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Search For Common Ground Partnership Recognized at Clinton Global Initiative

Last month in New York City, 40 heads of state and almost 1,000 religious, business and nonprofit leaders came together at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) for three days of in-depth discussions in an effort to address and seek solutions for the world’s critical issues: extreme poverty, climate change, problems in governance, and religion as a source of conflict. The talks concluded with the announcement of “commitments” totaling $1.25 billion in pledges for specific initiatives that address these global problems. Clinton singled out the commitment from Nestle to fund Search for Common Ground’s TV drama series in Nigeria, and invited Search For Common Ground (SFCG) President John Marks and Klaus Wachsmuth, Managing Director of Nestle Nigeria PLC, to the stage to recognize this model of corporate and NGO partnership for effecting positive social change. SFCG is currently producing two TV series in Nigeria. Their aim is to promote inter-ethnic tolerance and respect, and to encourage non-violent resolution of conflict. The Station is a 26-part drama about the adventures of a multi-ethnic, multi-religious group of Nigerian TV reporters – Yorubas, Hausas, Ibos, and others – working together as a news team to cover Nigeria’s most pressing problems, such as AIDS and corruption, through the prism of finding common ground. The series focuses on socially relevant themes through entertaining soap opera drama that will appeal to large audiences. The initial production is a 20-part reality series called The Academy, which is intended to build an audience for The Station. The Academy is centered on a nationwide talent search leading to the final selection of the cast for The Station. Over 50,000 applicants answered the open casting call. Both series will be aired on Nigerian national TV, with the direct support of President Obasanjo. To read more about SFCG and the Clinton Global Initiative, visit www.sfcg.org.

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White House Conference on Cooperative Conservation Focuses on "Shared Governance"

Federal officials working for environmental, land-management, and wildlife agencies gathered in August with state, local, and tribal officials; nonprofit conservation organizations; and private landowners and businesses for the fourth-ever White House Conference on Cooperative Conservation. The first such conference was convened by Teddy Roosevelt in 1908 and set a 40-year course for conservation in the United States. This year’s theme, “Strengthening shared governance and citizen stewardship,” sought to celebrate what Interior Secretary Gail Norton called a new chapter built on “communication, consultation, and cooperation, in the name of conservation.” The three-day conference was organized by the Council on Environmental Quality, and co-hosted by the Departments of Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, and the Environmental Protection Agency. A number of facilitators, including PolicyConsensus Director Chris Carlson and NPCC Director Greg Wolf, led discussions around nine key topic areas such as expanding the roles of states, tribes, and local governments in cooperative conservation. In her opening remarks, Interior Secretary Norton described an initiative to develop cooperative conservation legislation to submit to Congress, though few details were offered about what the legislation would contain. Two days later, at the concluding plenary session – after Norton and other cabinet members had been summoned to Washington, D.C., to coordinate the emergency response to Hurricane Katrina – federal officials issued an invitation to conference participants to provide input on the proposed legislation. For updates and more information on the conference, visit PolicyConsensus.org.

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PCI and NPCC Launching a "Public Solutions System"

For the past several years, the Policy Consensus Initiative (PCI) and the National Policy Consensus Center (NPCC) have been developing an approach to collaborative governance for states that can be adapted and applied to complex policy issues in which multiple sectors have a stake in the outcomes, and no single entity can produce a solution on its own. The model is based on lessons from the past 30 years about what makes collaborative processes legitimate and effective. This “Public Solutions System” is not intended to replace existing, traditional systems of state decision making. Rather, it serves as an option for state leaders to use on a more routine basis when difficult public issues – issues that cannot be resolved by government alone – need to be approached collaboratively. A fundamental component of the Public Solutions System is the new role it offers leaders – that of convener. Unlike a policymaker, the role of convener involves bringing together all the key sectors – public, private and civic – to develop effective, lasting solutions to public problems that go beyond what any sector could achieve on its own. Rather than deciding for people, leaders in the convener role make decisions with people, giving all impacted stakeholders a key role in problem solving and strategy implementation. The Public Solutions System involves a set of core principles that ensure democratic practices are followed; an “Operating System” that ensures best practices are employed; and a network of leaders as conveners, along with sponsors, practitioners, and neutral forums to carry out the collaborative processes. More information about the Public Solutions System should be available on PCI’s updated website, which will be launched in the coming month (www.PolicyConsensus.org).

