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From the CommunityFrom the Community

Third Phase Begins for Am. Library Association D&D Training

We are thrilled to announce the third phase of D&D training for librarians is starting in February, as part of our partnership with the American Library Association (ALA) on the Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change initiative. Last year we kicked off this partnership to train librarians on D&D methods and processes to share with their communities and further be hubs for engagement and dialogue. The first series last spring was tailored to large/urban public libraries, Fall 2017 was for academic libraries, and this round will be for small, mid-size, and rural public libraries. In addition to the initial webinar NCDD will be doing, this round of trainings will include webinars featuring NCDD member org Future Search and Conversation Café. We encourage you to read the announcement below or find the original on ALA’s site here.

Free Facilitation Training for Small, Mid-Sized and Rural Public Libraries

ALA, the Public Library Association (PLA) and the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) invite public library staff serving small, mid-sized or rural communities to attend a free learning series on how to lead productive conversations.

Through Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC): Models for Change, a two-year ALA initiative, library professionals have the opportunity to participate in three online learning sessions and one in-person workshop, all free of charge, between February and June 2018.

“I am excited to begin this process in our community, and I feel better equipped to do so,” said one attendee after a previous LTC: Models for Change learning session.

By attending these sessions, library professionals can learn how to convene critical conversations with people with differing viewpoints; connect more meaningfully with library users and better meet their needs; and translate conversation into action.

Registration is currently open for the following three webinars: (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Kettering Releases New Higher Education Exchange

We want to encourage our members in higher education to check out the newest version of the Higher Education Exchange, a free annual publication from NCDD member organization the Kettering Foundation. The Exchange explores important and timely themes around the public mission of colleges and universities and offers reflections from both domestic and international scholar-practitioners on how higher education can and must shift toward teaching deliberation and civic engagement. We highly recommend it. You can learn more about the 2017 edition in the Kettering announcement below or find the full downloadable version here.

Higher Education Exchange 2017: Deliberation as Public Judgment

The 2017 issue of the Higher Education Exchange (HEX) takes on the divisive political moment we find ourselves in and argues that civic work that tries to be apolitical, or stays within the comfort zone of higher education, will not help us to bridge the divides that threaten our democracy

What makes this moment so critical? Polarization is now more intractable than it has ever been before. While elected officials have always had their disagreements, research has confirmed partisanship in Washington has grown to new levels. Media polarization is also on the rise. Not only are we confronted with ongoing socioeconomic and geographical divides, but also social media further enables segmentation into bubbles of like-minded groups. While information has never been more accessible, the citizenry cannot even agree on what constitutes factual information, much less how to interpret its implications.

In addition to the usual gridlock, the discourse of “winners” and “losers” raises the stakes of politics. Each side fears that the other seeks power to impose its will, further increasing the sense of tension and mistrust. As politics comes to be seen exclusively as a competition for power, the outcomes have less claim to be regarded as (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Save the Date: NCDD 2018 is set for Nov 2-4 in Denver!

It’s time to mark your calendars for the highly anticipated 2018 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation! We’re excited to announce that our next national conference will take place in downtown Denver this November 2-4.

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.

If you haven’t attended an NCDD conference yet, watch our highlight video by Keith Harrington of Shoestring Videos to get a sense of the energy and content of the last national conference…

We can’t wait to see you this November!  We’ll be holding the conference at the Sheraton Denver Downtown.

Keep an eye out for registration, a call for volunteers for the planning team, and of course efforts to engage the broader NCDD community around conference content and theming. The call for workshop proposals will be distributed in a couple of months, but it’s never too soon to start thinking about what you’d like to present about and who you’d like to present with. Information will be posted soon at www.ncdd.org/events.  For now, be sure to hold these dates on your calendar.

To stay up-to-date on NCDD Denver news and opportunities, be sure to subscribe to our conference updates email list!

Please share this post widely in your networks! Building on a 16-year legacy of popular, well-loved events, NCDD 2018 will be our 8th National Conference and just the latest of many events, programs and gatherings that NCDD has hosted since we formed in 2002.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Exploring Restorative Justice in Law Enforcement

In case you missed it, we wanted to lift up this exciting online course from the Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice, a program of NCDD member org, the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University. The four-session course will provide an introduction to restorative justice with an emphasis on its application in law enforcement and other community partnerships. It will be a great opportunity for those working in or with law enforcement agencies, though make sure you sign up ASAP as the course is limited to 25 participants. You can read the announcement below or find the original on the Zehr Institute’s site here.

