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Americans Talk Issues

The ATI Foundation promotes a democratic process that combines repeated large-scale, random polling of Americans with 30-minute deliberations between individual voters and unbiased professional interviewers. The result is a consensus of public opinion, which sometimes includes unexpected positions and solutions. As explained in the book Locating Consensus for Democracy, Public Interest Polling provides an inexpensive, practical way to locate a consensus of all Americans on major national issues.

As explained in Locating Consensus for Democracy (LCD),   Public Interest Polling gives us an inexpensive, practical way to locate a consensus of all Americans on major national issues.  It shows that the policies and government actions that most Americans want (75+%) are practical, pragmatic, internally consistent, and persistent over time.   And it shows that there is a huge disconnect between what the people want and what we get.

 

The mainstream news media takes seriously only policies that political leaders want.  The media justifies ignoring the disconnect because national elections so far confirm that the public simply continues to elect leaders who follow their own agendas and ignore the public's consensus views.

 

A presidential candidate might run a campaign committed to healing the disconnect and adopting the public consensus.  From the last four elections there is growing evidence that some candidates and their advisors are beginning to consider such a commitment seriously.   A candidate who runs such a campaign more clearly and convincingly than competitors is considerably more likely to be elected than the candidate running the typical campaign promoting the candidate's own agenda.

Resource Link: www.publicinterestpolling.com

National Dialogue on Social Security

In 1999, Information Renaissance collaborated with Americans Discuss Social Security to host a non-partisan electronic discussion and debate on Social Security reform. Thousands of Americans participated in a national discussion with policymakers, experts and each other via the internet. You can browse the archives of this event to learn more about large-scale online discussions.

The National Dialogue on Social Security is part of the Network Democracy program of Information Renaissance, which seeks to expand opportunities for public participation in government through the use of the Internet.

Resource Link: www.network-democracy.org/social-security

American University – School of International Service

SIS is the largest school of international affairs in the United States, with more than 3,000 students at the BA, MA, and PhD levels, from 150 countries. Its eight areas of study offer students a wide range of possibilities: Comparative and Regional Studies, Global and Environmental Politics, International Communication, International Development, International Economic Policy, International Politics, Peace and Conflict Resolution, and United States Foreign Policy.

While the school and its curriculum have grown and changed dramatically in the last 54 years, its core values remain the same. According to Louis W. Goodman, dean of SIS, “Our founders had a vision of a place that would educate citizens planning to be of service. That is the essence of what we do.”  Learn more at www.american.edu/sis/.

Graduate Programs

SIS offers both Ph.D. and Master’s programs. The Ph.D. in International Relations program is designed to prepare graduates for careers in university teaching and research. The curriculum combines core offerings in international relations theory, comparative politics, and methodology with a structure that allows students considerable flexibility. Major emphasis is placed on research; in addition to the dissertation, students are encouraged to to present conference papers, engage in collaborative work with faculty, and submit articles to refereed journals.

The SIS Master’s program, together with the many co-curricular opportunities the School offers, provides key links between theory and practice. The program, with its eight major fields of study, equips graduates with the competence and skills necessary for professional careers in today’s increasingly complex and globalized environment. The SIS experience includes the depth necessary for intellectual and skills development and the flexibility students need to shape their studies precisely to fit their professional objectives. Each field includes theory, economics, social science research methods, and resources and opportunities for experiential learning. Further, students construct their concentration by choosing a set of courses from one of the School’s fields or by designing a uniquely tailored field to meet their needs.

Undergraduate Programs

Undergraduates at the School of International Service have two challenging programs to choose between — the social sciences-based Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and the humanities-based Bachelor of Arts in Language and Area Studies. Both degrees include a variety of multidisciplinary course offerings. This page has general information about the undergraduate programs.

BA in International Studies

The BA in International Studies is a 63-64 credit program that allows students to gain a broad background as well as developing specialized expertise in elective areas. For a complete description of the required and elective courses, visit the International Studies Web page.

BA in Language and Area Studies

The BA in Language and Area Studies is a 51-credit hour program jointly administered by SIS and AU’s College of Arts and Sciences. The languages and regions included in this major are French/Europe, German/Europe, Russian/Area Studies, or Spanish/Latin America. This program also allows students to pursue challening elective courses while completing required courses that give the student a solid foundation. Complete course requirements are available on the Language and Area Studies Web page.

Pre-College Programs

The Washington Community of Scholars at American University is an exclusive opportunity for outstanding high school students to enhance their preparation for college and a professional career. We offer for-credit college courses designed for pre-college students to maximize your learning experience in small interactive seminars. Find out more.

The above info was added in July 2011, but here is the content of the previous listing.  We believe the Peacebuilding and Development Institute and its summer program has been folded into the School of International Service.

Peacebuilding and Development Institute

The Peacebuilding and Development Institute provides knowledge, practical experience and skills for scholars and practitioners involved in conflict resolution, peacebuilding, humanitarian assistance and development. There are two components to the institute: one is the summer professional training program and the other is the year-round practical training, capacity building, and curriculum development programs in conflict areas.

Old Resource Link: www.american.edu/sis/peace/summer/

Mohammed Abu-Nimer, Faculty Director
American University, School of International Service, 4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington DC 20016

American Assembly

The American Assembly, an affiliate of Columbia University, was founded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1950 to illuminate issues of public policy. The Assembly's major objectives are to focus attention and stimulate informed discussion on a range of critical U.S. policy topics; to inform government officials, community and civic leadership, and the general public regarding the factual background and the range of policy options in a given issue; to facilitate increased communication among decision makers from the public and private sectors, as well as from institutions and organizations concerned with critical public policy issues; and to raise on a continuing basis the level and quality of public policy discourse on national and international issues.

