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From the CommunityFrom the Community

Lifting the Discourse Beyond the Political Circus

In these challenging times, it is imperative now more than ever to work towards #BridgingOurDivides instead of the current state of political toxicity and mud slinging. Which is why we wanted to share this piece written by David Nevins, President of the Bridge Alliance – an NCDD organizational member – who recently wrote the aptly-named blog piece about the terrible state of politics in the US. In the article, Nevins states how in order to fix our broken political system, we must hold ourselves and our leaders to a higher standard of civic engagement and accountability.

We encourage you to read the blog article below or find the original on the Bridge Alliance site here.


The Political Circus

In 2012 before the previous presidential election I wrote an article entitled, “The Political Circus”.

At that time I said:

“The suffocating partisanship that most Americans abhor will surely be on display for all to witness in the coming election season. The accusations and innuendos, the misinformation and vilifying of one party by the other will be the typical tactics and game plan employed by those on the left and those on the right.”

Unfortunately things have gotten much worse in five years. The vicious ‘winning-is-all’ climate, the ‘meant-to-mislead’ rhetoric, the extreme and polarizing factions along with the sheer lack of decency are tethering our nation to a new low.

As we watch the behaviors of so many of our leaders today posturing against each other with twisted facts and vitriolic disdain, solely to WIN the sacred trust of the electorate, we ought to be asking ourselves, “Is this particular behavior having the effect of raising or lowering the level of discourse and understanding between and among us as citizens?”

As the president of a cross-partisan organization called the Bridge Alliance, we support organizations working to build new solutions to fix a broken political system. These organizations are working to deliver on America’s promise of government by and for the people.

It is time for us to realize that (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

DDPE Graduate Certificate Offers NCDD Member Discount

We are pleased to share that the Dialogue, Deliberation, and Public Engagement (DDPE) Graduate Certificate program at Kansas State University will offer NCDD members a 10% discount! [Fun fact: the price of your annual NCDD membership pays for itself with JUST this discount and there are so many more benefits!] The DDPE program is an opportunity to strengthen skills and understanding around theory and practice of leading groups in collaborative decision-making. The deadline for registration is August 21st, so make sure you register ASAP before it’s too late. Please feel free to contact Timothy J. Shaffer, PhD at tjshaffer[at]ksu[dot]edu with any questions.

You can learn more about the K-State DDPE program below or find the original on KSU’s site here.


Dialogue, Deliberation, and Public Engagement Graduate Certificate

Designed to be a transformative experience for graduate students and professionals, this program covers the practice and theory of leading groups through collaborative decision-making. Through a series of four courses, students will learn:

  • approaches to participatory planning and collaborative decision-making that are supported by sound scholarship
  • communication and leadership skills for designing and leading productive meetings
  • dialogic practices for developing and maintaining constructive working relationships and managing conflict
  • proven frameworks selecting or designing engagement processes for organizations, stakeholders, or whole communities
  • a wide range of tools and techniques for engaging small and large groups to address conflicts, explore alternatives and inform policy
  • principles and practices that move groups toward sustainable action that changes lives

Courses are (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Everyday Democracy Announces New Local Anchor Partner

We are inspired to see long-standing dialogue efforts continue to grow and wanted to lift up this blog piece that NCDD member org, Everyday Democracy, shared recently announcing their new anchor partner with Community Partners. The local Florida organization has been using EvDem’s Dialogue-to-Change program for the last 16 years to address issues in Palm Beach County. Anchor partners work closely with EvDem to co-create and support efforts to build capacity for a Dialogue-to-Change program in their communities. To learn more about Evdem’s anchor program and how to become a partner, click here.

We encourage you to read more on EvDem’s blog below or find the original here.


One Community’s Journey From a Small Local Dialogue to Becoming a National Partner

EvDem LogoFor the last 16 years, residents in Palm Beach County, Fla., have been using Everyday Democracy’s Dialogue-to-Change process to work on issues of race, early childhood education, and building strong neighborhoods.

Not only have they done great work in West Palm Beach and surrounding communities— Housing Partnership, Inc (dba Community Partners) is now one of Everyday Democracy’s anchor partners. Anchor partners help Everyday Democracy carry out our work on a larger scale then we could alone, sharing a strong commitment to dialogue, engagement and racial equity, and committing to share knowledge and work together.