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Fetzer Institute Sponsoring Conference on Democracy

The Fetzer Institute (www.fetzer.org) will be sponsoring the Second Conference on Democracy in America, this December 1-4, 2005 in Colorado. The conference is co-sponsored by the Christian Coalition of America, Moveon.org and the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation. Facilitators include Mark Gerzon, President, Mediators Foundation (Chief Facilitator, Bi-Partisan Congressional Retreats) and William Ury, Director, Global Negotiation Project, Harvard Law School (co-author, “Getting to Yes”). Three day facilitated dialogue among 20-24 leaders of national political/civil associations, 1/3 generally perceived left, 1/3 generally perceived right, 1/3 generally perceived unaligned. The purpose is to build bridges of trust, respect and communication among leaders of national political and civil associations from across the political spectrum by engaging in a facilitated dialogue about a) the values that unite us as Americans, b) how to expand upon the recent successful left-right-center cooperation in the area of civil liberties, privacy, and constitutional protections, and c) other areas of potential left-right-center cooperation. For more information on this initiative, visit www.democracycampaign.org

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News on Jewish-Palestinian Dialogue Projects

We just heard from Len and Libby Traubman about their recent involvement in two exciting dialogue initiatives. In Summer, 2005, at the most northern tip of South Korea — near the inter-Korean border — ten Israeli students from Hebrew and Tel Aviv Universities and ten Palestinian students from Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities met. They were joined by ten Korean university students. Read about this meeting in the Korea Times Correspondent (in English): times.hankooki.com/lpage/culture/200509/kt2005090420155811690. And in California 140 Arabs and Jews met to discover their commonalities at the very successful Camp Tawonga. Read all about it at traubman.igc.org/camp2005 (click on the links at the top of the page to see media coverage).

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Senator Dayton Introduces Department of Peace Legislation

On September 22nd, 2005, Senator Mark Dayton (D-MN) introduced the Department of Peace legislation into the U.S. Senate (Bill # S. 1756), calling for an elevation of the Reagan-established “Institute of Peace” to a Cabinet-level position. Speaking from the Senate floor, Dayton said, “If we are to remain the world’s leader, and if we are to lead the world into a more secure and more prosperous future, we must become better known and more respected for our peacemaking successes than for our military forces. Peace, to have any lasting value, must be advanced, expanded and strengthened continuously. Doing so requires skill, dedication, persistence, resources, and, most importantly, people.” To take action to support this initiative, consider calling and/or writing your senators, urging them to support this initiative (bill # is S. 1756). Contact your Senator at the U.S. capitol switchboard: (202) 224-3121. To find your Representative, visit //www.vote-smart.org Tell the staffer who answers your call that you want your Senator to sign on as a co-sponsor of the Department of Peace legislation. Request a written response explaining your Senator’s position and the reasoning behind it. To write your Representative, click below to get started. This will allow you to send an email or a fax to your congressperson. www.thepeacealliance.org/action. It’s most effective if you call first, then follow-up with a fax or email.

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Nominations Sought for K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Awards

The K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award recognizes graduate students who are committed to developing academic and civic responsibility in themselves and others, and who show exemplary promise as future leaders of higher education. The awards are sponsored by K. Patricia Cross, Professor Emerita of Higher Education at the University of California-Berkeley. All doctoral level graduate students who are planning a career in higher education are eligible, regardless of academic department. The K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Awards provide financial support for graduate students to attend AAC&U’s 2006 Annual Meeting, “Demanding Excellence: Liberal Education in an Era of Global Competition, Anti-Intellectualism, and Disinvestment.” The meeting will be held January 25-28, 2006, in Washington, DC. All award recipients are required to attend the conference.

