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Reflecting on NCDD in 2009

The National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) moved in some new directions in 2009, in large part in response to President Obama’s focus on open government and citizen participation. Our work with the Open Government Initiative and on the Principles for Public Engagement both invigorated our membership and raised NCDD’s profile and status in many people’s eyes. NCDD continues to be one of the most trusted organizations in the field of public engagement, and seems to have more respect in the field now than ever before.

We made significant progress in 2009 on several of the priorities identified by NCDD’s Board of Directors in our February 2009 retreat. Namely, we found ways to refocus on what it means to be a “coalition” and to move on things we can uniquely do “in coalition,” and we focused more on moving the field forward, with special attention paid to the five challenge areas we addressed at the last NCDD conference.

The following projects defined 2009 for NCDD:

  1. NCDD’s role in the Open Government Initiative (the White House’s open government dialogue, the collaborative evaluation of that dialogue, keeping the network informed about news and opportunities related to the Initiative, participation in Strengthening Our Nation’s Democracy).
  2. Taking the lead in creating the Core Principles for Public Engagement, with prominent partners, many dozens of practitioners and scholars contributing to the drafting process, and over 80 leading organizations endorsing the Principles.
  3. Responding to the fall healthcare town halls by creating and distributing several tools (a flyer and several articles for web and print) to help public officials and community leaders hold more effective, engaging public meetings about contentious issues.
  4. Playing a major leadership role at the September IAP2 conference in San Diego (co-organizing the final day plenary, Sandy’s speech during that plenary, etc.).
  5. Writing about two of the five challenges (embedding D&D in our systems and framing D&D in more accessible ways) for the International Journal for Public Participation (article here).
  6. Writing about members’ perspectives on democratic governance and on two challenges (embedding D&D in our systems and strengthening the link between D&D, action and policy change) for the Kettering Foundation (full report here).
  7. Creating, in close communication with Martin Carcasson, Will Friedman and Alison Kadlec, the Goals of Dialogue & Deliberation graphic based on Carcasson’s 2009 article Beginning With the End in Mind. The graphic emphasizes improved community problem solving and increased civic capacity as longer-term goals of public engagement work, and Sandy’s leadership in creating the graphic and NCDD’s role in distributing it and sharing Carcasson’s insights marked a new direction for NCDD.
  8. Reaching beyond our existing network using social media tools (our FaceBook group currently has 1700 members, and our LinkedIn group has 453, for example).

What do YOU think about NCDD’s projects and accomplishments in 2009?  If you were a member of NCDD in 2009, did these projects make you feel engaged?  Represented?  Bored?  What new or different directions do you think we should be moving in?  We would love to hear your thoughts on this!

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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  1. John Backman says:

    You all have done some extraordinary–and very important–work here. I find it tremendously encouraging. Congratulations on a great 2009.

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