s not just young revolutionary Bernie Sanders supporters or angry-as-hell Donald Trump fans who want to “change the system.” It’s also the president of the United States of America.

The future we want “will only happen if we fix our politics,” said President Obama in his 2016 State of the Union address. “If we want a better politics, it’s not enough just to change a congressman or change a senator or even change a president. We have to change the system to reflect our better selves.”

But exactly how do we do that? The president did not say. And when William Jefferson Clinton in 1992 and George W. Bush in 2000 expressed the same noble sentiment, they didn’t tell us how either.

Our last three presidents did not tell us because they don’t know. They are products of the system and clearly are not going to reform much less revolutionize it. They have risen to the top of the leadership pyramid by playing the partisan game. Them telling us how to work together would be like an alcoholic telling us how to get sober: He knows everything about the topic except doing it.

On both sides of the aisle, Democrats and Republicans are recognizing that they are (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Bridging Divides in the Methodist Church on LGBTQ Issues

As we prepare to think together about how we can bridge our nation’s divides during our NCDD 2016 conference, there’s much to be learned from the piece we’ve shared below from the Public Conversations Project, an NCDD member organization. In it, PCP’s Jessica Weaver reflects on key lessons that can be learned how the Methodist Church has been dealing with its perennial conflict about LGBTQ people in the church. You can read her article below or find the original piece here.


Three Lessons About Embracing Difficult Conversations from The Methodist Church

PCP new logoAs you may have read in the last few weeks, a deep conflict within the Methodist Church has surfaced once again. More than 750 congregations within the Church have formed the Reconciling Ministries Network, which advocates for the inclusion of LGBT people in a denomination that has barred them from being ordained, and from marrying a person of the same sex.

“It’s the perennial issue that will not go away, and for better or for worse, it’s the main battle flag issue between the liberal side of the Church and the conservative side of the Church,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute on Religion & Democracy, as quoted in the Religion News Service.

Understandably, this conversation has a history of being emotionally and politically fraught, disrupting conversations, gatherings, and relationships. The narrative I’ve noticed emerging from major media outlets about this movement is (more…)

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Register for June Tech Tuesday featuring Trusted Sharing

Registration is now open for June’s Tech Tuesday event featuring Trusted Sharing. Join us for this FREE event Tuesday, June 28th from 12:00-1:00pm Eastern/9:00-10:00am Pacific.

Trusted SharingTrusted Sharing logo is a free, asynchronous platform that allows people to host deeper, more coherent online conversations using specific facilitation methods such as World Café, TOP and Open Space.

Contemporary research highlights how essential high quality conversations are in our complex Information Age; yet our current online exchanges often fall short of our hopes and expectations. Trusted Sharing is trying to change that. Early adopters of this new platform have been educators, consultants, bloggers, facilitators and small businesses. It is user-friendly and good for informal groups that want to extend their interaction time through online conversations.

Teachers have used Trusted Sharing to launch the learning experience prior to the first in person class. A consultant commented that she could cut the amount of in person time down by 40-50% by using Trusted Sharing to gather online thoughts first. A blogger was able to answer questions that readers had and add depth to his blog. A coaching training academy is using Trusted Sharing as a way to catalogue conversations and make decisions across multiple informal groups they interact with.

Joining us for this call will be NCDD member Duncan Work, founder and CEO of Trusting Sharing, and Ruth Backstrom, Director of Marketing and Outreach. Duncan and Ruth will provide a brief overview of the tool and demonstrate how it can be used with several case studies. They are collaborating with a number of facilitators, thought leaders, educators, and others to bring more coherent, effective conversations into old and new realms like nonprofits, schools, businesses, blogs and public online spaces, and they will talk more about this on the call.

For an overview of the benefits and potential for Trusted Sharing in different contexts, you may peruse this overview and the Trusted Sharing website.

Don’t miss this opportunity – register today!

Tech_Tuesday_BadgeTech Tuesdays are a series of learning events from NCDD focused on technology for engagement. These 1-hour events are designed to help dialogue and deliberation practitioners get a better sense of the online engagement landscape and how they can take advantage of the myriad opportunities available to them. You do not have to be a member of NCDD to participate in our Tech Tuesday learning events.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Join NICD’s “Revive Civility” Campaign this Election Season

As many of you may have heard yesterday, the National Institute for Civil Discourse – one of our NCDD member organizations – just launched a new campaign, and we want to encourage our NCDD members to participate. The effort is known as the Revive Civility, Our Democracy Depends On It Campaign.