Applicants must demonstrate: 1) Leadership ability or potential for exercising leadership in teaching and learning, with a strong commitment to academic and civic responsibility; and 2) Leadership or potential leadership in the development of others as leaders, scholars, and citizens. A faculty member or administrator must nominate the student, with a supporting letter from a second faculty member or administrator. The following materials must be submitted for an application to be considered: 1) a nomination letter from a faculty member or administrator; 2) a supporting letter from a second faculty member or administrator; 3) a statement from the student indicating how he or she meets the award criteria; 4) a copy of the student’s curriculum vitae. All materials should be submitted together. Only complete applications will be considered. Deadline for receipt of materials is November 4, 2005. Mail applications to the K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Committee, AAC&U, 1818 R Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009 or Fax 202-265-9532 (to the attention of Suzanne Hyers) or email hyers@aacu.org (with documents attached).

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Update on Call for Department of Peace

A few days ago, we blogged about the Peace Alliance campaign to establish a U.S. Department of Peace. We just got an update with some great news. At a meeting with Peace Alliance youth leaders in D.C., Senator Mark Dayton from Minnesota agreed to help “move this forward” on behalf of our children. It is a huge milestone in the campaign and for the future of this legislation to have a member of the Senate to express such interest. The Peace Alliance is asking for everyone’s support to help us keep up this momentum with Senator Dayton. Call Senator Dayton’s office today at 202-224-3244 and thank him for his interest and support on behalf of our children. The Peace Alliance is also encouraging children to call their Senators and Representative to ask them to support a Dept of Peace. Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: (202) 224-3121. You can find your representatives at: www.vote-smart.org. The new bill number in the House of Representatives is HB 3760. On the House side, the bill already has three new co-sponsors and much interest from others. This is great news!

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News About By The People’s Upcoming Deliberation Week

By the People (www.pbs.org/newshour/btp) has just announced grant awards to the community groups and PBS stations in sixteen cities across the country that will convene Citizen Dialogues and produce companion television programming during Deliberation Week, October 22-29, 2005. Through these events, they anticipate more than 1,000 citizens nationwide will join in a common deliberation about one of two critically important issues before the nation: healthcare and education. The discussions, which will be national and local in scope, will reach an even larger audience when they are featured in a national PBS broadcast airing on November 10, 2005, at 9:00pm ET. To read a list of participating groups and stations, click on the link below.

By The People is also organizing a number of other participation venues. Five community colleges around the country will engage their students and local communities in dialogues on healthcare and education during Deliberation Week and throughout the fall. Topics for discussion include healthcare for the uninsured, hospital personnel shortages, education ethics, and teaching challenges in a diverse classroom. (To read a list of participating colleges, click on the link below). And more than 300 citizens will participate in a national online conversation about By the People’s Deliberation Week issues– healthcare and education– in September and October 2005. A representative sample of citizens nationwide will participate in weekly small group discussions to become more informed. The resulting shifts of opinion will reveal what these participants think about healthcare and education as they learn more about these issues. The experiment will be conducted for By the People by the Stanford Center for Deliberative Democracy and Polimetrix. The online process will mirror face-to-face conversations taking place during Deliberation Week. The online deliberators, who will be a national representative sample, will meet online in small groups and participate in discussions conducted through voice rather than text. Results of the online Deliberative Opinion Poll® will be available on the By the People website in November.
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Tom Atlee Reviews Brown and Isaacs' The World Cafe

Many of you may have seen our previous blog announcement about Juanita Brown’s new book The World Cafe: Shaping Our Lives Through Conversations That Matter, co-written with David Isaacs. We have just heard from Juanita that the first edition of the book has received a tremendous response and that they are very very busy talking about the World Cafe to many different groups. To give you more insight into the book, we’re posting a recent review of The World Cafe by NCDD member and friend Tom Atlee. To read Tom’s review, click on the link below.
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