Participatory budgeting (PB) is a year-long process of democratic deliberation and decision-making, in which ordinary city residents decide how to allocate part of a municipal or public budget. PB first emerged in the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre where it has over the last two decades increased political participation, decreased economic inequality and corruption and developed citizen capacities that have spurred further organizing and activism. Since then PB has spread to hundreds of cities in Latin America and other continents. A panel will discuss Participatory Budgeting in North America and NYC Saturday, March 11th, 2:00-4:00 pm. Topics include How can PB be applied in North America, and New York more specifically? The workshop will discuss the potential for PB in North America, existing PB processes in Canada, and what PB might mean for New York. Visit www.leftforum.org for more information.
The moderator for the event will be Mike Menser, Brooklyn College and NYC Social Forum and panelists include Josh Lerner, New School; Jennifer Flynn, NYC AIDS Housing Network and Still We Rise; and Gianpaolo Baoicchi, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
The organizers of the Canadian Conference on Dialogue and Deliberation (C2D2) are holding an event March 2 in Toronto at Metro Hall from 3PM to 8:30PM. The format is set up so you can attend all or part, depending on your schedule. For more information, contact: Melissa Abramowitz, , Charlotte Young, or Miriam Wyman, . To see the agenda for this mini conference, click on the link below.
National Issues Forums (NIF) has just published a new discussion guide about end-of-life decisions. The discussion guide, titled Life and Death Decisions: Who Decides? presents information about aspects of end-of-life decisions that are currently at issue in the country, and three possible approaches for consideration. The approaches are “Preserving Life,” which states that as long as there is the ability to maintain life, our skills should be employed in sustaining it; “Maintaning Quality of Life” which states that sometimes withdrawing life support is appropriate even when further treatment would help the patient live longer; and “My Choice, My Right” which states that People should all have the right to decide whether they want to live or die. To download or order the guide, visit www.nifi.org/discussion_guides/guides.aspx?catID=12.
The Midwest Social Forum (www.mwsocialforum.org) is an annual gathering of grassroots organizations, community activists, workers, educators, students, and others committed to making a better, more just world possible. It will be held this July 2-6 in Milwaukee, WI. The MWSF provides an open space for exchanging experiences and information, strengthening alliances and networks, and developing effective strategies for progressive social, economic, and political change. Formerly known as Radfest, the MWSF has been inspired by the World Social Forum and the similar principles on which it was established, most importantly its commitment to diversity, democracy, and politically non-sectarian dialogue and debate (See principles of the World Social Forum here). The MWSF is currently calling for session proposals and activities. Activities can include workshops, panels, training sessions, round tables, retreats, caucuses, films, and other cultural events. For information on how to get involved, visit www.mwsocialforum.org/get_involved/index.htm. Proposals are due by April 15, 2006.
The Perspectives Group will offer a five-day IAP2 Certificate Program in Public Participation six times in 2006. This training is designed for professionals working in the fields of community development, nonprofit and government public services, and public understanding and outreach. It is also designed for industry communications and public affairs or public relations, advocacy and lobbying organizations, private and government groups, and any individual/organization required to deal with the public about complex or potentially contentious issues. Upon completion of the full week of training, participants will receive a certificate from IAP2, the world�s leading association for public participation. Dates and locations are: Alexandria, VA April 3 � 7; July 10 � 14; September 18 � 22; December 4 � 8 and East Lansing, MI March 20-21 (Planning only). The full week of training is $1,475, or $295 per day. The Course is broken up into 3 sections: Planning for Effective Public Participation (two days), Effective Communication for Public Participation (one day), and Techniques for Public Participation (two days). Please note that the Planning course is a prerequisite to the Communications and Techniques courses. For additional information go to www.theperspectivesgroup.com/resource/trainingpro.html or feel free to contact Crystal Sarno or Kristie Bergeron-Hale at The Perspectives Group 703-837-1197 or .