Through the campaign, NICD is inviting people across the country to join them in trying to shift from the toxic tone of US politics and the rhetoric that this year’s election is generating. They have laid out a strategy that they feel will give people options of actions to take to move our politics toward more civility and respect, and they’re asking for everyone – average citizens, media, and candidates – to sign on to their Standards of Conduct for civil politics.

But don’t take it from us. Below is the call the NICD has sent out to join the campaign:

Please join the National Institute for Civil Discourse as we launch our Revive Civility, Our Democracy Depends On It Campaign this Wednesday, May 25th: www.nicd.arizona.edu/revivecivility.

This nationwide campaign provides (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Register Now for NCDD 2016 at the “Super Early Bird Rate”!

Hi, everyone! Registration is live for the 2016 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation, and now is the best possible time to register. For a limited time (through June 15th only), our special “SUPER Early Bird” rate of $350 is active.

yardsign_300pxWe’re so excited about NCDD 2016!  We’re coming together October 14-16 (Friday through Sunday) in the Boston Metro Area at the Sheraton Framingham Hotel & Conference Center in Framingham, MA.

This year’s conference is “Bridging Our Divides,” and our intention is to capture and draw attention to attendees’ stories. The conference is taking place one month before the presidential election, and we suspect many Americans will be hungry for a different narrative: true stories about how Americans across the political spectrum CAN and ARE working together to make progress on difficult issues.

NCDD conferences bring together hundreds of the most active, thoughtful, and influential people involved in public engagement and group process work across the U.S. and Canada. Over 2,800 people, from dozens of countries, have attended our biennial national and regional events, and we’re expecting at least 400 again this year! Hopefully you’re one of them!!

me-butterflyI’m also happy to announce that NCDD co-founder and longtime creative force Andy Fluke is returning to help design and develop material for this year’s conference.  Since stepping down as creative director late last year, Andy has been working as a consultant to several NCDD members on a wide variety of projects including several new publications & ebooks, the launch of a new initiative (CCTN), and the relaunch of one of our favorite programs (Orangeband).  You can learn more about his new venture at www.andyfluke.com or contact him directly at afluke@gmail.com.

Learn much more about the conference at www.ncdd.org/ncdd2016, and register today at www.ncdd2016.eventbrite.com to take advantage of the Super Early Bird rate.

NCDD conferences are important networking and learning events for our field. Watch this highlight video by Keith Harrington of Shoestring Videos to get a sense of the energy and content of our last conference…

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Mathews Center for Civic Life Seeks Summer Interns

We encourage our younger and student members to take note of the announcement below from the David Mathews Center for Civic Life – one of our NCDD member organizations. The internships they are offering this summer are great opportunities to gain experience in deliberation, and we encourage you to apply today! Learn more in their announcement below.


Looking for Interns

Our Jean O’Connor-Snyder Internship Program (JOIP) provides experiential civic learning opportunities for college students across multiple disciplines. Students research deliberative practices and asset-based approaches to working alongside Alabama communities in capacity-building projects. We at the DMC administer the JOIP program and collaborate with faculty mentors across the state.

Participating students build civic and professional skills while implementing asset-based, capacity-building projects in Alabama communities. JOIP interns apply their immersive civic learning experiences to their future studies and careers. Through JOIP, we hope to build upon the millennial spirit of civic engagement in Alabama.

For information about eligibility, project guidelines, proposal requirements, and other details, contact Rebecca Cleveland at rcleveland@mathewscenter.org.

We originally found this announcement on the NIF website at www.nifi.org/en/david-mathews-center-looking-interns.

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Following Up on Our Tech Tuesday Call with Urban Interactive Studios

Earlier this week, NCDD hosted another one of our Tech Tuesday calls with the good folks from Urban Interactive Studios (UIS), and we had a great conversation. The call featured the sophisticated suite of engagement technology that UIS has developed in their EngagingPlans and EngagingApps software, UISand together with nearly 40 participants on the call, we all learned quite a bit about the cutting edge of civic tech.

Our presenters – NCDD member and UIS Founder & CEO, Chris Haller, and UIS Partnership Manager Emily Crespin – impressed us with a demonstration of the attention to detail and versatility that UIS has built into their civic tech tools while keeping it accessible for everyday people who may only have a limited amount of time to use it. They helped spark a rich and engaging discussion on the call – so engaging, in fact, that there were more questions from participants than we had time to answer!

