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Civically Engaged Youth in the Americas Conference Coming Up September 20

Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago is co-sponsoring the conference “Civically Engaged Youth in the Americas: A Three City Perspective – Chicago, Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro” on September 20 in Chicago. The conference is hosted by the Latin American and Latino Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago and will include presentations about youth activism by professors, youth organizers, and youth. The event stems from a comparative study undertaken by three researchers, including Chapin Hall Faculty Associate Maria de los Angeles Torres. Chapin Hall Executive Director Matthew Stagner will give the welcoming remarks and Research Fellow Robert Chaskin will offer comments on the presentations.

For more information and to register, e-mail Nawojka Lesinski at nlesin2@uic.edu by September 10. Read Torres’s related report, Youth Activists in the Age of Postmodern Globalization: Notes from an Ongoing Project. The conference website is http://www.uic.edu/las/latamst/.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

IAP2 Skills Symposium Set for November

Sheri Wantland of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) just wrote to us to let us know about IAP2’s Skill Symposium, which they are offering this year instead of a conference. This great opportunity for training and networking will be held in Scottsdale, Arizona this November 12 – 16. This training offers workshops for all experience levels taught by distinguished trainers including Larry Susskind, Peter Sandman, Michael Quinn Patton and Bill Lennertz.

Training topics include: Facilitation skills, Public participation process design, Evaluation, Decision-maker engagement, Risk communication and outrage management, Consensus building in the public arena, Advisory committees, Charrette planning,
Calming controversy, Internet P2 tools, Managing polarities in strategic collaboration, Community capacity building, IAP2 Certificate Program (planning, communications and techniques), Managing public consultations in government, Public comment compilation, Quality decision making, P2 research, Appreciative inquiry and more. Visit www.iap2.org today for all the details.

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Transforming Local Government Conference Calls for Proposals

The Alliance for Innovation is accepting applications from local governments that are interested in presenting during the 14th Annual Transforming Local Government (TLG) conference, June 4-6, 2008 in Greenville, SC. The theme for the 2008 conference is Creating Sustainable Futures: Global Issues/Local Solutions. Given that sustainability is the issue of the 21st century, the conference asks, how do we shape our organizations and communities and businesses so that we do not borrow from the future and our children but create a future that is fully better than our world today? NCDD member Carolyn Caywood assures us that the Alliance for Innovation takes deliberation on public policy seriously as one of the key elements of local governance.

Presenters are invited to submit a successful program, project, or initiative for one of the categories listed below. Contact Toni Shope, East Regional Director, 800.777.2509, tshope@transformgov.org with questions. The application deadline is August 31, 2007. (more…)

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Fulbright Scholar Awards Still Available for Korea and Elsewhere

Fulbright still has openings for Scholar Awards in the field of Peace Studies. Visit their website at www.cies.org for descriptions of available awards and new eligibility requirements. Awards are closing daily, so please consult the relevant program officer before applying. Here are two different programs that are available.

In particular, the U.S. Scholar Program in Korea is still looking for scholars. Associate and Full, tenured professors in the field of Peace Studies are sought for a lecturing award for the AY 08-09. You’ll be based at the Graduate Institute of Peace Studies at Kyung Hee University. Specializations that are of particular interest to the Graduate Institute are: UN and global peace, global governance, international security policies, U.S. politics, conflict resolution, and diplomacy/negotiation, amongst other related subjects. The August 1st deadline has passed but they are accepting late applications if the potential applicants’ expertise fills the program needs. (more…)

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Consensus Statement and Survey for Wise Democracy Victoria Now Online

As some of you may know, Wisdom Councils create consensus statements which are presented to the public or an institution in a public meeting. The goal of the public meeting is to start a discussion that engages the broader community. In order to gauge the public’s level of agreement with the Wisdom Council’s statements, an online Opinionnaire® (a tool being demonstrated by the Forum Foundation) is being used to reveal degrees of consensus for those who participate. We at NCDD are posting the contents of the survey as a great example of two dialogue and deliberation organizations combining their assets to help promote, evaluate, and further a D&D program. The statements in this survey were formulated by local residents who agreed to meet as a Wisdom Council for Victoria on June 22-23, 2007. For the full text of this statement and questionnaire visit NCDD’s Learning Exchange: www.thataway.org/exchange/resources.php?action=view&rid=2845.

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Sandy and the Traubmans Interviewed for NYC Radio Show

On Wednesday morning, I was interviewed by Dena Kolbert for her live program “City Watch” on WBAI Radio – a listener supported, non-commercial radio station for New York City’s Peace and Justice Community. I had the opportunity to talk about dialogue and deliberation (what they are, how they relate to each other) and to introduce the four streams of D&D practice (exploration, conflict transformation, decision-making and collaborative action).