The International Association for Public Participation is re-launching its journal in 2006. The journal will be an online, partially-peer reviewed, multi-disciplinary forum for the exchange of information among researchers, practitioners, decision-makers, and citizens about the impact and practice of public participation around the world. They are currently seeking an Editor-n-Chief who will be responsible for the management, production, and editing of this online journal. A statement of wor (including pay) is posted at www.iap2.org/associations/4748/files/JournalEditorSOW.pdf.
NCDD member Lars Torres sent the following message to the NCDD discussion list asking for volunteers. AmericaSpeaks is organizing and facilitating a series of meetings this spring on health care policy for the Citizens’ Health Care Working Group (www.citizenshealthcare.gov). The recommendations that result from the citizen engagement process will be presented to Congress and the President, whose response is required by law. For more information on this initiative and AmericaSpeaks’ role, please visit www.americaspeaks.org/spotlight/?p=28
The first community meeting will take place in Los Angeles, California on Saturday, March 4. With less than 2 weeks to go, AmericaSpeaks are in urgent need of more facilitators and participants. If you can, please take a few minutes to encourage anyone you know in the Los Angeles area who may be interested in participating or facilitating to register as facilitators or participants for this meeting. Registering for the meeting is pretty easy and can be done on-line at
www.citizenshealthcare.gov/register or by phone at 1-800-679-3684. If you have questions, would like more information, or would like to sign up, please contact Surjeet Ahluwalia at AmericaSpeaks: (t) 202-775-3939, x1006 (f)202-775-0404; email or visit the AmericaSpeaks website above.
Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue has announced a new training session and a video. First, the workshop Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach is an intensive, interactive four-day workshop that will transform your approach to teaching. The goal of the workshop is to learn a structured and accountable method of organizing, designing and facilitating and to create engaging and participatory learning events. Opportunities to design and teach short lessons and receive feedback and coaching will unlock the power of dialogue in educating adult learners. The workshop takes place from Monday, May 1 – Thursday, May 4, 2006, 9-5 pm. The fee is $1400 for the four-day program (text, course materials and refreshments provided), and the workshop will be held at SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, 580 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC (entrance on Seymour St). For more information or to register, email , see www.sfu.ca/dialogue/Learning_to_Listen_flyer.pdf or call 604.268.7925
Second, SFU has also put together a video of their Dialogue Maker’s Network activities. SFU’s Dialogue Maker’s Network began in 2003 as a space for those interested in the creative potential of dialogue to learn about shared values and pre-conceived understandings in a spirit of non-judgmental curiosity. Monthly gatherings give participants the opportunity to cultivate the core capacities of dialogue: listening to understand, suspending judgment, surfacing assumptions, and demonstrating empathy and respect. Watch the Quicktime video as some of the participants comment on the Dialogue Maker’s Network here: www.sfu.ca/dialogue/previous.htm#network
On March 20 and 21, 2006, One World Inc. (OWI) will offer a training workshop on Deliberative Dialogue in Ottawa, Canada. The Deliberative Dialogue methodology is an innovative, proven approach to engage citizens and stakeholders in productive discussions on public policy. It delves into the core of key social issues by accessing people�s wisdom and expertise through a facilitation technique that helps people thoughtfully examine various realistic but often divergent perspectives. These discussions are values-based dialogues as opposed to agenda-driven debates. During this two-day workshop, participants will learn the key elements of this methodology. The training will be practical, focusing on the skills needed to facilitate and/or note take for a Deliberative Dialogue session. It will be a �hands-on� workshop where participants will practice the approach and receive feedback from other participants and the trainer. Documentation will be provided as a reference manual for the participants. Cost for voluntary sector participants is $450 and the cost is $750 for Government and private sector participants. The registration deadline is March 14, and space is limited to fifteen participants. For more information, contact Colleen Murdoch by phone at 562-4073, ext. 310 or email .
