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Join Next Tuesday’s Confab Feat Community Rights US!

We are excited for our April Confab call featuring Community Rights US, coming up next week on Tuesday, April 10th from 1-2:30pm Eastern/ 10-11:30am Pacific! Please join us for this free call with NCDD member, Linda Ellinor, who will be interviewing Paul Cienfuegos of Community Rights US. They will be addressing the growing success of the Community Rights movement which is empowering citizens to pass local laws that protect our right to clean air and water, safe food, living wage jobs, and much more, in their local communities. Register today to reserve your slot!

About the Community Rights movement:

Since its inception in 1999, over 200 communities and counties in nine states have passed legally and culturally groundbreaking Community Rights ordinances that have banned harmful corporate activities such as fracking, water bottling, unsustainable energy development, aerial spraying of pesticides on farms and forests, and much more. These local laws also enshrine Nature as having locally enforceable Rights to exist, flourish and evolve. This is a real breakthrough approach for those of us in NCDD trying to facilitate effective community engagement projects especially around environmental and social justice issues. Come learn how to help your communities work ’outside the regulatory law box’ that has made it virtually impossible to block predatory corporate projects such as factory farms, GMOs, and mining operations from coming in and destroying local communities and ecosystems.

About the presenters:

Paul Cienfuegos is a national leader in the Community Rights movement, which works to dismantle corporate constitutional so-called “rights” and assert The People’s inherent right to govern themselves. He has been leading workshops across the US since 1995. Launched in October 2017, Paul is the founding director of Community Rights US. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Linda Ellinor pioneered Bohm Dialogue in the 1990s and is now focused on climate change activism and helping to found the “Academy for Professional Dialogue’, slated to be launched in 2018.

This call is not-to-miss – register today to join us for this conversation!

About NCDD’s Confab Calls

Confab bubble imageNCDD’s Confab Calls are opportunities for members (and potential members) of NCDD to talk with and hear from innovators in our field about the work they’re doing and to connect with fellow members around shared interests. Membership in NCDD is encouraged but not required for participation. Confabs are free and open to all. Register today if you’d like to join us!

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Co-Creating a Shared Future and Funding the Vision

Those in the NCDD network can attest that while there is a lot of enthusiasm and effort around engagement work; what many in our field continue to struggle with is having funding to do said work and operating in silos. That’s why we wanted to share this excellent article posted on the Bridge Alliance site from NCDD member, Debilyn Molineaux, that articulates this vital need for co-creating a shared future and getting this shared vision funded.

Like the article states and our community knows, it takes conversation in order to build a shared future, and there’s a longing for many in this country to be able to bridge divides and work better together. NCDD stemmed from this need to bridge the D&D field and we’ll continue to share the important work being done to engaged people – like the National Week of Conversation on April 20-28, a collaborative effort to build relationships and heal our divisions. You can read Debilyn’s post below and find the original version on BA’s site here.


We Need To Talk: It’s Time to Create and Fund Our Future

Collectively, there are thousands of organizations and funders already working to improve our country. So why does our country appear to be a mess?

The weakest part of our country is our willingness to live in a narrative/news stream that confirms our own bias and demonizes others. We could make our collective work exponentially more effective by fostering strong relationships among people of different viewpoints.

Our current frayed social fabric is the result of “winner take all” politics, party loyalty over patriotism and is exacerbated by attacks from foreign influencers who manipulate us through social media and propaganda. Only We the People can (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Kick off NWOC at Listen First in Charlottesville April 20-22

The National Week of Conversation (NWOC) is coming up this month from April 20-28th! It will be an unprecedented week of conversations throughout the Nation designed to bring folks from across divides to build relationships and provide opportunities to work more effectively together in addressing the divisions in this country. NCDD is a proud organizing partner for this effort, joined by over 50 partner organizations, all working to help Americans have better conversations with each other.