Dena had attended a workshop I gave on “deciding when to use which D&D methods” at the Network for Peace Through Dialogue conference in New York City in June, and thought her listeners could benefit from hearing from me. It was a quick 20-minute segment, but I had the chance to go into a bit of detail about the Conversation Cafe method (which I consider dialogue simplified to its essence) and about AmericaSpeaks’ huge 2002 program Listening to the City.

My friends Len and Libby Traubman (convenors of the long-running Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue group in San Mateo, California) were interviewed after me. Their segment includes audio from the film Peacemakers: Palestinians and Jews Together at Camp.

If you’d like to listen to the program, go to http://archive.wbai.org/ and look for the City Watch program on Wednesday, August 15 at 10:00 am.

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King County, WA to Vote on Pioneering Citizen Councilor Network

King County, Washington will be voting on a groundbreaking initiative in November 2007. Initiative 24 creates a Citizen Councilor Network open to every citizen in the county. It establishes a feedback communication system owned by the people where small groups in homes or workplaces can share opinions on public issues with results posted on a Forum Foundation website for reflection by officials, government staff, news media, and citizens. The program is self-funded (no taxes) and administered by the County Auditor. If passed, King County will be the first government in the world to use the Forum Foundation’s new Algorithmic Resonance Social Technology. To learn more, visit Sandy’s summary in NCDD’s Learning Exchange here. Or visit this initiative’s website at http://EasyCitizenInvolvement.com.

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SFU Gearing Up for Dialogue Semester on Environmental Impact

This fall, Simon Fraser University’s Undergraduate Semester in Dialogue is organized around the theme of “Adaptations to Human Environmental Impact.” This dialogue program focuses on how human beings adapt to the profound impact we are having on our planet. Environmental disruption threatens overwhelming consequences for our social and economic systems, but too often we are overwhelmed by the problems and lose sight of viable solutions. Citizens require thoughtful, confident planning and analysis to enable effective adaptation to these challenges. The Semester in Dialogue will address three major and connected themes: Climate Change, Energy, and Biodiversity, probing local to global solutions involving policy, enterprise, innovation, and life styles. For more information on the course and registration, visit www.sfu.ca/dialogue/undergrad/index.htm.

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One Facilitator's Take on CaliforniaSpeaks

Elliot Shuford of Healthy Democracy Oregon sent us this great announcement/review of CaliforniaSpeaks today. Last Saturday, AmericaSpeaks ran a huge forum engaging thousands of Californians on the health reform debate. Video links connected participants in a dozen counties. Here’s Elliot’s blog submission…

“On Saturday, I attended an interesting exercise in deliberative democracy. CaliforniaSpeaks drew nearly 3,500 people throughout the state to talk about health care. Eight sites were linked via satellite including Sacramento, San Diego, Eureka , Fresno, Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Oakland-San Francisco and Riverside-San Bernardino. The event was organized by AmericaSpeaks and backed by The California Wellness Foundation, Blue Shield of California Foundation and The California Endowment.

The goal of the event was not a “blue sky” discussion about health care, rather a focused push, to create momentum for legislative action on health care proposals that the California Speaks staff stated were the most politically feasible (AB 8 and the Governor’s plan).

CaliforniaSpeaks operated at several levels, from the mirco-level (individual small groups) to the macro-level (multiple, linked sites creating a statewide conversation). Participants sat at small tables in groups of 8-10. Each table had a facilitator and a laptop computer, and each person had their own keypad for entering personal information. Important points and ‘themes” from the conversations were typed into the laptops by a volunteer participant. That information was then sent through a network to be summarized by the “theme team” and quickly projected onto a big screen at each site. At certain points throughout the day, participants used personal keypads to enter information and vote or rank preferences on policy options.

At the micro-level, a few observers at the Los Angeles site noted the facilitation at their tables didn’t support “real dialogue” and that the format of the day didn’t force participants into considering the difficult trade offs for the policy options under consideration. Deliberation, therefore, wasn’t really happening either, they said. On the other hand, when, at the end of the day, participants were asked about whether they were satisfied and felt heard, the data clearly showed they did.


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Charrette Practitioners Invited to Israel

Most practitioners who are experienced in the charrette process will have heard this news from the National Charrette Institute, but it’s interesting news for the field and I thought I’d share it.

Today’s e-newsletter from the National Charrette Institute included an invitation for experienced charrette practitioners to participate in the Kiryat-Shmona, Israel charrette this December (the 2nd through 6th). This is the first full 5-day charrette in Israel, and experienced practitioners are needed to give the Israeli participants, both professionals and the public, confidence in the charrette process. This charrette is sponsored by the Movement for Israeli Urbanism.

Charrettes, in case you aren’t familiar with them, are used to involve citizens in community planning efforts. They are multi-day intensive planning workshops that include all stakeholders in a community and result in a plan that can be implemented and built. If you’re interested in getting trained to run charrettes, we’ve negotiated some great discounts with NCI for paid NCDD members.

For more info on this opportunity, contact irit@miu.org.il or email NCI at info@charretteinstitute.org.