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The Newest NIF Issue Guide: Bridging and Bonding

NIF-logoWe encourage you to take a few moments to find out more about the latest issue guide from the National Issues Forum Institute. The new guide, titled “Bridging and Bonding: How Can We Create Engaged Communities in a Time of Rapid Change?”, is a collaborative effort between the General Federation of Women’s Clubs and the Kettering Foundation that is designed to help guide conversations about creating better connected and integrated neighborhoods, towns, and communities despite contemporary challenges and shifting divisions.

This excerpt from the introduction gets to the heart of what this newest guide is about:

Changing economic conditions and technological innovations, including the ever-increasing pervasiveness of mass and social media, have transformed our personal lives and our communities. This has affected how families interact, how and where we work, and how we form and maintain relationships, both public and private. Today individuals may bond more strongly with an online community or colleagues at work than with their neighbors. The blurring of distinctions between work and home, made possible by technology, consumes time once spent on social and civic pursuits. Public spaces and even our own neighborhoods don’t seem as safe as they used to be. And a lack of trust in others makes bridging differences between those with differing social, political, religious, or cultural beliefs and experiences more challenging.

What we need to deliberate about is this: how can we create engaged communities in a time of such rapid change?

As with other NIF guides, three options for moving forward are laid out for further deliberation.  The guide challenges participants to deliberate and decide on one of three courses of action:

  • Option 1: Embrace Change and Affirm Differences
  • Option 2: Strengthen and Renew Traditional Ways of Connecting
  • Option 3: Meet People Where They Are

For a deeper look at how we might weigh these options, check out the NIF’s full blog post about the guide here: www.nifi.org/news/news_detail.aspx?itemID=24688&catID=23664.

You can also find more issue materials, including moderator guides and questionnaires at this link: http://www.nifi.org/issue_books/detail.aspx?catID=15&itemID=24676.

Happy reading, and best of luck as you move forward engaging your communities in deliberation about how to better bridge gaps and bond with each other for the common good!

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Roshan Bliss
An inclusiveness trainer and group process facilitator, Roshan Bliss serves as NCDD's Youth Engagement Coordinator and Blog Curator. Combining his belief that decisions are better when everyone is involved with his passion for empowering young people, his work focuses on increasing the involvement of youth and students in public conversations.

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