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From the CommunityFrom the Community

Taos Institute Publishes Two New Books on Appreciative Inquiry

Taos Institute (www.taosinstitute.net), a longtime supporter of Appreciative Inquiry techniques, has announced the publication of two new books that will be of interest to Happenings readers. Experiential Learning Exercises In Social Construction: A Field Book for Creating Change (2004) presents exercises that have been organized into Learning Labs that will invite innovative thinking and practice with those familiar with social construction theory as well as those who are newcomers to constructionist thinking. In Appreciative Sharing of Knowledge: Leveraging Knowledge Management for Strategic Change (2005) Tojo Thatchenkery describes a brand new methodology for change management called Appreciate Sharing of Knowledge [ASK] and provides a step-by-step tool kit for anyone interested in knowledge management. For more information on the books, or to place an order, visit www.taosinstitute.net/publishing/publishing

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Choices Program Offers Discussion Materials on North Korea

Discussion materials about North Korea and Nuclear Weapons-Policy Options are now available online from the Choices Program. The downloadable materials include background reading and four policy options to consider. Each of the four policy options includes: an overview of the option, goals, U.S. policies, underlying beliefs, and criticisms. Go to www.choices.edu/twtn.cfm?id=40 to learn more.

The Choices for the 21st Century program is a project of the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University. A listing of other topics for discussion available from the Choices Program can be found at www.choices.edu/curriculum_twtn.cfm.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Research Project to Model Citizen-to-Citizen Deliberation and Use and Impact of Online Tools

I learned about this interesting initiative on the NIFI (Nat’l Issues Forums Institute) website. Andrea Kavanaugh from the Center for Human Computer Interaction at Virginia Tech announced a new research project (September
2004-2007) supported by a grant from the NSF Digital Government program to the Center for Human Computer Interaction at Virginia Tech. The purpose of the research is to model citizen-to-citizen deliberation at the local level and the related use and impact of online tools. They are also investigating the role of information and communication technology in incorporating deliberation into local government decision making. Where necessary and appropriate, they are designing and prototyping innovations to software. Learn more on the project’s website.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

League of Women Voters Launches a Public Dialogue About Civil Liberties

The League of Women Voters Education Fund (LWVEF) recently launched “Local Voices: Citizen Conversations on Civil Liberties and Secure Communities,” an eight-month initiative that will foster public dialogue about the balance between civil liberties and homeland security. The League will develop materials, train local facilitators, and encourage citizen participation in large League-led conversations about this topic. Click below for the full press release for this exciting project.
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From the CommunityFrom the Community

Report on Engaging Armed Groups in Peace Processes Available Online

Conciliation Resources’ Accord (www.c-r.org/accord) programme has just published a report
of the 2004 joint analysis workshop: Engaging Armed Groups in Peace Processes. The report presents some of the challenges presented by engaging armed groups, and a series of recommendations for future work,
including the need to: better understand armed groups and how they make choices; improve how we articulate the case for engagement; consider engagement within the wider context of peace and conflict; counter the state-actor bias of the international system in peace processes; and improve the track one / track two relationship in the process of engaging armed groups.
The full text is available free online at www.c-r.org/accord/ansa/index.shtml or can be ordered in print online.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Purple America Poster & Products

I just stumbled upon something online that I fear everyone else may already have seen, but it struck me as such an important image that I had to post something about it. Professor Robert Venderbei at Princeton created a map of the U.S. depicting the 2004 presidential election results in shades of red and blue – not by state – but by county. And the result is a strikingly purple map.

This is a red/blue map that is not so black and white (aren’t I clever?) – and a more realistic, truthful image for people to see during these polarizing times. You can buy all kinds of products with the purple map on it (I like the tote bag and the Ringer T-shirts), which I think is a good thing. The more people who can replace the red/blue state map in their mind with this purple map, the better. You can view the map at www.princeton.edu/~rvdb/JAVA/election2004/.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

OpEd by John Gastil and Ned Crosby Shares Lessons from Canada's Citizens' Assembly

NCDD Steering Committee member Tom Atlee sent an email to his popular e-mailing list today that I wanted to share with all of you. Tom forwarded an op-ed written by John Gastil and Ned Crosby about the remarkable Citizens’ Assembly that has been breaking ground in British Columbia, Canada.

Tom considers the Citizens’ Assembly to be the most empowered version of citizen deliberative councils that he has seen anywhere in the world so far, and he hopes it is only the first of many such innovations.

Tom points out that the short article below, which is targetted at residents of Washington State in the US, is a model for similar op-ed pieces that could be written for virtually any state in the US — or for provinces, districts and nations around the world. Click below for the article.
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From the CommunityFrom the Community

AmericaSpeaks Releases Blueprint for Engaging the Public in National Policy-Making

AmericaSpeaks recently released Millions of Voices: A Blueprint for Engaging the American Public in National Policy-Making, a detailed report outlining a comprehensive strategy to engage millions of Americans in solving the nation’s most critical problems.

The report reflects the collaborative thinking of 12 leaders in the citizen engagement field, convened by AmericaSpeaks over nine months. Millions of Voices is based on the premise that if we are to reinvigorate American democratic institutions, new structures and processes are needed to engage citizens in the nation’s policy-making process. The report offers a plan for National Discussions that will engage at least one million Americans in substantive deliberations about public issues designed to inform and influence decision-making in Washington.

The report recommends National Discussions be convened regularly to address the most pressing national issues facing the country such as health care, foreign policy, and the economy. Development and production of the report were funded by The Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Click here for a free PDF version of this excellent report.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

IAF to Publish Book Next Month on Best Practices in Facilitation

Next month, the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) will be publishing an exciting (to us, anyway!) book edited by Sandy Schuman titled “The IAF Handbook of Group Facilitation: Best Practices from the Leading Organization in Facilitation.” Published by Jossey-Bass, the 720-page book will be available in February for $75 for non-members of IAF and $52.50 for IAF members. This will be quite the resource!

The book covers a range of viewpoints on methods and techniques, issues, competencies, and resources. It includes a CD featuring the complete collection of articles published in the first five issues of Group Facilitation: A Research and Applications Journal. This collection will serve as an introduction to the field for the new practitioner and as a reference for experienced group facilitators who encounter new situations. Click below for the full table of contents (you may recognize some of the authors!), or go to IAF’s online store to purchase the book.
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From the CommunityFrom the Community

Public Agenda's Issue Guide on Social Security Available for Your Use

Today’s Public Agenda Alert announced that President Bush “ruled out increating Social Security payroll taxes to bail our the program and repeated his call to create private retirement accounts instead.” Public Agenda reminds us about their issue guide on Social Security, stating that their ‘Choicework’ discussion guides lay out the different alternatives to reform.

“With Choicework, we’re not claiming to have the “correct” solution to a problem. What you’ll find are four different points of view about how to address the issue. The broad choices we present are designed to be discussion starters, not a political program. Each point of view comes with the arguments for and against, along with some potential costs and tradeoffs, because choosing a course of action should include honestly facing its drawbacks.”

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