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Showcase Sessions at the 2016 NCDD Conference

Showcase2014-1We’re excited to share the final list of our featured presenters in this year’s “D&D Showcase” — a highly anticipated, high-energy event held on the first night of the 2016 NCDD conference. The Showcase is a fun way for you to meet some of the movers-and-shakers in our field and learn about their leading-edge projects, programs and tools.

Showcase presenters are asked to prepare a brief spiel to use as a conversation starter during this un-timed session, to provide handouts so you can follow up after the conference, and to prepare an eye-catching poster so people can easily identify their topic. More about how the Showcase works is up at www.ncdd.org/15606.

Assessing Civic Engagement Needs

Susan Jeghelian, Executive Director and Madhawa Palihapitiya, Associate Director, MA Office of Public Collaboration

A recent legislative study by MOPC, the MA state dispute resolution agency, assessed civic engagement needs around destructive public conflict in local communities and provided policy recommendations to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for improved societal results.

Citizen Science

Chris Santos-Lang, Facilitator, Citizen Science Belleville

The most famous use of citizen science may have been to instigate reform of the Flint, Michigan, water supply. As science advances–especially science of the mind, of values, and of the divide–so does the importance of this form of dialog.

Conversation Café


From the CommunityFrom the Community

Turning Dialogue into Action & Other Skills for Engagement

You might have missed it, but the team at NCDD member organization Public Agenda have been running an incredible blog series on “Key Talents for Better Public Participation” this summer. The posts are a great set of resources for D&D practitioners, and we wanted to share an important one about making the often difficult transition from talk to action here. We encourage you to read the piece and find links to the 14 other series posts below, or find the original here.

Supporting Action Efforts

pa_logoIdeas for action emerge naturally in many different forms of public participation. When people talk about issues that are important to them, they often want to:

  • Develop new problem-solving partnerships and new ways to work with others.
  • Express their ideas, concerns, and recommendations to public officials and other decision makers.
  • Strengthen practices and policies within departments, agencies, community organizations, workplaces or other groups.

During participatory processes, people often think about action ideas they would like to take individually and as a community. It is important for participants to be able to hear one another’s ideas and decide together which actions to take.

In some single-day participatory processes, action ideas are shared at the end of the day. In others, there is a separate action-focused event where participants can come together to share ideas. Still others facilitate action efforts with online tools and tactics.

Two skills, planning action events and supporting action teams, can be helpful for all of these processes. (Many of these tips, along with more information on supporting action, are described by Everyday Democracy here.)

Planning an Action-Focused Event

Events that help people transition from dialogue to action typically have three elements: (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Pre-Conference Options for NCDD 2016

The 2016 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation is just around the corner, and we wanted to bring your attention to some cool options that are happening the day before the conference — Thursday, October 13th.

bumper_sticker_600pxAs you know, NCDD 2016: Bridging Our Divides is taking place October 14-16 in the Boston Metro Area, at the Sheraton Framingham Hotel & Conference Center. All pre-conference activities are taking place at the Sheraton.

The first three events below do require pre-registration, and there is (very reasonable) fee for participating in Essential Partners’ day-long workshop.  See below for details.


Essential Partners (formerly the Public Conversations Project) is known for its high-quality workshops. We’re proud to say that they’re offering their advanced workshop on “Facilitating Public Meetings” on October 13th at the Sheraton!

Leading effective public meetings has become increasingly difficult. Designing and facilitating effective public meetings requires coolness, clarity, courage and skill. This workshop will help participants address the challenges of engaging an impassioned and deeply involved public in constructive conversation.

Dave Joseph, MSW will facilitate the training. The regular rate for this one-day training is $150, but NCDD members pay only $125. Learn more and register today. (Middlesex East)


Do you mean by pro-life what I mean by pro-life? What about socialism? Freedom? Compassion? Answering these questions is the goal of the Red-Blue Dictionary, a transpartisan collaboration to help all Americans explore the varied meanings of commonly used (and misused) words. We’re not building a reference handed down from some great authority on high; we’re exploring what words really mean to all of us down here on the ground.