Law Enforcement Through Restorative Justice: Peacebuilding in the Community

This four-part online course is an introduction to restorative justice with an emphasis on its applications in law enforcement and community-engaged program partnerships. Participants will explore innovative ways to incorporate restorative justice within an agency, and to collaborate with community organizations on such initiatives. Through presentations and interactive discussions, examples of implementation in police agencies throughout the United States will be showcased. Some of these will include:

  • An alternative to, or within, the criminal justice system
  • Citizen complaints
  • Internal conflict and
  • Community engagement.

Restorative justice is often referred to as “the missing piece in law enforcement”. You will learn why police chiefs around the country have been utilizing or are incorporating restorative justice as an option within their organization. From victim advocacy, to offender accountability, restorative justice provides many benefits to an entire community. For example, police departments experience a high rate of (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Two Women & a Republic Blog Officially Launches

We are excited to share that NCDD board member, Wendy Willis, recently launched a blog in collaboration with Paula Ellis called, Two Women & a Republic: Letters to Democracy between friends. The site is a correspondence between the two women, focused on exploring the heart of democracy and the ways in which we can bring about a more humane democratic experience. We encourage you to check out their weekly musings which you can find on their beautiful new website here, created by NCDD co-founder Andy Fluke. You can read the inaugural blog post below or find the original on the Two Women & a Republic site here.

In Search of a Benevolent Form or Snipping and Shaping for Democracy

From Wendy Willis…

Well, here we are! After months of planning and talking and dreaming, we have finally arrived at launch day for our new labor of love, Two Women and a Republic.

In fact, now that I look at the calendar, I realize that this is a project 53 weeks in the making. Paula and I met last January—January 18, if I am not mistaken—at the Kettering Foundation Annual Retreat. There was a huge room of some of the nations’s smartest smarties offering thoughts and provocations about the state of citizen-centered democracy. After a back and forth about what could and should be done at a really critical moment for the country (and the world), Paula raised her hand and suggested (both brilliantly and understatedly): “What if we created a Brainpickings for democracy?” Well, that was an idea I had never heard before, so at the next break, I hot-footed it right over there and said: “Let’s do it.” We’ve been writing and talking and Skyping ever since. And once in a great while, we even get to see each other in person!

One of the things we realized in these months of conversation is that there are many opportunities to talk about the mechanics of democracy—the institutions, the legal bases, the processes. And believe me, both Paula and I talk about all those things, with each other and with others. But we also share a desire to talk with somebody about the culture of democracy or about what we might dare to call the heart of democracy. We’re interested in (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Traversing Institutional Silos in Engagement

We wanted to share this article written by Matt Leighninger of NCDD member org Public Agenda, on the need for institutions to break out of their silos in order to improve public engagement. In the article, he talks about how public engagement efforts are often challenged and unnecessarily duplicated because of the common practice by institutions to perform their own engagement efforts, as opposed to working together with other groups. This article is part 5 in the series on ways that public engagement needs to improve and the links to the 4 previous installments are at the bottom of this article. You can read the article below or find the original on Public Agenda’s site here.

How Public Engagement Needs to Evolve, Part 5

How can public engagement evolve in order to meet the challenges and conditions of 2017? My previous post explored ways we can give engagement opportunities more authority, so that people are clear on how their voices will be heard and confident that it will make a difference. This time, I’ll address the need for public institutions to collaborate in their efforts to support engagement so that it becomes more efficient, systemic and sustained.

In most issue areas, engagement happens as a temporary, stand-alone activity – and even when those processes or initiatives are successful, participatory practices are rarely incorporated into the official avenues for engagement. So planners conduct participatory charrettes and then go back to contentious public hearings; police departments engage in police-community dialogue even as neighborhood watch groups flounder; school districts mobilize parents to support bond issues while PTAs languish.

Furthermore, the professionals in these different areas rarely work together when they are trying to engage the public. Even though education, health, policing, land use and other issues are inextricably intertwined, and even though a citizen who cares about one of them is quite likely to care about others, engagement rarely happens in ways that people can connect any of the dots. For each issue, there is a separate set of meetings to attend, announcements to track, processes to follow and websites to look at. In engagement, it is usually (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Unrig the System Summit in NOLA Next Week

If you’re tired of political corruption and looking to improve our democracy, then check out what’s being convened next week! If you hadn’t heard already, Debilyn Molineaux, Co-Founder and Director of the Bridge Alliance – an NCDD member org – will be speaking at the upcoming Unrig the System Summit. The summit is February 2-4 in New Orleans, and is being hosted by BA member, Represent.Us. Convening folks from across the political spectrum, this conference will be an excellent opportunity to network and collaborate on next steps to improving our democratic environment. You can read the announcement in post below or find more information on BA’s site here.

Join us at Unrig The System Summit in NOLA!

We are thrilled to announce that Debilyn Molineaux, our Co-Founder & Director, will be a speaker at the Unrig The System Summit hosted by Bridge Alliance member Represent.Us in New Orleans on February 2-4.