The American Assembly is a national, non-partisan public affairs forum illuminating issues of public policy by commissioning research and publications, sponsoring meetings, and issuing reports, books, and other literature.

 

Its initiatives facilitate communication and action among decision makers, lawmakers, and other leading authorities representing a broad spectrum of views and interests from all sectors. Its reports and other publications are used by government and community, by civic leaders and public officials.

The Assembly's major objectives are:

  • to focus attention and stimulate informed discussion on a range of critical U.S. policy topics
  • to inform government officials, community and civic leadership, and the general public regarding the factual background and the range of policy options in a given issue
  • to facilitate increased communication among decision makers from the public and private sectors, as well as from institutions and organizations concerned with critical public policy issues
  • and to raise on a continuing basis the level and quality of public policy discourse on national and international issues.

Resource Link: www.americanassembly.org

amassembly@columbia.edu

212-870-3500

475 Riverside Drive, Suite 456

New York

NY

10115

Alliance for International Conflict Prevention and Resolution

The Alliance for International Conflict Prevention and Resolution (formerly known as ACRON) is a network of the United States' most pre-eminent conflict prevention and resolution organizations. Formed in 1999 and incorporated in 2003, the Alliance is dedicated to increasing the effectiveness of the conflict management field and maximizing its impact on international peace building.

Focusing on areas affected by international and civil armed conflict, AICPR's members seek to resolve conflicts without violence, facilitate post-conflict reconciliation, and promote social, economic, and political development.

Resource Link: www.aicpr.org

Adapting systemic consultation practice to public discourse: An analysis of a public conflict episode

Human Systems, 7: 17-43 (1996), by Shawn Spano and Claire Calcagno. Shawn Spano, Ph.D., is a Senior Consultant with the Public Dialogue Consortium, a non-profit group of practitioners devoted to improving the quality of public communication in local communities. In addition to his work with the PDC, Shawn is a Professor in the Communication Studies Department at San Jose State University where he teaches courses and conducts research in public dialogue, interpersonal communication and communication education.

Active Voice

Active Voice is a nonprofit, fee-based service provider whose work is an outgrowth of promising practices developed by the Television Race Initiative (TRI). Active Voice creates campaigns based on powerful issue-driven films. AV campaigns encourage individuals and community groups to probe, discuss and take action on timely and relevant social justice issues. In collaboration with a wide range of partners, Active Voice creates companion materials and trains facilitators in how to use the films as catalysts for civic engagement, volunteerism and coalition building.

Resource Link: www.activevoice.net

Action Dialogues: Meaningful Conversations to Accelerate Change

Meant to be used as a part of Debbe Kennedy's Diversity Breakthrough! Strategic Action series, this is a simple pack of 52 glossy cards, each isolating specific roadblocks that organizations commonly face when looking to launch a diversity initiative. The first, for example, reads, 'Our leadership team does not reflect our stated commitment to inclusion.' Another reads, 'Resistance to change keeps diversity out of reach.'

Grouped into seven areas–leadership, culture, involvement, the business, strategies and measures, staffing, and ownership–they can be passed out in groups of any size to allow participants to literally 'put their cards on the table' about internal issues they'd rather not bring up aloud. They're not only a brilliant icebreaker for this potent topic but a good first step toward isolating specific areas of strength and weakness within an organization when it comes to diversity. The cards come with a brief but useful user's guide with a foreword by the Drucker Foundation's Frances Hesselbein.

Debbe Kennedy – Global Dialogue Center

Berrett-Koehler Press (2000)

A Safe Place for Dangerous Truths: Using Dialogue to Overcome Fear & Distrust at Work

Too often, speaking the “truth” is perceived career suicide. Yet truth-telling is desperately needed if we are to move past current levels of frustration and disillusionment. Dialogue is a way for a work group to get “un-stuck” when frustration and apathy threatens forward progress. Annette Simmons will explore some of the dangerous truths currently sabotaging the wordplace, the risks and rewards of truth telling, and the art and practice of creating a place safe enough so that “truths” do not deteriorate into blame sessions, scape-goating, or hopelessness. Genuine dialogue is a way to turn dangerous truths into shared responsibility.

Annette Simmons (Greensboro, NC) is president of Group Process Consulting, a behavioral science firm that specializes in building cooperation within organizations to enhance bottom-line results. She is also the author of Territorial Games.

Annette Simmons – Group Process Consulting

Amacom (1999)

Resource Link: www.groupprocessconsulting.com

336-275-4404

A Resource Guide for Hosting Conversations That Matter at the World Cafe

The World Café is an easy-to-use method for creating a living network of collaborative dialogue around questions that matter to the real-life situations of your organizations or community. In this beautifully illustrated booklet (2002), Juanita Brown collaborates with Nancy Margulies and the World Café Community to articulate seven guiding principles for people to use to host their own Café. Learn about the thousands of people on five continents who have experienced the World Café, a model for setting up the ideal Café for your group, the roles of the hosts, crafting powerful questions, Café assumptions and etiquette, and more. Click here to purchase the 28-page guide for $15 from the Pegasus Communications website.

Resource Link: www.theworldcafe.com

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