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AmericaSpeaks Seeks a "Director of Citizen Engagement"

Steve Brigham of AmericaSpeaks just dropped me an email asking that we pass the following job announcement on to our members and friends…

AmericaSpeaks is a world leader in the field of citizen engagement and public deliberation. The organization is currently recruiting for a Director of Citizen Engagement who will play a critical leadership role for the organization and in its major citizen engagement initiatives. The Director will be responsible for representing AmericaSpeaks with its clients and directing large project teams to develop, plan and carry out initiatives to engage the public in the policy making process. The Director will also attract new projects and design new citizen engagement initiatives for the organization, while exhibiting leadership in the field of democracy reform and public deliberation through public speaking, networking, writing, presentations, and other efforts.

AmericaSpeaks is also looking for an Online Communications Director to lead and manage its online and mobile communications efforts. You can find the full job descriptions for both positions at www.americaspeaks.org/jobs.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Write-Up from Patricia Wilson on the American Citizens Summit

UT professor and NCDD member Patricia Wilson sent me a brief write-up on the Transpartisan Alliance’s American Citizens Summit.  NCDD was one of the official co-sponsors of the Summit, but I wasn’t able to make it to the event.  If you were there, feel free to send us your take on the Summit as well for the blog! (email it to sandy@thataway.org)

As a reminder, the American Citizens’ Summit, which took place February 11-15 in Denver, was a unique “town hall meeting” aimed at bringing together a mix of voices from all political parties and social movements to focus on three key questions:  (1) What is Transpartisanship? (2) What are the issues that unite and divide us? and (3) What are the strategies to confront these issues?

Thanks, Patricia, for sharing these tidbits with us!

– Sandy

From Patricia Wilson…

Gosh, the American Citizens’ Summit was intense.  I hadn’t been in dialogue with Libertarians, 9/11 conspiracy theorists, etc, etc, like I was during those four days. It was small – 82 people – and  over half were liberals. Only 6% Republicans. Lots of open space style break-outs. Interactive plenaries, lots of relationship-building methods. Creative use of key pads in plenaries to identify minority issues, build consensus, prioritize, evaluate, etc. Much of that is up on the website (www.transpartisan.net). Upshot was building a base, small as it was, for a transpartisan movement and  building consensus around transpartisan values (dialogue across difference, transparency in governance, etc).

Interesting tidbits:

– Joseph McCormick (the main organizer, a former Republican congressman) said that many of his conservative colleagues had turned against him for ‘consorting with evil’ (i.e. liberals), as one of them had said, and refused to come to the event.

– And one Green Party member said he had been facing much resistance to introducing non-violent communication and dialogue skills into his party to reduce the fractious debates, and came to this event as an individual because his party wouldn’t endorse the event.

The most touching thing:
– One of the conspiracy theorists said at the end that she recognized through the keypad voting that she was one of the last two people to keep staunchly prioritizing her one issue, that others had let go and begun to think about the needs and concerns of the whole. She realized that not everyone wanted to talk about the shadow side of things all the time. So she decided it was time for her to soften as well, and she vowed to use some of the interactive communication skills she had learned during the event.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Janette Hartz-Karp looking for info on youth engagement in climate change

NCDD member Janette Hartz-Karp asked me to share this with the network…

I’ve been asked to write a chapter for the UN World Youth Report 2009 on youth engagement with climate change. It needs to be completed in a month so I’m trying to get any help I can.

The chapter is to include a) Positioning youth for adaptation and mitigation – the role of civil society (identifying best practices in youth participation in activities to address climate change, and examining the potential contribution of youth-led organizations to advancing action on climate change). And b) Moving Forward – placing youth at the centre of the response to climate change (A policy section which will highlight the key messages and address the question: – “Who does what?”)

In addition, I was asked to add any specific ideas/information relating to policies on youth and climate change, particularly in the context of developing countries.

Susanna Haas Lyons from AmericaSpeaks has pointed out some US web sites:

  • www.focusthenation.org
  • www.powershift09.org/
  • http://ktchyouthnetwork.wordpress.com/
  • www.350.org/

If you have any additional information on ‘best practice’ youth engagement initiatives on climate change and/or policies you know about/suggest, particularly in developing countries, but also world-wide, please let me know ASAP.

Janette Hartz-Karp
Professor at Australia’s Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute and Director of 21st Century Dialogue



Summary of Listening Session with Obama’s Open Government Initiative

I was invited by Beth Noveck, the director of Obama’s open government initiative, to attend a meeting last Wednesday (March 11) at the White House Conference Center.  The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy was the official convener of this “informal listening session on the implementation of the President’s Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government.”  According to the email inviting me to attend, the session would focus “on the process of crafting the recommendations called for in the Memorandum.   Specifically, we invite you to talk about how your organizations can contribute to fostering civic engagement in connection with crafting the recommendations and to supporting the goals of transparency, participation, and collaboration.”

