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Sandy & Andy’s visit with Marv & Sandra

Marv Weisbord and Sandra JanoffOn May 20th, Andy and I drove over to Philadelphia to meet with Marv Weisbord and Sandra Janoff – co-founders of the Future Search Network and co-creators of the future search method. For those of you not familiar with it, future search is a great planning method that allows people to discover a set of shared values or themes (common ground) and build new dynamics such as inclusion and collaboration into their organization or community.

Future search is not trademarked and is not owned by anyone (I can’t tell you how much I respect that!) and all are encouraged to use the process and experiment with it. It is an open system process, which means it considers anyone a necessary participant who can affect, is affected by or has important information or experience related to the task at hand.

We had a great visit with Marv and Sandra (pictured), who are super-nice, intelligent, thoughtful people. We visited at Marv’s beautiful house and then had lunch nearby at an Indian restaurant. We learned about the origins of future search and the underlying philosophy of the process.

I left our meeting with a lot more respect for the future search process, and I recommend that everyone involved in change management become familiar with the process. If you want to learn more about future search, here are some things you can do…

From the CommunityFrom the Community

NCDDer’s Dialogue Project Featured on Front Page of NY Times!

Photo of Judith MowryAn article about NCDD member Judith Mowry‘s Restorative Listening Project was featured on the front page of Friday’s New York Times. The article by William Yardley, entitled Racial Shift in a Progressive City Spurs Talks, covers how Judith’s Portland, Oregon dialogue project has opened people’s eyes to the pain and hardship caused by the city’s rampant gentrification. Her Restorative Listening Project uses uses dialogue, storytelling and restorative justice to engage the city in race dialogue.

We’ve already posted about the great multimedia coverage Judith got on the Oregonian website. I was impressed with that, but now I’m just floored! Congratulations, Judith!! (Click “more” to see the full article.) (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Networking Topics for Opening Session

Table topics during our Opening Session at NCDD Austin will allow you to meet others who share your interests and affinities right off the bat. We’ve been asking conference participants to submit “networking topics” if they are passionate about a topic, process, venue, etc. and they’d like to meet others who feel the same.

Below are the topics we’re going forward with so far (and the people who submitted them and will be hosting the tables) and some more details about what we’ll be doing and why. Send a quick email to NCDD Director Sandy Heierbacher at sandy@thataway.org if you’d like to host a table on a particular topic!

You’re coming to the conference, in large part, to meet people who share your interests. At NCDD conferences, people tend to leave knowing that they’ve built a slew of new supportive, collaborative relationships.

To help this along at NCDD Austin, we’re holding a structured networking session during the very first plenary session of the conference. This networking session will allow participants, at the start of the conference, to meet people with similar interests as them. Maybe you’re passionate about a particular issue, like climate change, racism or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Perhaps you focus on a specific area of D&D work like restorative justice or deliberative democracy. Maybe you’d like to meet other researchers who are at the conference, other college students, others from outside the U.S., or others who teach at universities? This networking session will give you the chance to meet people during the opening session who you can connect with again and again over the next few days.

All conference participants are invited to suggest topics — especially if you are willing to serve as the “table host” for that topic and move the conversation forward with some light facilitation. The point of this session is networking – meeting and starting to get to know others who share your interests, so hosts will ensure people have the chance to introduce themselves and share how their work relates to the topic.

There won’t be time for in-depth conversations about the topic; this is about meeting people you can connect with again later on.  So focus broadly, like the topics suggested above (”using D&D to address climate change” rather than “using D&D to encourage high school students to recycle”).

Here are the topics we’ve got so far…

Rooting D&D in Government Structures

Submitted by: John Spady (willing to host)

Dialogue across the Partisan Divide

Table host: Jacob Hess

Encouraging Dialogue in Higher Ed

Encouraging the values and processes of dialogue within the academy, including pedagogy, student life, administrative and faculty culture — it’s challenges and its possibilities. (We are have been doing this at Clark University over the last three years, initially with support from the Ford Foundation’s Difficult Dialogues initiative.)

Table host: Sarah Buie

Bridging the Sacred/Secular Divide

Many social change efforts could benefit from alliances between secular and faith-based networks. Effective alliances are often prevented or hampered by lack of contact or mutual stereotyping. In some secular contexts people “of faith” have felt have felt marginalized and “trashed”. The converse is also true. In some religious contexts, people who have a secular world view have felt silenced and dismissed.

I am interested to brainstorm with people who have participated in efforts to bridge this difference as well as people who would like to convene such conversations in the future.

Table host: Laura Chasin

Dialogue on Structural Racism

I work with a number of community based programs in Baltimore and we struggle with the structural racism that exists in education, foundation giving, prison system, etc. and how it plays out as we work together in unity for change. We continue to strive to dialogue about racial disparities in these systems while promoting change. I would like to meet others who work in the community who face these issues and want to find tools and opportunities to having honest, truthful dialogue about race and class.

