Tiny House
More About The National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation • Join Now!
Community News

From the CommunityFrom the Community

ILG Releases Results of CA Public Engagement Survey

We encourage our members on the West Coast to take note of the results of a survey of local public engagement in California recently conducted by NCDD member organization the Institute for Local Government. The survey results show that local governments need more support in key areas that many of our members work in, which hopefully means more opportunities are on the horizon! We encourage you to read ILG’s post about the survey results below, or click here for more on their effort.


ILG Public Engagement Program Releases Findings from Self Evaluation Effort

“When citizens are actively involved in their civic and democratic institutions, their community and nation are stronger, more just, and more prosperous.”  — Alan Solomont, Dean, Tufts University

As public engagement is a foundation of our democracy, the Public Engagement Program has been a foundation of the Institute for Local Government (ILG).  A key component of our organization’s vision is to work toward a future where “all segments of the community are appropriately engaged in key public decisions.”

We’ve been working on this vision for more for a decade. But last year we decided to pause, assess our effectiveness and look at how we can best assist local governments. We retained outside consultants to help us undertake an ambitious, objective assessment of where we stand, what our local government partners need and how we can help them achieve their goals. The result was an in-depth evaluation resulting in informative infographics and accompanying narrative reports: (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Committing to Building Our Nation’s Capacity for Democracy

Today is Inauguration Day, and the scene in the nation’s capitol is one of stark differences. The country’s new administration is officially taking power amid both large protests and large celebrations, and the picture clearly reflects to us that, over the next four years, we in the field of dialogue and deliberation have our work cut out for us. A functioning democracy depends on people who disagree, often deeply, still having the capacity to listen and talk to one another and make decisions together. And today in DC, the need – and the opportunity – for the D&D field to work on building that capacity is on full display.

To help us reflect on the work ahead we wanted to share a piece penned by NCDD member Kyle Bozentko of the Jefferson Center that, though it was written shortly after the election, still holds much truth for today as well. We encourage you to read the piece below or find the original here.


The Future of Our Democracy

Regardless of your feelings about its outcome, this election has brought the divides in our country into sharp relief – divisions that threaten the health and vibrancy of our shared democracy.

Together, our country faces serious challenges. These challenges take different forms in different communities. We know, though, that communities have the capacity to address these issues and advocate for themselves.

That’s why our work envisions a different kind of democracy. A democracy where civic participation extends beyond the ballot box. A democracy that empowers citizens to solve problems, develop policy, meaningfully influence decision making, and inspire action. A democracy where all citizens, regardless of their differences, join together to create stronger communities and a thriving nation.

Today, we reaffirm our commitment to an inclusive democracy. We will continue to strive for accountability in our democratic institutions, for action and policy that responds to the ambitions of all Americans, for a unified expression of our power as citizens to shape the course of our lives…

Whether you’re feeling excited about the possibilities for change in America, or anger and despair at the uncertainty of our shared future, or both, there’s work to do today. Let’s get to it.

You can find the original version of this Jefferson Center blog piece at www.jefferson-center.org/the-future-of-our-democracy.

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Join Confab Call with Not In Our Town on Responses to Hate

We are pleased to announce that NCDD is hosting our next Confab Call with Not In Our Town, an NCDD member organization that uses film and dialogue to help regular people respond to hate in their communities. This hour-long webinar will take place Wednesday, February 8th, 2017 from 1-2pm Eastern/10-11am Pacific, and we encourage everyone to register today for a inspiring call!

Not In Our Town is both an organization and a movement dedicated to stopping hate, addressing bullying, and building safe, inclusive communities for all. Not In Our Town (NIOT) was launched as an organization in 1995 with a landmark PBS film that documented the efforts of everyday people in Billings, Montana who stood up together after a series of hate crimes targeting their Native American, Black, and Jewish neighbors.

The story and the film went on to inspire many other communities in the US and around the world to form their own responses to hate crimes and hate groups cropping up in their locales, and the NIOT team continued to make inspirational short films documenting their stories as they unfolded. NIOT has since made over 100 of these films and created discussion guides that accompany them. The films and discussion guides cover dozens of subject areas and topics, and they are compiled into an online hub that is designed to support towns, schools, campuses, faith communities, or any other kind of group in launching dialogues on how they can address issues of hate and bullying that are impacting them.

This call is part of NCDD’s ongoing #BridgingOurDivides campaign that seeks to heal the damage done in the divisive 2016 election while also addressing the longer-standing divisions in our country. As many communities where NCDD members live and work in struggle with how to deal with the rise in hate crimes and assaults that we’ve seen since the election, and as we prepare for the possibility that this trend might not go away, NIOT’s dialogue resources and model for supporting action can be critical tools for the D&D community to tap into. Be sure to join us on this Confab to find out how!