One of the first major events to kick off this exciting week is Listen First in Charlottesville (LFC), which will be from Friday, April 20th – Sunday, April 22nd. This event will convene several heavy hitters from the NCDD network, including our own Sandy Heierbacher -We strongly encourage folks to attend! Sandy will be moderating the final panel at the Saturday session, Bridging Divides Across America, with NCDD member David Leaverton of Undivided Nation, as well as, David Blankenhorn of Better Angels, Malka Fenyvesi of On Being’s Civil Conversations Project, and Joseph Pinion of Conservative Color Coalition.

LFC will also feature many influential people in the D&D field, including NCDDers Pearce Godwin of Listen First Project (a major convener of this event!), Parisa Parsa of Essential Partners, Dr. Carolyn Lukensmeyer of National Institute for Civil Discourse, Debilyn Molineaux of Bridge Alliance and Living Room Conversation Project, Liz Joyner of Village Square, John Gable of Allsides, John Steiner of Mediators Foundation, and Erin Leaverton of Undivided Nation. Check out the incredible line-up hereWe are thrilled to see so many exciting and engaging leaders in the field at one event, we hope you can make it!

Below is the agenda for the weekend with events beginning (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

“Super Early Bird” Rate Now Available for #NCDD2018!

Hey everyone! We are thrilled to announce the “Super Early Bird” registration rate is now live for the upcoming 2018 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation! This super low rate of $350 is only available for a limited time (through May 30th), so make sure you register ASAP to secure your spot for #NCDD2018 at this great price!

Our conferences only come around every two years, and you won’t want to miss this one! NCDD conferences aren’t just about having fun and enjoying the company of our field’s movers and shakers. They’re about forming new partnerships, strategizing together about how we can tackle our field’s greatest challenges, showcasing some of the coolest arts, technologies, and methods for public engagement — and so much more.

This year we will be coming together from November 2-4 (Friday through Sunday) in Denver, CO, at the Sheraton Denver Downtown. We are so excited for NCDD 2018 and hope you will join us! The theme for this year’s conference is “Connecting and Strengthening Civic Innovators”, and our intention is to focus on how we can further uplift dialogue, deliberation, and engagement work.

NCDD2018: Connecting and Strengthening Civic Innovators

So much of our political environment is rife with partisan rancor. Our communities are struggling with crisis after crisis. These and other factors have people across the country yearning for the ability to listen to one another with more understanding and civility, to work more effectively across differences, and to improve how we make decisions together and engage in our democracy.

Just what our field specializes in.

So for the 2018 conference, we are making space to dig deep into what we know about helping and healing democracy. Now is the time to bring the work of the dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement field into greater visibility and use. There are so many valuable processes and resources that our extended community of practice offers, and we’d like to explore ways to make this work spread. Join us to cultivate its widespread practice in our communities.

At NCDD 2018, we will explore bringing dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement to the forefront by:

  • Cultivating new partnerships and connections with other fields utilizing these approaches, including government, libraries, and journalism;
  • Developing our skills, and building our toolkits to address the emerging needs in the communities we work with and live in;
  • Making the case for public engagement, by elevating the stories of how people are coming together across divides, making decisions and taking action together, as well as demonstrating the value and impact of this work;
  • Growing the skills of D&D in our young people, and cultivating leaders who are drawn to D&D;
  • Building the skills and capacities of others in our communities to do this work;
  • Reaching out to and engaging with those less drawn to D&D, including conservatives, activists, and others;
  • Highlighting the ways D&D can be fun, and exploring innovative methods for public engagement – including the arts.

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 3,000 people, from dozens of countries, have attended our biennial national and regional events, and we’re expecting over 400 this year! Hopefully, you’re one of them!

Learn much more about the conference at www.ncdd.org/ncdd2018, and register today at www.ncdd2018.eventbrite.com to take advantage of the Super Early Bird rate.

The call for workshop proposals is coming next week, so think about what you might like to present at the conference as well!

NCDD conferences are important networking and learning events for our field. Watch these highlight videos by Keith Harrington of Shoestring Videos to get a sense of the energy and content of our last two conferences… (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

The Importance of Civics Education in our Country

While NCDD member org, Everyday Democracy, shared this article on the importance of civics education a while back, we wanted to lift it up because it is still so relevant. The article talks about how education in this country has shifted from preparing students to be more civically engaged, to training students for the workforce. While the latter is important, our democracy suffers when the people are not trained on how to be civic agents. The article stresses that in order for our democracy to thrive and for our communities to be stronger, people needed to have civics a part of modern education. You can read the article below or find the original on Everyday Democracy’s site here.


