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Report on the 2004 National Conference on Dialogue Deliberation

In October 2004, over 300 people came together at Regis University in Denver, Colorado for the second National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation. The main purpose of the gathering was to encourage conference attendees and planners, together, to continue developing this important, growing field of practice. Networking, experiencing different methods, sharing learnings, hearing from leaders in the field, exploring key issues facing the field – all of these are field-building activities, and all were given a place at the 2004 NCDD Conference.

Conference attendees enjoyed a variety of plenary sessions that introduced them to large-group dialogue methods while enabling the community to explore issues relevant to the field. They each had to choose four of 57 two- and three-hour workshops delivered by their peers. And through the use of graphic facilitation and playback theatre, they experienced how the arts can enhance dialogue and deliberation.

The conference focused on three broad questions: “How can we have a greater collective impact on the challenging issues of our time?”, “How can we develop intelligently and wholeheartedly as a community of practice?”, and “What do we need to know and do individually to enhance our capacity to do this work?”

In this report, Heierbacher recognizes all of the people and groups who made the 2004 conference a success, She outlines the “history” of the 2004 and 2002 gatherings and what happened in between, and talks about how the 2004 conference was different from the 2002 event. She describes the main elements of the 2004 conference, outline what was learned from the 2004 event and what NCDD is doing about it, and lists some other actions that need to be taken to ensure the sustainability and success of this burgeoning field.

Also check out the report from the 2004 conference Assessment Team, which is quite a long document because it includes all results and comments from the Satisfaction Survey administered on the final day of the 2004 conference. Assessment Team members include Theo Leverenz, Jen Murphy, Miriam Wyman (team chair) and Sandra Zagon.

Sandy Heierbacher
National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) (2005)

Resource Link: www.ncdd.org/exchange/files/docs/NCDD_2004_report.pdf

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