If you missed out on the live event, don’t worry – we recorded the presentation and discussion and you can watch the recording by clicking here.  And as a bonus, Chris and Emily were kind enough to take the time to actually write out answers to the questions that we didn’t get to on the call, which you can find by clicking here.

Tech_Tuesday_BadgeMany thanks, again, to Chris and Emily for leading us through the demonstration and for following up with even more info!

To learn more about NCDD’s Tech Tuesday series and hear recordings of past calls, please visit www.ncdd.org/events/tech-tuesdays

From the CommunityFrom the Community

PB Processes Grow Campus Democracy for NY Students

This week is the N. American PB conference in Boston, and given that one of its themes is “Youth Power through PB,” we thought we’d share the post below from the Participatory Budgeting Project. The piece shows what the concept behind that theme looks like in practice, as student-led pushes to have a say in how their schools spend their money through PB spread across NY state and beyond. Check out PBP’s piece on recent developments below or find the original here. And be sure to connect with us NCDD staff (myself included!) who will be at the PB conference this weekend!


College Students Learn Democracy through PB

PBP-Logo-Stacked-Rectangle-web1All the buzz was around Queens College campus during the Participatory Budgeting 101 workshop. Over 25 students from at least 6 campuses attended and networked over complimentary bagels and coffee. Students were eager in learning how to gain decision-making power over spending $5,000 of the student government budget. The workshop engaged with student interests on equity and the role of tech tools.

Providing contracted technical support, our staff gave QC students a crash course on managing their own PB process. Students gathered around discussing the need for “transparency and accountability from their student government and campus administration” said Alex Kolokotronis, PB Queens College Coordinator and Founder/Lead Organizer of the Student Organization for Democratic Alternatives (SODA).

The common goal that students had: to have a say in the quality and future of their education. Many students also want to build skills that they can use in their post-college life and career. QC and CUNY students voiced (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Kettering Shares Lessons Learned on Economic Prosperity & Health Care

At their recent event, A Public Voice, NCDD member organization the Kettering Foundation released the interim report on what they have learned from the many deliberative forums they’ve hosted on the topics of health care and economic opportunity in the last year. We encourage you to learn more in the Kettering announcement below, or find the original version on their blog by clicking here.


kfOn May 5, the Kettering Foundation released an interim report on two series of deliberative forums that used materials prepared by Kettering researchers for the National Issues Forums. The report details the results of forums held in 2015-2016 using the Health Care: How Can We Reduce Costs and Still Get the Care We Need? issue guide and forums held in 2016 using the Making Ends Meet: How Should We Spread Prosperity and Improve Opportunity? issue guide. Forums on both issues will continue through 2016.

At A Public Voice 2016, representatives of NIF and other deliberative democracy groups discussed the concerns that have emerged from forums on heath-care and economic security issues. A panel of elected officials and policymakers responded to that discussion.

The interim report is drawn from the work of NIF members and forum participants. To compile the report, researchers from Kettering and Public Agenda attended forums, talked with forum moderators, reviewed questionnaires filled out by forum participants, and analyzed transcripts of forums.

The interim report can be downloaded here.

You can find the original version of this Kettering Foundation post by visiting www.kettering.org/blogs/apv-2016-interim-report.

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Join Our Next Tech Tuesday Call with Urban Interactive Studios, May 17

As we announced last month, NCDD is hosting another on of our fabulous Tech Tuesday webinars this Tuesday, May 17th from 1-2pm Eastern/10-11am Pacific, and you’re invited! This time, the event willTech_Tuesday_Badge feature Urban Interactive Studio (UIS), an innovative leader in public engagement technology and creator of the popular EngagingPlans and EngagingApps tools. You really don’t want to miss this one, so register today!

Are you looking for digital tools to make engaging a group or constituency you work with more versatile? Need to collect on-going feedback alongside face-to-face meetings? Have other planning and engagement issues that call for tech solutions? Then this is the Tech Tuesday call for you!

We will be joined by two members of the UIS team – NCDD supporting member, as well as Founder & CEO, Chris Haller, and Partnership Manager Emily Crispin. Together, Chris and Emily will give us an in-depth and behind-the-scenes look at both the EngagingPlans and EngagingApps tools that have been used by dozens of cities, companies, non-profits, and universities in multiple countries to help them engage their constituencies. You’ll have a chance to see both tools in action and hear about how the tools can be configured to suit specific project needs

There will be tons to learn from these two civic tech leaders, so we encourage you to join us on May 17th! We can’t wait to talk more with you then.

Learn more about our Tech Tuesday calls by clicking here.

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