Community Partners first used Dialogue-to-Change to address (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Kettering and NIFI Offer CGA Training for Educators

We wanted to give educators in the NCDD network a heads up about the upcoming training from NCDD member org, Kettering Foundation, on using the online deliberation platform, Common Ground for Action. On August 15 & 16, Kara Dillard and Amy Lee of Kettering, will host a two-hour session training each day on how to use this online deliberation platform in the classroom; including: how to convene and moderate a forum, best practices, and classroom design ideas. The training on August 15th will be from 1-3pm Eastern/ 10am-12pm Pacific & on August 16th from 3-5pm Eastern/12-2pm Pacific. The announcement below was from the most recent NIFI Moderator’s Circle listserv email (sent June 28th) – contact NIFI to learn more about joining this list.

Make sure you register ASAP to secure your spot for the CGA Training for Educators here.


Calling All Teachers!

HIGH SCHOOL, MIDDLE SCHOOL, COLLEGE
LEARN ABOUT USING ONLINE FORUMS IN THE CLASSROOM
August 15 & 16, 2017

ENCOURAGING DIALOGUE IN THE CLASSROOM

Want to help students exchange views on the tough issues facing our country?

Want to help students use their critical thinking skills on current events?

Want to know more about using online forums in the classroom?

This August, over two consecutive days, Kettering and National Issues Forums Institute will host a moderator training session for K-12 and college faculty interested in using online Common Ground for Action (CGA) forums in the classroom.

The sessions will cover:
– How to set up a CGA forum
– The moderator’s responsibilities
– Hacks and tricks for moderating
– Practice exercises on setting up and moderating forums
– Q & A on integrating CGA forums into the classroom
– Potential assignments and evaluation metrics

WHEN: Tuesday, August 15, 1:00-3:00 pm (EDT) and Wednesday, August 16, 3:00-5:00 pm (EDT) REGISTER HERE

Participating is easy. You need a computer with internet access and speakers. A microphone is helpful, but not required. Register to participate and you’ll get an email with all the details.

Interested to learn more about the Common Ground for Action forum? Check out the video below from NIFI to find out how to participate in a CGA forum.

You can register for the CGA Moderators Training for Educators at http://conta.cc/2tqiIY2

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Two Weeks Left for IAF Facilitation Impact Nominations

Know an organization that has had a profound facilitation impact? Nominate them within the next two weeks for the Facilitation Impact Awards with the International Association of Facilitators (IAF)! Submit the names of organizations you feel have had a positive impact through their facilitation within the last 24 months. Those who have had a measurable impact, will have an opportunity for global recognition because of how they have used and benefitted from facilitation. Make sure you get your nominations in by 11pm on Sunday, July 9th (GMT) in order for these fantastic facilitation orgs to be eligible. Follow #FacilitationAwards on Twitter for more!

You can read the announcement from IAF below or find the original version with more info on their site here.


2017 Facilitation Impact Awards – Honouring excellence in facilitation

About the awards
As a professional association with members in more than 65 countries, the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) is well placed to recognise the power of facilitation worldwide. For more than 20 years we have been strong advocates for the power of facilitation in helping organisations to address challenges and achieve results.

The Facilitation Impact Awards (FIA) honours organisations that have used facilitation to achieve a measurable and positive impact as well as the facilitator(s) who worked with them.

The awards are open to organisations of any size from the business, government, and not-for-profit sectors. The awards are for organisations that (more…)

NCDD NewsNCDD News

Stories and Reflections from Elevate Engagement

Last month, I had the great pleasure of attending Elevate Engagement, a conference hosted by the Agora Journalism Center at the University of Oregon and organized in partnership with NCDD member organization Journalism That Matters.

Over 130 participants took part in this conference, including many journalists, some engagement practitioners (NCDD member orgs the Jefferson Center and Healthy Democracy among them), activists, and others. Organizers used Open Space, World Cafe, Pro-Action Cafe, and other engagement techniques to discuss the question, “How do we elevate engagement for communities to thrive?”

Over the course of the four days, I heard a whole host of stories of journalists making efforts and succeeding in creating more quality engagement with the communities they serve. A couple examples I recommend checking out include:

  • The Evergrey organized a trip and conversation between King County, WA voters (who voted 74% for Clinton in 2016) and Sherman County, OR voters (who voted 74% for Trump).
  • Spaceship Media and the Alabama Media Group brought together women who voted for Trump in Alabama with women who voted for Clinton in California for an online dialogue on a variety of political issues.
  • KPCC, Southern California Public Radio, launched “Unheard LA – the stories of where you live,” a community-driven storytelling series that featured community members sharing their experiences in various formats (music, poetry, etc.). They also went a step further and shared what they learned when they stopped talking and started listening.