Table host: Polly Riddims

D&D on Environmental / Land Use Issues

Table host: Steve Zikman

Public Health

I am consulting with some senior leaders in the field of public health. It is my hope that I can connect with others who are also focused in this area.

 Table host: Robert Corman

Using the Arts in Dialogue

As a graphic recorder/facilitator I’m always asking myself how I can most effectively use visuals to assist & enhance the dialogue process. And my interest goes beyond the visual arts – I also see the value and impact of theatre, song, movement, poetry and so on. Would love to connect with others who are also exploring the role of the arts in dialogue, to swap stories, questions, ideas, and maybe try out some stuff together!

Table host: Avril Orloff

Building State Networks to Support Deliberation

We have a statewide network in Oklahoma that we are trying to expand and we’d like to brainstorm with others to find out what they have tried in their states.  We are also thinking of creating a business plan for our state network and would like to discuss this with others as well to see if they have tried something similar.

Table host: Kimberly Williams and Renee Daugherty

Online Facilitation / Deliberation Tools

Table host: Tom Murray

Applying Adult Developmental Psychology to D&D

Table host: Jan Inglis

Critical Social Theory and Dialogue

You love to read Foucault, Habermas, Kristeva, Butler, Adorno, Gadamer, Deleuze & Guattari … but don’t have anybody to talk to about their work? Here’s the chance. Basically, we’re interested in exploring how critical theory can inform dialogue practice more fully.

Table host: Tod Sloan

Gender / Gender Identity and Dialogue

This topic refers to the complexity and tension around roles and power sharing in business and personal life and the leadership demands for a sustainable planet in the 21st century. This topic potentially runs the gamut of processes for gender reconciliation (most commonly related to instances/places of extreme women’s oppression) to processes that address the “undiscussibles” of mate selection and expectations in romantic/sexual relationships.

Table host: Steven Fearing

Conversation Cafes

Table host: Tobin Quereau

Online Dialogue

Table host: Ken Bausch

Embodied Dialogue and Aikido

Embodied dialogue is a term I am experimenting with, and refers (in my thinking, at this time) to the integration of the basic princples and practices of Aikido into deep listening and clear speaking. I have been training in Aikido for six years.

Table host: Laurie McCann

Social Media and D&D

What are all these people talking about online? How are people engaged in dialog and deliberation using social media? What are the big trends?

Table host: Chris Heuer

Intergenerational Dialogue at Work

We have seen the Art of Dialogue used effectively within a social justice context, and we believe we are missing an enormous opportunity to change the quality of people’s lives where they spend most of their time – at work. Whether a for profit coporation, non profit or government organization, dialogue offers employers and employees the chance to create and sustain positive work relationships. Baby Boomers, Generations “X,”, “Y,” and upcoming “Z” need to work together effectively in teams and in one-on-one relationships. We are interested in gathering a table from different generations to explore this exciting topic.

Table co-hosts: Paul Weismn and Michele Simos-Weisman

Assessing the Impact of Race Dialogues

I would like to host a table to bring together others interested in doing research to show the impact on a community of dialogue about race relations.  The opportunities for funding such dialogues are great, but we need to show that we are making an impact.  I am not a researcher, but would love to hear from those who have the research knowledge and skills how they have approached this problem.

Table host:  Kathryn Liss

Capturing Knowledge

Table host:  Kevin Leahy

Int’l Association of Facilitators Members

Table host:  Linda Mather

Interfaith Dialogue with Traditionalists

Table host:  Imam Abubakar Abdul

DIY D&D for the Masses

There simply aren’t enough practitioners nor large enough budgets to create initiatives to help citizens and communities address all of the issues they face. How can we scale the role of D&D in society by putting tools and best practices directly in the hands of citizen stakeholders.

Table host: Brian Sullivan

Building Community by Networking Neighbors

Table host: Cheryl Honey

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Sustained Dialogue Campus Network Seeks Executive Director

The Sustained Dialogue Campus Network (sdcampusnetwork.org), a project of the International Institute for Sustained Dialogue (sustaineddialogue.org), is currently looking for an Executive Director…

Colleges and universities increasingly pledge an institutional commitment to diversity; yet, relations among diverse student communities are often dominated by racial and cultural tensions. Young people across the country frustrated with campus tensions have been drawn to a process called Sustained Dialogue (SD), first used to improve campus climate at Princeton University in 1999. Formed in 2003, the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network (SDCN) trains, mentors, and connects students seeking to build more cohesive, diverse, engaged campus communities through dialogue. A project of the International Institute for Sustained Dialogue, SDCN seeks a passionate self-starter to serve as Executive Director and to lead its expansion nationally while building a strong and sustainable organization.