There were only about 12 organizations represented at this meeting, so it was quite the honor to be there.  Demos, the Personal Democracy Forum, the Cato Institute, AmericaSpeaks, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, IAP2, the Partnership for Public Service, Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE), the National Civic League, the League of Women Voters and the National Academy of Public Administration all had representatives there. (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

New ILG Publication on Civic Participation in California

I organized an NCDD networking dinner in San Francisco earlier this month, and one of the attendees, Terry Amsler (Director of the League of California Cities’ Institute for Local Governance) gave me a copy of a wonderful new publication called “Civic Participation in California: How Local Agencies are Involving the Public, Building Trust and Making Better Decisions.”

It’s a compendium of articles originally published last year as a series in Western City, the monthly magazine of the League of California Cities. The League is an association of California’s city officials who work together to enhance their knowledge and skills, exchange information and combine resources so they may positively influence policy decisions that affect cities.

The staff of Terry’s Collaborative Governance Initiative coordinated the Civic Participation series, contributing articles and working with local officials and experts to develop content. The series is designed to provide information, stimulate discussion and build on existing efforts to connect with residents and increase public trust in local government.

Download the full PDF document at www.pddesign.com/clients/LCC/LCC_Final.pdf, or visit the Institute for Local Government website.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

New Zealand Gov't Seeks YOUR Feedback

Crispin Butteriss posted this to NCDD’s FaceBook group a couple of weeks ago:

The New Zealand government (Office for the Community & Voluntary Sector) is looking for feedback from community engagement professionals on the its discussion paper, “It’s More than Talk.” An online forum can be found at www.bangthetable.com/BBGE.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Sign the "Forward Together Declaration"

The Listening Post Project at Johns Hopkins University is organizing the Forward Together Declaration: Empowering America’s Citizen Sector for the Change We Need.

The declaration reads, “As concerned leaders in the nonprofit, or citizen, sector, we have come together in this time of national crisis to renew our commitment to serve as partners in public service in addressing the challenges our nation faces. We invite our colleagues in the nonprofit sector, in organized philanthropy, in government, in the business world, and in academia, to join us in this effort so that together we can use the present crisis as an occasion to rededicate our nation to the principles of joint responsibility and concerted action that have long been the source of our strength.”

Read the full declaration at www.jhu.edu/listeningpost/forward/, sign it if you agree with it, and pass it along to your networks and colleagues.


Pre-Conference Training Proposals Due for 2009 IAP2 Conference

IAP2 logoProposals for pre-conference trainings are due TOMORROW (Friday, February 27th) by noon GMT for the 17th Annual IAP2 conference in San Diego, California this September 21st through 23rd. Facilitators of pre-conference trainings set their own participant fees for their trainings.

The theme for this year’s International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) conference is Making Sustainable Decisions: The Price and Promise of Public Participation. As a Conference Partner, NCDD is playing a major role in the San Diego conference and we hope to have a large NCDD contingent there. NCDD members will pay a discounted registration fee for the conference, and we will hold at least one NCDD gathering and/or workshop at the event.

IAP2 wants to expand the definition of sustainability to encompass all the characteristics that make decision-making processes and the resulting decisions sustainable. Specifically, we are looking for presentations focused around the following themes:

  1. Sustainable decision-making processes: what characteristics are necessary for a public participation process to be sustainable?
  2. Sustainable decisions: In what ways does public participation lead to decisions that are more workable and enduring than those made without public participation?
  3. Sustainable outcomes: How do public participation processes and better decisions specifically contribute to the sustainability of projects and programs?

We believe now is the time to embed in decision-making sustainable processes that will lead to sustainable outcomes. We look forward to seeing you in San Diego to explore and advance our understanding of how to make better, stronger, durable decisions that improve our quality of life and leave a better world in place for future generations.

Visit www.thataway.org/?page_id=1419 or iap2.org for more details about the event.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Call for proposals for this year’s Engaging The Other conference

Engaging the Other bannerThe 4th Annual International Conference on “Engaging The Other:” The Power of Compassion is taking place November 13-15 in San Mateo, California (outside San Francisco), and we encourage all NCDDers interested in conflict resolution and intergroup relations to attend! NCDD is co-sponsoring this event with the Common Bond Institute and the International Humanistic Psychology Association, and registration will be discounted for NCDD members ($290 rather than $350 for the early rate).

Engaging The Other (ETO) is an innovative interdisciplinary conference examining concepts of “The Other” from a universal, cross-cultural perspective to promote wider public dialogue about concepts of “Us and Them.”

Now is the time to submit your proposal for a concurrent session (workshop), and/or to sign up as a dialogue group facilitator. (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Save the Date: Deliberative Democracy in Higher Ed Conference this July

Co-hosted by NCDD members The Democracy Imperative and the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, an event called “No Better Time: Promising Opportunities in Deliberative Democracy for Educators and Practitioners” will take place this July 8-11 at the University of New Hampshire (Durham, NH).

Details have not been officially released, but I wanted you to think about saving these dates. The conference will be centered around “Learning Exchanges” – thoughtful discussions about key challenges in deliberative democracy hosted by leading scholars and practitioners. It looks like I’ll be co-hosting a Learning Exchange with Martin Carcasson and Jim Fishkin on choosing, mixing, and adapting deliberation models and methods. (more…)