This free interactive workshop, co-facilitated by Cynthia Kurtz and John Backman, is your chance to learn about the Red-Blue Dictionary, join us in improving it, and explore our diverse experiences with the words we love (and love to hate) most. Email Cynthia Kurtz at cfkurtz@cfkurtz.com to let her know you’d like to participate in this workshop. (Commons II)

5:00 – 7:00 pm  –  DELIBERATION BOOTCAMP

This free evening session will provide an overview of the deliberative perspective and an introduction to many of the key concepts, organizations, and challenges related to the field. Specifically designed for newcomers to the field, the boot camp will help acclimate participants to the conference.

The session will be led by Martín Carcasson, NCDD Board member and Director of Colorado State University’s Center for Public Deliberation. Dr. Carcasson’s presentation will focus on the question of “what kind of talk does democracy need?” and will make the case for building deliberative capacity in our communities.

Email Martín at mcarcas@colostate.edu to let him know you’ll be attending the Bootcamp. (Commons I)


Though the conference doesn’t begin officially until Friday morning, many of you are arriving on Thursday.  Plan on coming down to the hotel bar/restaurant for some informal networking if you’re around (food and drink is on you, though).  Of course, you’re welcome to stick around after 7pm!  (Hotel bar)


NCDD is hosting a pre-conference event for young people and students. This will be a time for attendees 35 and under connect with the other younger conference attendees. During the event, we will be officially unveiling NCDD’s new Emerging Leaders Initiative and all the great ways NCDD will be working to bring younger folks into the D&D field and support them in shaping its future. We will also be kicking off our NCDD 2016 Mentoring Program, which will intentionally connect a cadre of experienced D&D leaders with students and youth attendees during the conference.


Support Still Needed for NCDD2016 Youth Scholarship Fund!

As we announced recently, NCDD is in the midst of an effort to raise $10,000 for our Youth Scholarship Fund to bring as many young people as possible to the NCDD 2016 conference, and we need your help! We have raised just over $1,000 so far in generous donations from our incredible NCDD network, but we still have a lot to raise before our October 7th deadline. Will you consider making a tax-deductible donation today to support the involvement of young people in the D&D field? 

Involving young people and students in our conferences is a huge benefit to our field, the gathering itself, and of course, the young people! Youth and student attendees help bring new ideas and perspectives to our conversations, energize other participants, and having them with us also contributes to bridging the generational divide that so often impacts our country. But most of all, we need to involve the next generation of D&D leaders today to help us foster resilience and longevity for our field as many of leading pioneers of the field begin to exit the work. Won’t you help us develop the D&D leaders and practitioners of tomorrow?

Your donation will be tax-deductible, and it goes directly to helping us provide travel support, cover hotel rooms, and pay registration fees for young people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend. Plus, anyone who donates $50 or more will have their contribution acknowledged in the printed conference guidebook!

We want to say a special “Thank You!” to some of champions of young people who have already donated! Thank you very much to:

  • The Network for Peace through Dialogue
  • Hawaii State Senator Les Ihara, Jr.
  • Chris Bui of The American Focus
  • Cynthia Kurtz
  • Bluebonnet Hills Christian Church, Austin, TX
  • Larry Schooler
  • and Bill Potapchuk of the Community Building Institute
  • Carolyn Penny, Director, UC Davis Campus Dialogue & Deliberation

These leaders have contributed to making it possible for more of our field’s young people to have the life-changing experience of attending an NCDD conference, and we encourage you to join them in investing in our emerging leaders to insure the bright future of our work! Learn more about other ways you can support young people coming to the conference in our earlier post here.

We need everyone to chip in to help us reach our goal of raising $10,000 for the NCDD 2016 Scholarship Fund before October 7th, so we urge you to make a contribution now!


Application Opens to Work with 2017 Nevins Fellows

NCDD was proud to host a special Confab Call this week with our partners at the McCourtney Institute for Democracy – an NCDD member organization and the host of the Nevins Democracy Leaders Program – who shared a presentation on the incredible opportunity for D&D organizations to take advantage of their Nevins Democracy Leaders Program. Nearly two dozen organizations participated in the call, which marked the launch of the 2016-17 application for organizations who want to host a bright, D&D-trained student who will work with their organization for two months of next summer at no cost. mccourtney-logo

We are encouraging all of our member organizations to apply today for the chance to host a Nevins Fellow next summer! Having a Nevins Fellow work with you is like bringing on a new full-time staffer, so it’s a great way for your organization to finally take on a special project you haven’t had time for, get extra help with your big summer engagements, or increase your organizational capacity overall – all while helping bring more young people into our field and growing the next generation of D&D leaders!