The Decline of Civic Education and the Effect on our Democracy

EvDem LogoWhen I was five years old, my parents dropped me off at Radnor Elementary School for my first day of Kindergarten. This was the first day of many years of public education for me.

My high school, like so many in our country, steers students towards science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Personally, I was lucky enough to have great teachers who encouraged me to look beyond this narrow focus and find subjects that interested me, but my story is the exception rather than the rule.

In the past few decades, the focus of our public education system has turned sharply toward STEM as part of a broader reconceptualization of the role of public education. Whereas education was once seen as a public good designed to prepare students to participate in our democratic system, it is now seen as a primarily individual pursuit intended to help people develop employable skills and prepare to contribute to the workforce.

A little bit of history on the public education system

To better understand this monumental shift, it is important to understand where our public education system comes from. The history of public education in the U.S. is inseparable from the history of our nation, and I believe that (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Attend the UNCG Annual Conference in Portland this June

The University Network for Collaborative Governance is holding their annual conference in Portland, Oregon from June 3rd – 5th. Hosted by NCDD member org Kitchen Table Democracy, along with National Policy Consensus Center at Portland State University, this conference will be an excellent opportunity for academic professionals working on collaborative governance to learn from each other and deepen the impact of collaborative governance work on a systemic level. The conference will focus on the integration and innovation of collaborative governance research, practice, and teaching, through group discussions and “Lightning Talks” [5 min or less presentations]. Proposals for “Lightning Talks” are due by April 16th, so make sure you submit yours ASAP! We encourage you to read the announcement below or find the original on Kitchen Table Democracy’s site here.


University Network for Collaborative Governance 2018 Conference

June 3-5, 2018 – Portland, OR

Hosted by the National Policy Consensus Center, Portland State University (UNCG members Oregon Consensus, Oregon’s Kitchen Table, Oregon Solutions)

About the Conference

What does the tapestry for collaborative governance research, practice, and teaching look like for the next 10 years?

The UNCG annual conference is an opportunity for academic professionals – including faculty, staff, and students – from across the county who are engaged in the work of collaborative governance to come together to learn from each other.  This year’s conference will build off recent strategic planning activities and will challenge participants to ask how we as a network can strategically evolve to more systemically address societal challenges, engage the next generation of university-based collaborative governance professionals, and contribute to deepening the understanding of the impact and results of collaborative processes.

At this year’s conference, we are particularly interested in two topic areas: (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Missed our Tech Tuesday Feat Synaccord? Listen now!

We had another one of our fantastic NCDD Tech Tuesday calls last week featuring NCDD member David Fridley of Synaccord! We were joined by over 50 participants on the call, to learn more about the Synaccord online platform and the ways in which it compliments face-to-face (F2F) deliberation. David had a special offer for NCDDers which you can learn more about by listening to the recording! We recommend you check it out if you weren’t able to make it because it was a great call!

On the Tech Tuesday, David walked us through a demo of Synaccord using a previous project around developing a 2-year strategic plan; which gave participants an opportunity to see the capabilities of the platform. Participants use Synaccord to rank their values online before engaging in a F2F process and then afterward rank again online to see if/how perspectives shifted. The platform allows participants to give comments on their specific choices which is especially helpful because after decisions are submitted, the top priorities are shown with how much agreement/disagreement is in the group and comments can help guide how issues are worked with. Synaccord can easily accommodate larger groups by having smaller break out groups which then feed back into the larger group response; that way everyone’s input gets seen/heard and is accessible to the rest of participants.