This Confab Call will feature a discussion with NCDD supporting member Patrice O’Neill, who serves as the CEO and Executive Producer of Not In Our Town. Patrice will share (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Addressing Power in Dialogue Across Difference

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we thought we would share the piece below from Katie Hyten of NCDD member organization Essential Partners. In it, Katie reflects on the reality and impact of power differences in dialogue, pointing out that even if we don’t acknowledge it, power is there in our conversations. Especially if we’re to effectively bridge divides and cross lines of race, class, gender, and so on, we cannot ignore the fact that power dynamics will need to be managed. We encourage you to read the piece below or find the original here.


How Does Power Affect Our Conversations?

Essential PartnersIn a recent conversation with activists on a college campus, student leaders informed our practitioners that student protesters showed little interest in dialogue because they assumed that “dialogue” was an attempt to placate them by the administration. The power of the administration carried both weight and assumptions.

In another of our dialogues, a participant assumed he would have to begin speaking with an apology for his privilege before even participating in the conversation. In both of these instances (and in so many more), real and perceived power differences created profound barriers to meaningful conversation. Perhaps nowhere has that felt truer than following the results of the 2016 election.

When we create spaces for groups to communicate across differences, we run head first into questions of power. Indeed, it is impossible to have effective conversations around differences without first having often clumsy conversations about power – conversations where we step on toes and say the wrong thing because we want to do better. And because we know that having diverse, cohesive, engaged members of a community or institution is not only the right thing to do – it also increases innovation, profit, and community safety.

So here’s what we know (more…)

NCDD NewsNCDD News

NCDD’s Year in Numbers: 2016

2016 was an important year for the dialogue & deliberation community, and a very active one for NCDD!

The following end-of-year infographic highlights NCDD’s impact and activity during the past twelve months, including activity at our national conference, on our website, listservs, events, and new and exciting efforts. Our sincere thanks to NCDD co-founder Andy Fluke for his fabulous design work!

Thanks to our fabulous community for engaging with us in so many ways in 2016! We look forward to continuing this important work with you all in 2017.

Please share this post with others you think should know there’s an amazing community of innovators in public engagement and group process work they can tap into or join!

In addition to sharing this post and/or just the image above, feel free to download the print-quality PDF.

NCDD NewsNCDD News

Moving Forward with NCDD’s Emerging Leaders Initiative

During our NCDD 2016 conference, we were proud to officially announce that NCDD would be launching our new Emerging Leaders Initiative – a new effort to support and engage the next generation of D&D leaders and practitioners that NCDD has been developing since our 2014 conference on Democracy for the Next Generation. Today, we’re happy to share more details el_badge_web_01on the next steps in developing the initiative’s offerings!

What is the Emerging Leaders Initiative?

The Emerging Leaders Initiative (ELI) emerged from the NCDD members’ recognition of our need to foster long-term resilience for the field of dialogue & deliberation and that we can do that best by intentionally cultivating D&D’s next generation of leadership – that is, the younger folks in our ranks as well as those who are newer to the field.

To that end, the ELI will seek to provide extra resources and support to rising leaders in our field and to create more “on ramps” into the dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement field, especially for young people 35 and under, but also for newcomers to the field of any age. We want to offer these emerging leaders a means to become more involved in the world of D&D, connecting them with opportunities to build their capacity as practitioners, scholars, and professionals while lifting up the contributions, innovation, and leadership of young and new people in our field.

To accomplish these goals, NCDD has already created several tools that will be cornerstones of the Emerging Leaders Initiative – including the Emerging Leaders Discussion Listserv, social media forums, and a compilation of introductory D&D resources – and we are currently working on building a robust mentorship program, youth-focused webinars, and other capacity-building efforts for emerging leaders. We encourage our NCDD members, especially our younger and newer ones, to learn more about what the ELI by visiting its the brand new web page at www.ncdd.org/youth – the hub for all things related to the initiative.

Have Your Say in How the ELI Develops!

In addition to the new page, we are also launching the Emerging Leaders Survey – a short questionnaire that we’re using to better understand how we can support and collaborate with our emerging leaders. We are asking anyone in NCDD’s network or the broader field who is 35 and under, relatively new to D&D, and/or a current student to fill out the survey.

Our field is already full of promising young folks and newcomers, and we want to hear from you! This survey is your chance to (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Come to the 2017 Frontiers of Democracy Conference

We are happy to announce that once again, the Frontiers of Democracy conference organizers at Tufts University are accepting session proposals for their annual gathering. The 2017 conference will take place, as always, at the Tufts University downtown campus in Boston, this time from June 22nd – 24th.