Opportunities like this don’t come often or last long, so we encourage you to make sure to apply for a Nevins Fellow before the October 21st deadline. You can find the application at http://tinyurl.com/NevinsFellowApplication.

If you haven’t heard of the Nevins program before or just want more information, there are tons of ways to learn more. You can start with the Frequently Asked Questions document that McCourtney created for potential applicants. We also had an informative discussion on the Confab Call with the McCourtney team, who covered lots of the important details about the program, and you can listen to the recording of that call by clicking here. You can also get a better sense of what the program experience is like from the student’s perspective by checking out this blog post from a 2016 Nevins Fellow about their summer fellowship with the Close-Up Foundation.

We can’t speak highly enough about the Nevins program’s students who applicants will have the chance to work with or about the value of this program’s contributions to the D&D field. We know that these young people will add enormously to the organizations they work with and that this program is helping secure the future of our field – a wonderful testament to vision of the program founder and NCDD member David Nevins. We encourage you to apply today!


NCDD Endorses NICD Standards of Conduct for Presidential Debates

NCDD is proud to announce that we are officially endorsing the set of standards of conduct for civility during the Presidential debates that our member organization the National Institute for Civil Discourse recently released. We are standing with NICD and other organizations in calling for civility during the debates because we believe that civility demonstrated in these events can be a step toward bridging our divides nationally. We encourage you to read NICD’s announcement about the standards of conduct below and to sign their petition for moderators to adopt them by clicking here.

The National Institute for Civil Discourse Calls on Presidential Debate Moderators to Enforce Civility, Releases Debate Standards for Upcoming Presidential Debatesrevive-civility-logo

We released a set of Debate Standards today that we are asking the presidential debate moderators to adopt in order to ensure that the debates are fair, informative, and civil. More than 60 organizations, including the AARP, have already signed on to the standards, which contain guidelines for moderators, the audience, and the candidates themselves.

In addition to AARP, a wide range of organizations endorsed the standards. Types of organizations include education institutions, such as the Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, University of California Berkeley Center on Civility & Democratic Engagement and University of Virginia Center for Politics; forums, such as the City Club of Cleveland and City Club of Portland; and faith organizations, such as that Faith and Politics Institute and Interfaith Alliance. A complete list can be found on NICD’s website at: http://nicd.arizona.edu/standards-conduct-debates.

Join us in asking moderators, debaters and audience members to raise themselves to these standards and agree to use them in your own everyday interactions.

Sign our petition asking the Presidential debate moderators to adopt these standards for the upcoming debates

Revive Civility with us, our democracy depends on it.

Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer

Standards of Conduct for the Presidential Debates

I want debaters to: (more…)


NCDD 2016 Schedule & Workshop List Announced!

We at NCDD are thrilled to announce that we recently published the official schedule and list of conference sessions and workshops for the 2016 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation this Oct. 14-16 in Boston!ncdd2016-postcard

NCDD 2016 promises to be the most exciting NCDD conference to date! As always, we’ve planned the conference weekend to be full of activity, learning, and connecting. It includes rich pre-conference offerings, our famously engaging plenary sessions, experiential field trips, the D&D Showcase, and a new Open Space – there is going to be something for everyone! Be sure to have a look at the full NCDD 2016 conference schedule at www.ncdd.org/ncdd2016/schedule.

And of course, it wouldn’t be an NCDD conference without a smorgasbord of incredible workshops and sessions hosted by the brightest leaders and innovators in our field. NCDD 2016 will feature six concurrent workshop block with over 50 super diverse sessions that span the breadth and depth of the work being done by those in our field who are Bridging Our Divides, while also featuring some of the most exciting new initiatives and successful case studies in D&D. We encourage you to check out the full list of sessions and workshops at www.ncdd.org/ncdd2016/workshops.

