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A program of the Ludwick Family Foundation, Arsalyn promotes constructive dialogue between groups with diverse viewpoints as well as the sharing of models and methods. Arsalyn has been convening a series of regional conferences geared toward helping young people–especially politically active youth–develop skills that will help them communicate effectively with those of opposing views or with more lukewarm potential allies without alienating them or poisoning the wells of deliberation and common action. The aim of these conferences: to explore of the art of political deliberation and to apply this art in 'bridging the partisan divide.'

Resource Link: www.arsalyn.org

Arizona State University – Intergroup Relations Center

The IRC provides education and training opportunities to students, faculty, and staff as well as intergroup conflict prevention and mediation services. It sponsors retreats, workshops, seminars, and institutes for faculty, staff and students, and collects, develops, and disseminates educational resources and data on discrimination, hate crimes, and intergroup conflict incidents at ASU.

Resource Link: www.asu.edu/provost/intergroup/



P.O. Box 871512




Appreciative Inquiry Commons

The AI Commons is a worldwide portal devoted to the fullest sharing of academic resources and practical tools on Appreciative Inquiry and the rapidly growing discipline of positive change. This site is a resource for leaders of change, scholars, students, and business managers–and it is hosted by Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management. http://appreciativeinquiry.case.edu (more…)

Animating Democracy: The Artistic Imagination as a Force in Civic Dialogue

This report reveals pivotal and innovating roles that the arts can play in the renewal of civic dialogue as well as challenges faced by arts and cultural organizations as they engage in this work.

Barbara Schaffer Bacon, Cheryl Yuen and Pam Korza – Animating Democracy Initiative of Americans for the Arts

Americans for the Arts (1999)

Resource Link: www.artsusa.org/animatingdemocracy

Download this resource for free from the Animating Democracy website.

Animating Democracy Initiative

Animating Democracy, a program of Americans for the Arts, fosters arts and cultural activity that encourages and enhances civic engagement and dialogue. It is based on the premise that democracy is animated when an informed public is engaged in the issues affecting people's daily lives. Launched in fall 1999, ADI is a four-year programmatic initiative of Americans for the Arts which fosters artistic activity that encourages civic dialogue on important contemporary issues.

Americans for the Arts works to strengthen the role of artists and cultural organizations in civic life. The arts and humanities can contribute unique programs, settings, and creative approaches that reach new and diverse participants, stimulate public dialogue about civic issues, and inspire action to make change. 

Resource Link: www.artsusa.org/animatingdemocracy

Barbara Schaffer Bacon, Co-Director (with Pam Korza)




The work of AmericaSpeaks began with a clear and compelling vision: to reinvigorate American Democracy by engaging citizens in the public decision-making that most impacts their lives. For nearly two decades, AmericaSpeaks brought this vision to life and, in so doing, made a lasting contribution to the field. Through 150 projects that engaged more than 180,000 people and touched thousands more, AmericaSpeaks repeatedly broke new ground and achieved real results across the U.S. and around the world.

AmericaSpeaks closed its doors in January 2014. In a final blog post, AmericaSpeaks president Steve Brigham wrote: (more…)

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



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