These are just a couple stories, out of many inspiring ones I heard in my time attending the conference. I found it noteworthy that some of these efforts incorporated good dialogue and facilitation practices, whether or not the journalists were knowledgable of these practices (some were, some were not). I also noted that for others, there was a strong desire to do more, but a sense of struggle or an uphill battle to achieve this kind of level of engagement.

Some of the challenges I heard were that this kind of quality engagement can take time, which does not always fit the realities of the newsroom. Others noted the need for additional resources, in terms of staff, time, and money to carry out more quality engagement. And for others, it really boiled down to finding good models and good partners to be able to engage communities which have traditionally been hurt and/or unheard by journalists and media outlets. The desire to be able to reconcile with communities who have been shut out, misrepresented, or harmed by media was a strong theme throughout the conference.

My own biggest takeaway was that journalists have a strong desire and sense of mission to build better engagement, but that many also think they need to take it on alone. I was joined by other NCDDers in sharing the message that our network has a wealth of skills, models, and experience for engagement, and that many (if not all!) of us are willing partners for journalists in these efforts. NCDD intends to continue our conversation with Journalism That Matters about this and to find further opportunities to connect journalists and engagement practitioners. Working together can help both of our fields achieve our goals and, more importantly, raise the voices of the people across our country.

For more information, check out the Elevate Engagement website where you can learn more about the conference and check out session notes. You may also want to take a look through #PDXengage17 on Twitter to catch videos, quotes, and other participant thoughts.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

IAP2 North American Conference in Denver this Fall

NCDD org member, International Association for Public Participation [IAP2], is holding their 2017 North American Conference from Sept 6-8 in Denver, Colorado. The conference “Pursuing the Greater Good – P2 for a Changing World” will be a three-day opportunity to dig deeper into public participation with fellow practitioners. Follow the hashtag #iap2nac2017 for extra conference happenings. Early bird registration is open until June 30th, so check out the conference and save your spot at this great rate!

You can read the announcement from IAP2 below or find the original on their site here.


2017 IAP2 North American Conference

This year’s theme, “Pursuing the Greater Good – P2 for a Changing World”, couldn’t be more timely, and once again, you have an opportunity to consider that theme from a variety of angles and share perspectives and insights.

The pre-conference workshops cover three important topics for P2 professionals: “Bringing More People to the Table”, “Digital Engagement” and “Transportation and P2”.

Pathways are “deep dives” into specific topics; three-hour discussions where you get to set the agenda, co-create and co-host. Those taking part will be able to set the physical and intellectual environment where a small group of people can tackle big questions that ultimately contribute to the field. With Pathways, you can expect an experience that is in-the-moment, dynamic, engaging … and demanding!

Conference Schedule

From now through June 30, you can take advantage of the early-bird price: US $550 for members and $700 for non-members. For that, you get: (more…)

NCDD NewsNCDD News

NCDD’s Membership Drive Ends June 18th – Join Us!

We have reached the final THREE DAYS in the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation’s membership drive. Our staff would love to see you join or renew your membership in NCDD before we end this drive on Sunday, June 18!

Here are three reasons why we (and others) think it’s worth joining NCDD:

1. Direct member benefits

As a member, you have access to numerous direct benefits that are worth much more than the cost of membership. Members get:

  • Access to discounts on trainings and workshops, as well as a special registration rate at NCDD Conferences!
  • First notice of news and opportunities, including jobs postings on the Making-A-Living Listserv, and the latest news through a special NCDD Member Newsletter.
  • Access to a wealth of information and experiences through access to the archives of NCDD Confab Calls and Tech Tuesdays!
  • A listing on the NCDD Member Map and Directory,
  • And more! Check out ncdd.org/join for more details.

“Over the years I have reaped far more in benefits from NCDD than the tiny dues might warrant. NCDD has opened my eyes to new, powerful tools and wide-ranging perspectives that enrich my organizational work and make me a better facilitator. I’ve also gained some wonderful colleagues through NCDD. It was time to give back to an organization that has given me a great deal!”
– Juli Fellows, Ph.D.

2. Connections to others doing this work

One of the most commonly noted benefits of being a member of the NCDD network is the connections that are made between members. NCDD is unique in that our members represent a variety of professions, models for dialogue, and areas of focus or expertise. For many, becoming a member in NCDD means finding the people who best understand your work and who can help you develop and grow your practice. Imagine what you can gain from being in close communication with such a rich network!