If you were unable to join us on the call, never fear! We recorded the webinar which can be found on the (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Webinars and Updates from the Institute for Local Gov’t

Our friends at the Institute for Local Government, an NCDD member org, recently shared with us some updates which we wanted to lift up to the NCDD network! This coming Friday, March 31st from 10am – 11am Pacific, ILG will be hosting a webinar on how local governments can have a more accurate address list for the upcoming 2020 Census through community-based canvassing. You can also watch this short video on the importance of the 2020 Census and the need for partnerships with culturally competent community organizations. ILG has another webinar on Wednesday, April 12th from 11am – 12p Pacific about best practices for holding more effective public meetings. You can read more in the post below or find the original versions on ILG’s site here.


120 Day Deadline: How Local Governments Can Conduct Community-Based Address Canvassing to Ensure Low-Income People Are Counted

Friday, March 30, 2018
10:00 am – 11:00 am PDT

The deadline for cities and counties to submit your LUCA list is looming.  Is your local government’s address list complete? Luca stands for Local Update on Censuses Addresses Operations. Cities that registered for LUCA back in December to participate in updating local address lists that will help with accurate census population count in 2020.  Every household missing means thousands of dollars per year for local governments.  Join us Friday, March 30th from 10am to 11am (Pacific) for this free webinar to learn tips and tools for how you can use community-based address canvassing to avoid an undercount of low-income residents.  ILG’s Sarah Rubin will host and our close colleague Zulma Maciel from the City of San Jose will share her experience along with tips for success and lessons learned.

What you’ll learn: (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Opportunity to Host a Jefferson Dinner!

We are excited to announce NCDD is working with NCDD member organization The Village Square to support dialogues across the country using the format of the Jefferson Dinner, which invites people with differences of opinion to discuss an important topic over dinner.  These dinners are compelling experiences that The Village Square wants you to experience firsthand, and so we are letting you all know about an exciting opportunity!

Because they are particularly interested in making this surprisingly powerful tool available to NCDD members, they are offering stipends to at least 15 moderators to organize and facilitate a Jefferson Dinner. And the best part is that you can pick the topic for your dinner from any current political or civic topic around which there is substantial disagreement in the public square.

Some history about this tradition: Jefferson hosted his dinners at a time when prospects weren’t good that our new republic would hold together. Early legislators were described as coming to work “in the spirit of avowed misunderstanding, without the smallest wish to agree.” Sound familiar? Jefferson hosted dinners that were profoundly humanizing for these angry opponents. One dinner – with guests Alexander Hamilton and James Madison – resulted in the Dinner Table Bargain of 1790, widely credited with saving the American experiment.

In the same way that Jefferson mastered the art of these dinners as a way to make things happen that mattered to him, The Village Square would like you to experience how you can do the same.  Your dinner is about what’s in your heart  – whether that’s starting a civic project, running for office, contemplating solutions to a problem that deeply concerns you or imagining the future. By intentionally gathering people with diverse opinions – something that doesn’t happen enough these days – you’re harnessing incredible power toward whatever matters to you. (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

The Critical Need for Collective Sensemaking

We recently found this piece we’d like to share from NCDD member, Beth Tener of New Directions Collaborative, and how processes shift the way that change is navigated. She talks about how the essence of understanding and how the way we make sense of things, affects the change we can have.  You can read the article below or the original version of it on the New Directions Collaborative site here.


Navigating Change With Collective Sensemaking

In the news lately, I frequently hear commentators talking about how a particular event or action is unprecedented, such as three hurricanes so close together or the actions this Administration is taking to deregulate quickly. These times call for us to practice ‘collective sensemaking’ to more clearly see what is unfolding and avoid being caught in denial or wishful thinking. We may unconsciously use the same playbook that has worked before…when the game and territory have changed. This is time for key questions such as, What is changing? What is needed to respond now? What is now possible?

This sensitivity to a changing world is a key skill for ensuring longevity and resilience. Arie de Geus, who worked on strategic planning at Shell, got curious and researched corporations with long life spans. To his surprise, he found companies in Japan and Sweden that had existed for 700 years. In these companies, he found common patterns, manifested in unique ways in their context. As he wrote in Harvard Business Review, “living companies have a personality that allows them to evolve harmoniously. They know who they are, understand how they fit into the world, value new ideas and new people, and husband their money in a way that allows them to govern their future.” The four common characteristics he saw across many long-lived companies were: (more…)

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