The annual Frontiers of Democracy conference is a key gathering for our field that brings together leading deliberative democracy thinkers, public participation practitioners, and civic educators to explore ideas at the forefront of advancing democracy. NCDD’s leadership attends almost every year, and many of our members are staples of the conference, so mark you calendars and register today!

This year, the Frontiers gathering’s framing statement highlights the global rise in authoritarianism and the challenge it poses for continuing to expand democracy: (more…)

NCDD NewsNCDD News

Conversation Café Training Webinar Published Online

NCDD was pleased to host a training webinar for those wanting to learn to host the Conversation Café (CC) process earlier this week, but we were even more pleased by the great turnout we had! We were joined by 45 participants, who spent 90 minutes learning about the ins and outs of hosting Conversation Cafés from Susan Partnow, one of the CC co-founders. It was a great training!

If you missed the training, don’t worry – we recorded the whole thing! You can find the whole training webinar recording by clicking here. For additional tips, we also encourage you to click here to read the chat transcript from the call, where there were a number of resources, links, and answers to questions shared.

With this new round of trained hosts, we’re excited to see the Conversation Café community continue to grow! We encourage everyone to check out the Conversation Café website at www.conversationcafe.org, especially if you are looking for more resources. We recommend checking out the “Resources for Hosts” page here and printing out some of the CC how-to cards here to help you be as prepared as possible to host your first Café.

We also highly recommend that new Conversation Café hosts consider joining the CC updates and announcements list and the CC hosts email discussion list so that you can stay informed and connected to the broader CC network. Let’s all stay in touch!

NCDD NewsNCDD News

NCDD Podcast Episode 3: Opportunities for D&D in Congress is Now Live

Yesterday a new Congress was sworn in, including many newly elected members, eager to get to work. In light of this new year and the new opportunities and challenges it presents, we are releasing our next podcast episode which focuses on the possibilities for connecting Congress men and women with dialogue and deliberation for better constituent engagement.

You can find this, our third episode, on iTunes, SoundCloud and Google Play!

In this episode, I, Courtney Breese, NCDD’s Managing Director, speak with Brad Fitch of the Congressional Management Foundation. The Foundation works with Members of Congress and staff to enhance their operations and interactions with constituents. Brad and I discussed the work of the Foundation, as well as his reflections from NCDD 2016 and the possibilities he sees for bringing dialogue and deliberation practices to Members of Congress. It’s an enlightening conversation and good food for thought for this field as we consider efforts to bridge divides in our nation.

This first series of episodes in the NCDD Podcast were recorded at the NCDD 2016 Conference, where we asked leaders and practitioners from the D&D field to share their stories and ideas, as well as discuss opportunities and challenges in our audio room. These episodes are being released as we continue our conversation from the conference about #BridgingOurDivides.

We invite you to listen to this episode and share your thoughts here, particularly about the opportunities and challenges for incorporating dialogue and deliberation into constituent engagement: What opportunities do you see for dialogue and deliberation practices to be used by Congress men and women in engaging those they represent? How might we overcome some of the challenges, particularly the systemic challenges outlined in the podcast? We look forward to your ideas!

Again, our thanks to Ryan Spenser for recording and editing these podcast episodes, to Barb Simonetti for her financial support of this initial series, and to everyone who participated in the episode recording sessions at the conference!

Please continue to tune in and share the podcast with your networks!

From the CommunityFrom the Community

New IAP2 Trainings Schedule for 2017 from TCP

If you are looking for D&D trainings to kick off your year, we encourage you to check out the new calendar of trainings offered by NCDD member organization The Participation Company. TCP offers certification in the International Association for Public Participation‘s model, and dues-paying NCDD members get a discount on registration! We encourage you to to read more about the trainings in the TCP announcement below or learn more here.


The Participation Company’s 2017 Training Events

If you work in communications, public relations, public affairs, planning, public outreach and understanding, community development, advocacy, or lobbying, this training will help you to increase your skills and to be of even greater value to your employer.

This is your chance to join the many thousands of practitioners worldwide who have completed the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) certificate training.

Foundations in Public Participation (5-Day) Certificate Program:

Planning for Effective Public Participation (3-Days) and/or *Techniques for Effective Public Participation (2-Days)

  • Jan. 23-27 in Phoenix, AZ
  • Feb. 6-10 in Arlington, VA
  • Mar. 27-31 in Austin, TX
  • Apr. 24-28 in Oakland, CA (more…)
-