For more information please visit the SDNC Job Openings page on the SDCN website.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Co-Creating What’s Next

Mitch Saunders, a past presenter at our conferences, is presenting a new Learning Lab with Craig Fleck entitled Co-Creating What’s Next at the University of California at Berkeley on July 16-18, 2008 along with guests Rod Bacon and Mathew Frazer, CEO’s from Silicon Valley. At the workshop, you will experience new perspectives on previously hidden forces acting on individuals and the organizations in which they work, engage at a deeper level and learn repeatable ways to influence personal and organizational change. Join fellow leaders and practitioners exploring how the principles of living systems and dynamic, co-creative practices are used for sensing and influencing the development of people, innovations, and organizations. While working on real issues, you will learn principles, practices, and practical tools for discovering and influencing what’s emerging and needed next. Learn more at www.actionlearninglabs.com or register at www.actionlearninglabs.com/about/programs/.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Connecting with Canadians Policy Research and Dialogue Program

from the Canadian Policy Research Networks (cprn.org) press release…

Connecting with Canadians, a new five-year public policy research and dialogue program that will engage Canadians to address key issues such as citizenship, diversity and skills barriers, has been launched by Canadian Policy Research Networks. A unique feature of Connecting with Canadians is its commitment to greater engagement of young Canadians in policy issues, says Manson Singer. Young people will participate in the research and dialogue. “We want to leave our young leaders with a legacy of skills and interest in Canada’s public affairs.”

Connecting with Canadians draws on a framework of expectations and obligations: what Canadians say they expect from government, business and community organizations and what they believe, as citizens, we should give back to society. Together, this set of expectations and obligations represents a vision of the Canada that Canadians want. CPRN identified from its deliberative dialogues and research five challenges to address in public policy research that are critical to achieving this vision: citizenship; diversity; productivity and skills; health and our aging population; and the environment. Connecting with Canadians will address these challenges to find innovative policy ideas to move Canada forward.

The policy challenges were discussed with leaders from across Canada and reviewed at CPRN’s Leadership Summit 2008 in Ottawa in February. Summit participants, community, business, government and young leaders confirmed their importance and identified key barriers and opportunities to address them.

You can read Connecting with Canadians, Shaping Our Future on the CPRN website, where you can also find more information about the Connecting with Canadians research and dialogue program.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

More on Mobilize.org's Democracy 2.0 Entrepreneur Grant Summit


from the latest Mobilize.org press release on the event…

Mobilize.org has announced the application launch for its Democracy 2.0 Entrepreneur Grant Summit, Money in Politics, to be held July 18-21, 2008, in Denver, Colorado. In partnership with The Sunlight Foundation and Common Cause, Mobilize.org is seeking innovative projects focused towards clean election practices at the local, state, and national level.

Mobilize.org is focusing efforts on empowering members of the Millennial Generation to develop innovative clean elections practices, emphasizing the creation of public finance reforms at the local and state level. These types of reforms are intended to give voters more control over the government by making politicians accountable to voters rather than wealthy campaign contributors. Their Money in Politics Grant Summit presents members of the Millennial Generation with the opportunity to identify a need for clean elections practices, and through the use of interactive key pad voting technology and peer to peer dialogue, develop an idea or solution that would address that need, and present a proposal for funding at the summit in Denver in July 2008.

Their grant summit winners will each receive a grant, between $3,000 and $5,000 and more importantly, will receive the support of Mobilize.org and its extensive partner network to champion their proposal and create systemic and long lasting change in the way elections are run.

Please see the Democracy 2.0 Issues Brief “Money in Politics” and the Grant Summit Rules and Application form (deadline is June 15th) for more information (both pdf files).

You’ll find all relevant information related to the Summit on the Mobilize.org website.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Designing Peacebuilding Programmes

The International Peace and Development Training Center (www.patrir.ro), working in cooperation with the Department of Peace Operations (DPO) and PATRIR, has announced that their Designing Peacebuilding Programmes (DPP), a five day international training program for practitioners, policy makers, international and national agency staff and NGOs working in peacebuilding, gender, development, conflict transformation, violence prevention and post-war recovery, will be held September 22 – 26, 2008 in Cluj – Napoca, Romania. A complete and detailed guide in PDF format is available and more information can be found on their website.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Zen and the Art of Conflict

We just received a press release for an interesting course offered by Brooklyn Nonviolent Communication (brooklynnvc.org) that I’d like to share (full press release after the break)…

Shifting Conflict to Compassion

Mindful Communication: Zen and the Art of Conflict
A Course in Compassionate Nonviolent Communication (NVC)

Beginning June 1st at the Breathing Project in Manhattan

Who doesn’t encounter conflict at some point? While most of us have found ways to “deal” with conflict, it is truly an art to find the opportunities for connection and compassion hidden within conflict. By learning to listen to our own needs and the core concerns of others we can come up with solutions and strategies that foster a mutual sense of understanding.

This is the focus of an upcoming course, “Zen and the Art of Conflict,” offered by Brooklyn Nonviolent Communication on 3 Sundays beginning June 1st at the Breathing Project in Manhattan.