Convening the Brightest Minds from the Right and Left to Fix American Politics…and Party in New Orleans

Unrig The System Summit is no ordinary conference. No endless panels and speeches. It’s fast-paced and fun, with plenty of time to self-organize as you mingle with top advocacy leaders, academics, comedians, musicians, celebrities, activists, philanthropists and journalists. This is about crossing partisan and ideological divides and working together on concrete solutions to unrig America’s political system…. with plenty of New Orleans fun mixed in. The Summit (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Register for NCDD’s February Tech Tuesday with Iceland’s Citizens Foundation!

NCDD is happy to announce our February Tech Tuesday, featuring Iceland’s Citizens Foundation and their digital democracy tools. This event takes place Tuesday, February 13th from 2-3pm Eastern/11am-Noon Pacific – register today to join us!

Róbert Bjarnason, from the nonprofit Citizens Foundation in Iceland, will present digital tools for upgrading democracy in Iceland and beyond, outlining the Foundation’s digital democracy work since 2008. Projects including policy crowdsourcing and participatory budgeting using open source tools will be demonstrated in this webinar. As highlighted in the Financial Times, since 2011 the citizens of Reykjavik have voted online to select close to 1,000 community improvement projects totaling over $20 million dollars.

The Citizens Foundation open source digital democracy tools have been used in over 20 countries and by over 1 million people to change policy and help rebuild trust between citizens and their governments. Collaborating with E-Democracy.org in the United States to help others deploy and measure civic digital outreach efforts, a new case study (request a copy) comparing paid Facebook and Google advertising used to reach nearly every citizen of Iceland will be shared in brief.

Róbert is a successful entrepreneur that introduced the web to Iceland in 1993 and in 1995 to Denmark. Before co-founding the Citizens Foundation in the year 2008 he worked in the online gaming industry where his team received many industry awards.

Robert has many years experience and much success in using digital tools for democracy, and he is looking forward to sharing his knowledge and experience with us. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity – register today!

Tech 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

Healing Through Conversation and Connection

We wanted to share this piece from longtime NCDD member Parisa Parsa, Executive Director of Essential Partners, which was posted on the blog of NCDD member org, the Bridge Alliance. In the article, she speaks on the lack of connection and trust amongst people today and all-too-common feelings of isolation and avoidance despite technological advances in communication. Our ability to be in conversation with people, especially those with whom we disagree, is one of our greatest connections to our humanity; and we need to repair it in order to heal our society and ourselves. We encourage you to read the article below or find the original on BA’s site here.

Staying Connected in the Midst of Differences

In 1989, a group of therapists engaged in some commiseration at their shared Cambridge practice. They discussed a concern about what had become of sane discourse about weighty issues of policy in the United States. At that time one of the therapists, Laura Chasin was a doctoral student of government with a special interest in the philosophy of John Dewey, who in the late 1800’s expressed his profound belief in expressing how democracy and ethical ideals of humanity were synonymous.

In the office with the others, Laura shared how she was particularly distressed by the chaos and ineffectiveness of public debates about abortion. Her colleagues Corky Becker, Dick Chasin and Sallyann Roth, along with researcher and editor Maggie Herzig, puzzled at how much was lost in the public shouting matches that passed for debate. The mutual understanding, restoration of trust and sheer humanity that was the bedrock of effective family therapy were utterly absent from the publicly televised conversations about some of our most critical social and political issues. What was common however, were disjointed policies, stalemate and a devolution of the social fabric in communities around (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

MetroQuest Hosts Facing Contention Webinar, Jan. 30th

Coming up at the end of January, NCDD member org MetroQuest will be hosting the webinar, Facing Contention – How to Detox Public Engagement; co-sponsored by NCDD, IAP2, and the American Planning Association (APA).  If you are looking to improve public engagement processes around controversial projects, then make sure you register ASAP to join the webinar.  We encourage you to read the announcement from MetroQuest below or you can find the original here.

MetroQuest Webinar: Facing Contention – How to Detox Public Engagement

Are you looking for effective ways to collect meaningful and constructive public input for controversial projects?

Tuesday, January 30th
11 am Pacific | 12 pm Mountain | 1 pm Central | 2 pm Eastern (1 hour)
Educational Credit Available (CM APA AICP)
Complimentary (FREE)


Jeanette Janiczek from the City of Charlottesville with Jonathan Whitehurst and Sal Musarra from Kimley-Horn and Associates will discuss their success with an innovative approach to public involvement on the contentious Belmont Bridge Replacement project.

Numerous forces have combined recently to create an increasingly toxic and adversarial climate for public engagement. These patterns and their effects are being felt across the country and its planners and community engagement staff who increasingly find themselves (more…)