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From the CommunityAuthor Archives: Lars Hasselblad Torres

Blogger Bio:  In 2004 and 2005, Lars ran a scoping study to determine whether a “National Dialogue Bureau” was a feasible idea. The Dialogue Bureau, if developed, would supply journalists with a “one stop” destination for the collection of views held by ordinary Americans who engage in dialogue about current affairs.

The Front Porch Forum: Hyperlocal Media

There’s an interesting model of neighborhood-based social networking evolving in Vermont called the Front Porch Forum. I was recently struck by its connection to broad, national concern about the loss of local news coverage. But before I go further, I have to confess some skepticism about the recent sense of malaise around the media. Here’s why: Just about everywhere you turn, you are bound to read omphaloskeptic writing about the sufferance of media – its consolidation, how it is biased, how there has been a […] (continue)

On the Media, Dialogue & Deliberation

Recently a couple of news items have caught my attention as exemplary of what NCDD’s Dialogue Bureau concept aspired to achieve. Readers might recall that during 2004 and 2005, NCDD sponsored research into the feasibility of a service that would: 1) assist news outlets make better use of dialogue and deliberation techniques to augment reporting; 2) help dialogue and deliberation practitioners make better use of partnerships with news outlets; and 3) help track and promote dialogue and deliberation in the news. This week, two news […] (continue)

Can A Mural Change A School?

During the weekend of April 11-13, more than a dozen Twinfield staff, parents and students helped to sort, record, and mount the more than 450 “Peace Tiles” that would compose a new mural in the school’s cafeteria. The Peace Tiles – individual collages on 8-inch square wood panel – each responded to the question, “What is my place?” This question, asked in a series of discussion forums, was intended to deepen thinking about three aspects of place: the people, institutions, and geographies that shape our […] (continue)

Discussion Guide for World AIDS Day 2007

I’ve just finished a second round of changes to Peace Tiles’ World AIDS Day 2007 discussion guide, which is ready for download and review. I really, really appreciated the feedback of diligent readers of the first draft – I think it has helped to improve the overall structure as well as some important and specific details. So I wanted to introduce the guide to the NCDD community with an invitation to have a glance through it, give it a test run if you can, and […] (continue)

Virtual Surreality: State of Play in Singapore

State of Play V, one of the single most interesting gatherings of “games for good” developers in the world will take place in Singapore later this year. Perhaps it is apropos: somewhat more than slightly ahead of Myanmar on my list of decidedly not playful Asian governments, come August Singapore will welcome the creme de la creme of designers schooled in escapism. “Building the Global Metaverse” is the theme of the fifth annual State of Play conference on the future of virtual worlds, especially the […] (continue)

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

Ishmael Beah’s autobiography is unique for many reasons. It is a first hand account of a boy’s entry into the armed forces of Sierra Leone at a turbulent time, a time when power hungry rebels were at their ascendancy.  Ishmael’s voice is a sensitive voice, and astute observer of the objective with a rare capacity to remain deeply human, involved, imploring. The story charts Ishmael’s journey from a sunny afternoon in the life of a carefree son of Sierra Leone obsessed with rap and family […] (continue)

Amazing Faith of Texas: Beyond Dogma to Seek Out Common Ground

A fellow user of the Omidyar Network recently pointed me to the Amazing Faith of Texas website, which I find interesting – a collection of stories, oral histories of an identity in a way, and an accompanying discussion guide geared toward helping groups find common ground in the values and shared experiences that often underlay religious belief in a state like Texas. Here is the invitation: “Travel slowly along the roads and highways of Texas, and you are less likely to miss the turns that […] (continue)

Cindy Sheehan's Farewell or, The Disappearing Act of the Left's Strongest Voices and Why It Matters (Part I)

The following article, which I first encountered at the humidbeings blog affected me too. As clear and as aching a voice as I’ve heard in a long time. I’ll get right to the point: what Cindy and John share here is a palpable, roiling anger. It is an anger I and many others feel. Its an anger a child soldier feels when they encounter the soothing voice of social workers for the first time, nurses and other civilians who seek them out in the first […] (continue)

Putting the Coffee On, Settling In

I'm pretty excited to be here and share ideas with all of you around the ways the arts can be used to improve and amplify the level of dialogue in our communities. I'll also be sharing ideas and innovations from dialogue and deliberation on the 'net. Finally, I'll be very interested to explore how we can use tools like this blog and NCDD discussion boards to promote collaboration with the NCDD network. (continue)