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Call for Proposals – Conflict Resolution, Environment and Public Policy

The Environment and Public Policy Section (EPP) of the Association for Conflict Resolution is calling for proposals from section members and others who would like to participate as presenters in the 2007 EPP Section Conference. The conference meets at Florida Atlantic University’s Jupiter John D. MacArthur Campus in Jupiter Florida from Thursday, June 7 to Saturday, June 9, 2007.

Four themes will guide the conference discussions. The themes are:

· The role of collaborative leadership in promoting public decision making around issues of importance to communities.
· The relationship between our practice as conflict resolvers and efforts to promote deliberative democracy.
· Dynamic tensions between our professional norms and practices to resolve particular disputes and the long-term viability and development of collaborative decision making.
· Options for advancing the field of public dispute resolution to a skeptical public.

Proposals are invited for the concurrent, 90-minute breakout sessions that follow each keynote address or panel.Breakout sessions can address one of the four themes or some other topic of general interest to the profession. Please format your proposal using the sub-headings/categories listed below. Both individuals and collaborative groups may submit proposals. Deadline for submission: Monday, March 26, 2007.

· Contact Information: Name, Title, Email, Phone(s), Mailing Address
· Theme you wish to focus on: Indicate whether your proposal relates to the theme(s) of Collaborative Leadership, Deliberative Democracy, Practice Issues, Advancing the Field, or another topic of your choice.
· Who: Identify all individuals who are contributing to your proposal and indicate their roles (panelist, moderator, co-leader, etc.). Please also note the presenters’ experience in presenting at professional conferences.
· What: What do you propose to present? What question(s) will you be trying to answer?
· Why: Please describe, briefly, why you propose offering this session, and why you think conference attendees would be interested in participating in it.
· How: Do you want to do a presentation, organize a panel, facilitate a round table discussion, have the group break into smaller groups, do a simulation, etc? Describe what the session will look and feel like.
Committee Criteria for Evaluation
· Potential to add significant value to conference participants’ experience (i.e. uniqueness, substantively compelling, extremely useful/practical, etc.)
· Likelihood that the session will be interactive and promote a discourse that goes beyond discussion of individual cases
· Extent to which the proposal provides linkages between the organizing questions within a given theme or between themes

· Committee review period: March 26 – April 2, 2007

Submit proposals by email to: Cindy Cook ccook@adamantaccord.com or Michael Elliott michael.elliott@gatech.edu. Ask questions prior to submitting your proposal by emailing Cindy or Michael or: Robert Fisher (for Collaborative Leadership) rcf@fishercs.com, John Stephens (for Deliberative Democracy) stephens@sog.unc.edu or Bob Jones (for Our Practice) at rmjones@mailer.fsu.edu.

The organizers aim to to draw on the extensive institutionalization of collaborative processes in the state of Florida, as well as the collaborative leadership upon which those institutions are built. As a complement and possibly a contrast to the Florida experience, they are seeking proposals that expand the geographic range on this topic and also that address the following questions.

· What is collaborative leadership and how do we recognize and encourage it in political leaders? In neutrals?
· How has political and bureaucratic decision-making (both within and external to government) been altered as a result of collaborative efforts? How have these changes been institutionalized?
· Does the role of collaborative leadership change as collaborative processes become more institutionalized, and what are the implications of these changes?
Building on the discussion started at the 2006 EPP Section conference, we will continue to explore the relationship between our work as dispute resolvers and efforts to promote deliberative democracy, both in terms of how our work fits into existing political decision making processes and how it alters those processes over time. In particular, we will explore the following questions.
· What have we learned about the relationship between dialogue processes and traditional democratic decision-making processes?
· In what ways does our work leading collaboratives and building consensus help promote deliberative democracy in the US and internationally?
· What is the role of conflict resolvers and public participation specialists in promoting deliberative democracy?
· Under what circumstances does our accountability for good collaborative or consensus building processes compete with our goals and leadership efforts at promoting more deliberative democratic outcomes?
At the core of our profession lies questions about the nature of our practice and the fate of traditional definitions of mediator, facilitator, etc. as government and civic engagement processes change. We are seeking proposals for sessions that address the following questions.
· What does our practice consist of today and how is it evolving?
· What forms of collaborative intervention most effectively promote the development of long term inclusive and participatory institutions?
· What forms of political and consultative roles are consistent with our claims to neutrality and professional competence as dispute resolvers?
· How might we best organize ourselves to address communitywide and regionally scaled conflicts, which involve a broad spectrum of citizens and interest groups over long periods of time?
Finally, the future of our practice and profession depends on the widespread adoption of conflict resolution and collaborative approaches in public decision making. In advancing the field to a skeptical public, we are seeking proposals to address the following questions.
· What messages are we sending when we describe our role and profession to politicians, the public, and the media?
· What can we learn from marketing and public relations professionals in selling a complex product or service?
· How active should mediators and facilitators be in advocating for negotiations and dialogues as a preferred approach to public decision-making?

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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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