“NCDD is the first place I turn if I need technical assistance with a dialogue issue/situation and it is the resource I share most often with others interested in learning more about dialogue. ”
– Cathey Capers, Wellspring Resources, Austin, Texas

3. Helping keep NCDD Sustainable

Your membership dues is essential to keeping NCDD sustainable. We’re a small organization, and rely on our members’ support in addition to grants and donations in order to keep this network strong and growing. Your membership dues goes directly to helping our staff continue to offer our programs and resources to you!

 “I was ‘there at the beginning’, and I think that what you all are doing is so very important for our polarized, fractured world.”

– Jim Snow, NCDD Founding Member

“More than ever now we have to support the work each and all of us are doing in the dialogue and deliberation field – or we’re doomed. As I see it, NCDD is our lodgepole.”

– Deborah Goldblatt, Director, World Café Services, World Café Community Foundation

We hope you’ll consider joining or renewing your membership in NCDD by Sunday, June 18th, when our membership drive ends. We appreciate your continued support and look forward to all we can do together going forward!

From the CommunityFrom the Community

NCDD Orgs Respond on How to Save American Democracy

As we grapple with a quickly changing political environment, many are struggling with the current state of American democracy and what are the best steps to repair our damaged system. Over the course of the year, several writers have expressed their beliefs that the way to improve our political system is to reduce public participation and increase political intermediaries/institutions.

In a direct response to these viewpoints, NCDD member org Healthy Democracy, recently published the article on their blog, Actually, More Public Participation Can Save American Democracy, which can be found here. The Deliberative Democracy Consortium, also a NCDD member org, wrote an immediate follow-up piece inviting the dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement community to respond to these claims and the writers themselves. For information on how to send your responses, read the DDC’s article on their blog here.

The article from Healthy Democracy can be found below or read the original on their blog here.


Actually, More Public Participation Can Save American Democracy

Lee Drutman of the New America Foundation, writing on Vox.com’s Polyarchy blog, makes a bold statement: more public participation isn’t the answer to our political woes because the reasonable, civically-minded voter is a myth. This is the latest in a trend of articles analyzing American politics and the role of citizens, beginning with Jonathan Rauch’s sprawling analysis for the Atlantic of our political system and its populist weaknesses.

Fortunately, Mr. Drutman’s analysis is narrowly focused and should not discourage those of us who have broader imaginations about democracy and the power of an active citizenry. Public participation is (more…)

NCDD NewsNCDD News

A Message from NCDD Board Chair Martin Carcasson

I wanted to take an opportunity to make another appeal to everyone to consider supporting NCDD by becoming a dues-paying member. As you’ve likely read, NCDD is changing its membership structure in order to build capacity in the organization. Effective June 19, all members will need to have their dues current to continue receiving member benefits and remain listed on the member map and directory.

As the current chair of the NCDD Board of Directors, I can tell you we struggled with this decision. We want to keep NCDD as open and accessible as possible, which is why we’ve traditionally had open membership without required dues (dues were optional). But as we continue to work to create capacity to address to the troubling hyper-partisanship of our times, we recognized that we needed more stability in the organizational structure to accomplish our work. NCDD had to grow up a little, and have a more consistent funding stream, particularly for our leadership positions. Once we establish the new structure, Courtney and Sandy should be able to focus so much more on doing the work and building, improving, and serving the network rather than searching for the dollars to cover their salaries.

I do hope you see the value in supporting NCDD. Yes, there are member benefits, but above all I hope people see this as a contribution to an organization whose work has never been as important as it is now. At a time when polarization and cynicism is tearing the country apart, those of us in NCDD know we have better ways of engaging the tough issues that actually bring people together. We also know that despite all the rancor, people do yearn for authentic engagement, and prefer that to the noise when given an opportunity.

I first became connected with NCDD in San Francisco in 2006. I don’t actually remember how I initially heard about the conference, but I was in the process of getting the Center for Public Deliberation started at Colorado State, and made it out to the coast to hopefully learn some useful skills. What I actually found was my tribe. An incredibly diverse group of people who saw the world like I saw it, passionate about making a difference and catalyzing change, but recognizing that the best way to do just that was by focusing on changing the conversation and giving people real opportunities to engage each other genuinely. I hope you see NCDD through a similar lens, and will help us expand and solidify our work by supporting the organization moving forward as an NCDD member.

Martin Carcasson
Director, CSU Center for Public Deliberation
Professor, Communication Studies at Colorado State University
Chair, NCDD Board of Directors

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