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NCDD Orgs Team up for Utah Civic Engagement Fellowship

For Utah folks in our network, there is an exciting endeavor underway that we wanted to share with you! Several NCDD member orgs – Essential Partners, Village Square, and Living Room Conversations – in partnership with Salt Lake Civil Network and Utah Humanities, have teamed for a year-long Civic Engagement Fellowship, with a focus on further building Utah as a hub for civil discourse. The fellowship will kick off with two-day training in dialogue facilitation by Essential Partners on March 2 & 3, then the following year will be dedicated to designing and implementing a civic engagement plan and facilitating civil dialogues. The deadline to apply is February 23rd, so make sure you apply ASAP! We encourage you to read the announcement below or find the original on EP’s site here.

Announcing the Utah Civic Engagement Fellowship

In partnership with Village SquareLiving Room ConversationsSalt Lake Civil Network, and Utah Humanities, we are building a statewide network in Utah for citizens seeking to become skilled leaders in designing and facilitating civil dialogues in their communities.

The year-long Civic Engagement Fellowship for Utah begins with a comprehensive two-day training in dialogue facilitation, provided by Essential Partners, from March 2-3 in Salt Lake City (venue TBD). Over the following year, Fellows will be connected to a larger collective impact initiative focused specifically on Utah as an ideal hub for shifting the culture of civic discourse. With support from skilled practitioners and a network of other trainees, Fellows will develop and implement community engagement plans centered on civil, connective dialogues.

To apply, please complete and submit the form at this link by no later than February 23, 2018.

About the 2-day Fellowship Training:

The Fellowship builds on a foundational two-day comprehensive training, Facilitating Dialogue Across Divides, provided by Essential Partners.

Are you witnessing an increase in divisiveness in your community? Do you see the need for us to talk across our divides? Do you want to be able to help your community have the difficult conversations it needs to have to move forward together? Facilitating Dialogue Across Divides is designed to help you build skills to facilitate tough conversations, whether in your daily life or in formal dialogues. This workshop is intended to be an introductory workshop for those new to facilitation, or to Essential Partners’ model.

Community is an act of courage. We believe that behind every belief is a person with a story. 27 years ago, Essential Partners created a unique approach to dialogue that promotes connection and curiosity between those who see one another as enemies. Our approach, Reflective Structure Dialogue (RSD), has transformed conflicts across the country and the world, and is widely applicable to the vital conversations that communities need to have to do the work they need to do. An intentional communication process can help individuals, groups, and communities rebuild trust, enhance resilience, address challenging issues, and have constructive conversations with people from different perspectives or those they otherwise would avoid or fight with.

Beginning with this training, Fellows will embark on a rigorous program to cultivate facilitation skills through practice and direct engagement of their communities in Utah.

Benefits of Fellowship:

  • Two-day training in facilitating civic dialogues
  • Monthly webinars and support gatherings
  • Updates about opportunities to facilitate
  • One-on-one coaching for community projects
  • Training for facilitating Village Square forums and smaller Living Room Conversations

Fellowship requirements:

We encourage candidates to come with a connection to a community, institution, or group in which they could use these skills. Because this work involves collaboration, we strongly encourage candidates to apply with partners, working together to help facilitate conversations. We can help pair people who do not have partners. Teams may be as large as 4. Call with questions.

This Fellowship requires:

  • Training completion and monthly webinars
  • Design/execution of a plan for using this work in each team’s home community or group
  • Facilitating at least one civic dialogue
  • Participating in a Village Square event
  • Hosting a Living Room Conversation
  • Supporting other Fellows in their work
  • A refundable $100/person deposit

Skills taught in the training:

  • Designing & structuring conversations for civic engagement: focusing on curiosity, community, and connection across difference
  • Achieving clarity of purpose & expectations
  • Utilizing agreements, structures, preparation, and inquiry
  • Practicing competence and confidence in facilitating through challenging moments

As a result of training, Fellows will be able to:

  • Create a context for people to communicate with self-confidence about difficult or divisive topics
  • Break destructive communication habits (e.g., avoidance, silence, or reactive responses, enabling people to feel heard
  • Design conversations, dialogues, or meetings with clear purpose, full participation, and a structure for moving forward together
  • Introduce a dialogue circle
  • Intervene to support a group through rough spots

Who might be a Fellow?

  • Community or nonprofit leaders, clergy
  • Gov’t officials seeking to drive collaboration
  • School administrators, professors, teachers
  • Directors of community engagement, diversity, and inclusion

To learn more about the Fellowship (application, requirements, program elements and expectations), please download the program description here.

You can find the original announcement on Essential Partner’s site at www.whatisessential.org/utah

Keiva Hummel
Keiva Hummel serves as NCDD’s Communications Coordinator. She graduated cum laude from San Francisco State University with a B.A. in Communication Studies, Minor in Global Peace, Human Rights and Justice Studies, and a Certificate in Conflict Resolution Studies.

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