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Back From C2D2

We went to Vancouver, we conferred and now we’re back in our home communities with plenty to think about. By all accounts the second conference of the Canadian Community for Dialogue and Deliberation (C2D2) was a great successs. For me the most important takeaways were:

  • Keynote speaker Adam Kahane’s argument that as a community of practice, we need to work with power – think about it, grapple with those who have it, and try to generate it – as much as we work with compassion and empathy.
  • The difficulty of extending the work of deliberation outside one-off events into the broader public sphere, and echoing Joe Goldman’s recent post, the necessity of finding ways to do this.
  • The importance of securing a “return on participation” for those citizens who invest their time in our dialogues & deliberation, but…
  • The near-impossibility of systematically tracking how the outputs of dialogue & deliberation are incorporated into political decision-making.

Many challenges lie ahead. But, having met so many intelligent, passionate and committed members of the D & D community in the last few days, I have renewed faith in our ability to meet them. For more on the workshops, plenaries and informal ideas generated at the conference, visit the C2D2 2007 Conference Blog: http://blog.c2d2.ca.

Amy Lang
Amy Lang is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at the University of British Columbia. She wrote her dissertation on British Columbia’s groundbreaking Citizens’ Assembly process, and is currently doing follow-up research on the Ontario Citizens’ Assembly.

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