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First-Ever "Conversation Week" to Launch in March

Our friends at OrangeBand, Conversation Café and dropping knowledge (with help from Skype) are hosting a global Conversation Week at the end of March, celebrating the power of conversation to change the world and the fifth anniversary of the launch of the Conversation Cafes. I encourage you to participate during that week as Conversation Cafe hosts or guests.  Click on “more” for a message from the organizers for members of the NCDD community.

Greetings NCDD Community –

What if dialogue and deliberation had an Earth Day equivalent, a time to raise awareness and knowledge of the people, organizations, and models we have to promote meaningful conversation?  And what if, instead of one day, we had a whole week – a Conversation Week!  

Mark your calendars for Conversation Week (Beta 0.1) March 25-31 – and bookmark www.ConversationWeek.org.

Since the NCDD conference in August, the founders of Conversation Cafe and The OrangeBand Initiative have been discussing how to implement a large-scale project that trains hosts in the minimum necessary “structures” for a meaningful conversation with others in their community.  Such an effort, aimed at training upwards of 500 hosts in Conversation Cafe, could serve as a way to spark multiple conversations on the same questions – and introduce people around the world to the work of the larger D&D community.

We’ve moved quickly on this, with the intention of doing a pilot at the end of March.  We consider this year’s Global Conversation Week as a pilot or ‘beta version’ of a template of materials, processes and support that can be replicated.  Our goal is to design a Global Conversation Week in such a way that it will serve many of you in your own outreach –once we work out the bugs. Imagine a template for creating “Conversation Week about XYZ” for a given community or organization.  We believe this will be a powerful resource to help promote the whole field of D&D.  This beta-version uses Conversation Cafe exclusively, with a set of simple questions, but the next versions can incorporate your method or many methods, with different and perhaps more difficult questions.

Clearly, there are many other organizations, models, and people who could add valuable insight and effort to such a project.  We are planning to visibly and frequently link to the resource pages at  www.thataway.org to introduce people to these aligned efforts.  That said, some champions of these techniques may be interested in having a conversation using a different model.  For those who use a different model, please email us at TheTeam@ConversationWeek.org with your plans, understanding that we may not have the infrastructure in place in time to equally represent these models on the website.

As we work through the thinking, logistics, and fundraising for this experimental Conversation Week 2007, we extend a cordial invitation to members of the NCDD community to do three things:

1. Become a Conversation Cafe Host for Conversation Week 2007
A host welcomes guests, introduces the CC process and agreements and the question and keeps time. Hosts learn the CC method via a 2-hour teletraining, a half hour web-based video, and/or reading the manual, picks a question and invites people to gather in their home, a cafe, a park, a cafeteria, a community center or any other place of their choosing. http://www.conversationweek.org/register-to-host/

2. Invite your friends, family, and colleagues to Host a Conversation Cafe during Conversation Week!

3. Participate in selecting the Top Ten Questions for Conversation Week – By February 1
Right now we need your best advice  for a crucial piece of this project: creating a sense that people everywhere are considering the same questions at the same time and will share their learnings via a website so we  can feel the pulse of the planet.  We have an online survey where you can choose your top ten questions BY FEBRUARY 1 http://FreeOnlineSurveys.com/rendersurvey.asp?sid=y6sxpahxuylnvd0259695

Thanks – and stay tuned!

Kai Degner & Susan Partnow (OrangeBand & Conversation Cafe)

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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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