If you’ve been waiting to register for NCDD 2016, wait no longer! This schedule and list of conference sessions is just more proof that this year’s gathering will be one of the most engaging, catalytic NCDD events yet, and you won’t want to miss out!

The conference is less than a month away now, and we can’t wait to be with 400 of the most engaged and innovative leaders in this work! We look forward to seeing you in October!

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Learn How to Apply for a Nevins Fellow on 9/21 Confab Call

As we recently announced, NCDD is hosting a special Confab Call this Wednesday, September 21st from 12-1pm Eastern / 9-10am Pacific with the McCourtney Institute for Democracy. This call is the best place to learn how to apply for the amazing opportunity to have a D&D-trained student fellow come work with your organization at no cost and make sure your application is successful, so we strongly encourage our NCDD member organizations to register todayConfab bubble image

During the Confab, McCourtney’s Senior Scholar John Gastil and Managing Director Christopher Beem will provide an overview of their Nevins Democracy Leaders Program, which ­trains college students in D&D and transpartisan leadership skills and then fast tracks them into related careers through placing them in Fellowship positions with leading organizations in the field. Becoming a Nevins host organization is the perfect way to cultivate and prepare the next generation of young D&D leaders while helping your organization build capacity, and this call will be the best place to learn how you can have the best shot at being matched with a Nevins Fellow through their competitive application process.

The call will be full of information and pointers about how to apply for a Fellow, plus it may even feature insights and reflections from past Nevins Fellows on what the experience was like for them. The application will open shortly after the call, but participants in this Confab will have the inside track, so don’t miss this great opportunity! We look forward to talking more with you on the call.

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Looking for a roommate at NCDD 2016? Need to coordinate a rideshare? Here’s the place!

With the 2016 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation! right around the corner, we thought we’d create a place for people to find roommates, organize rideshares, and coordinate whatever else you need to coordinate with other attendees. Use the comments section of this blog post to let other attendees know what you’re looking for.

The NCDD 2016 is taking place at the lovely Sheraton Framingham Hotel & Conference Center just outside of Boston, MA, and we encourage everyone coming in from out of town to stay there for your own comfort and convenience! We’ve negotiated a great rate of $165/night (plus tax) for our conference attendees.

If you need to cut lodging costs while still staying at the hotel, drop a comment in the comment section below about your interest in finding a roommate. We suggest you mention:

  1. Your name, gender, and any special requirements or considerations your potential roommate should know about you (for example, if you’re a smoker, night owl, snorer, etc.)
  2. When you’re arriving and departing and which nights you want to share a room
  3. Email or phone contact info in case people would like to connect with you directly

To get the NCDD room rate, make sure you use this link when you reserve your room:


We recommend that NCDD 2016 attendees arrive on Thursday, October 13th, since we start Friday morning and you’ll want to take advantage of the great pre-conference activities your D&D colleagues will be organizing! You should plan to depart on Monday, October 17th or later in the day on Sunday, October 16th, since we end at 3:30pm. Find out more about your transportation options on our NCDD 2016 travel & lodging page.

If you have any questions that are not addressed here, check out our conference FAQ page. If you still have questions after that, feel free to send Sandy an email at sandy@ncdd.org.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Join EvDem’s Monthly Twitter Chat for Young Leaders

We encourage our younger members to join the Twitter chat that our NCDD member organization Everyday Democracy hosts every 2nd Tuesday. It’s a great way to connect and get new ideas out there, so we encourage you to learn more in EvDem’s post below and join them today using the hashtag #EvDemChat! Save the date for next month’s chat on October 11th!

EvDem LogoTwitter Chat for Young Leaders

Everyday Democracy hosts a Twitter chat the second Tuesday of every month at 2pm ET.

September’s Twitter chat will highlight the work of young leaders organizing and creating change in their communities. Join us this month for a great discussion!

We’ll talk about:

  • What inspires you to do community change work
  • Strategies you use to engage people
  • How you’ve overcome barriers you’ve faced as a young leader
  • How you talk about racism and racial equity in your work
  • How do you make sure young people’s voices are heard


Date: Tuesday, September 13
Time: 2-3pm ET
Hashtag: #EvDemChat
Host: Everyday Democracy (@EvDem)