NCDD member Nancy Thomas sent us a call for participants for a dialogue project on religion in the academy. The origins of this project lie in a meeting convened last July by the Society for Values in Higher Education (SVHE) and the Johnson Foundation. They invited scholars from both public and private colleges and universities and who represented diverse disciplines, geographic regions, and faith perspectives to come together at the historic Wingspread Conference Center in Racine, Wisconsin. The purpose of this gathering, entitled Religion and Public Life: Engaging Higher Education, was to discuss growing concerns over the intersection between religion and public life and higher education’s response to the concerns. It was a wild ride and a sometimes difficult dialogue, but eventually they concluded that the issues raised at Wingspread call for study, dialogue, critique, and action. The academy must examine how and what it teaches about religion; how welcoming it is to students� diverse religious views and spiritual interests; and how it will factor religion into its educational programs and initiatives to strengthen deliberative democracy, all the while preserving standards of intellectual inquiry, public reason, and academic freedom.
As a result of this work, the group crafted a draft Wingspread Declaration, which is available on the SVHE website (www.svhe.org). They are hoping that people will download the declaration, convene campus groups (particularly faculty) to talk about it, and submit comments on it. There is also a forum space on the website for public comments. Also available at SVHE’s website is a framing paper, entitled A More Perfect Union and additional discussion questions for campus conversations. All three documents are available in PDF form. And campuses that would like to engage these issues broadly and need a jump start can contact Nancy at .
[By way of Peter Levine's blog on civic engagement issues]
The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) has just released a research report documenting the connection between particpating in sports and youth civic engagement. The research found that young people who participated in sports activities during their high school years were more likely than non-sports participants to have:
* Volunteered (32 percent vs. 21 percent),
* Registered to Vote (58 percent vs. 40 percent),
* Voted (44 percent vs. 33 percent in 2000), and
* Followed News Closely (41 percent vs. 26 percent)
To learn more about this research, visit CIRCLE’s website: www.civicyouth.org
The International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) has just sent out the call for session proposals for its 2006 Conference, to be held this November in Montreal, Quebec. The IAP2 welcomes a variety of approaches to conference sessions, but place particular emphasis on sessions that include PARTICIPATION.
In particular, IAP2 is looking for conference session proposals that reflect the
* Can you showcase a new methodology or technique for attendees to learn or practice?
* Can you share a case study or project that brings hands-on experience, including ways to involve marginalized or hard to reach communities, and/or embraces diversity or differences?
* Do you have a good organizational example or project?
* Have you been part of a creative or new experiment – that worked well or maybe not so well?
* Can you provide a look at the roles and perspectives of practitioners, decision-makers, active citizens, and elected officials?
* How does grassroots activism and protest affect the process or decision?
* How do the media impact public involvement?
* What is our role in making the world a better, more participatory place?
* What is the role of advocacy in the practice?
* How can we overcome barriers to good decision making?
* How can we use creativity, graphic facilitation, visual participation or the arts to showcase projects or experiences, or involve people?
To read the Call for Session Proposals, find information on submission details and timelines, and to download the proposal form, visit www.iap2.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=110
Submit your application by Friday, March 31, 2006 via email, fax, postal service, or the web. Email: . Include subject line “IAP2 – 2006 Conference Session Proposal”. Fax: 1-303-458-0002. Mail: IAP2 – 2006 Conference Session Proposals; 11166 Huron Street, Suite 27;
Denver, Colorado 80234; USA.
Dedicated to improving the quality of life in Northeast Ohio, the Cleveland Foundation (www.clevelandfoundation.org) has partnered with Coro to ensure that the local community has talented, diverse, well-prepared civic leaders. The Cleveland Executive Fellowship is an experiential, immersion program designed to accelerate the professional development of civic leaders in Greater Cleveland. Its goal is to prepare individuals for effective and ethical leadership in the public affairs arena. During the yearlong fellowship, participants will gain hands-on experience through executive-level placements in the business, nonprofit, and public sectors, as well as through weekly professional development. Ideal candidates will have a master’s degree and/or professional work equivalent; demonstrated interest in, and a strong commitment to, civic engagement and/or a career in the public affairs arena of Greater Cleveland; ability to provide immediate, tangible, and effective assistance within placements and other fellowship activities; and excellent written and verbal communication skills and computer competency. Fellows will reflect Greater Cleveland’s diverse nature and will have varied academic and professional backgrounds. The program annually awards eight fellowships. The fellowships provide an annual stipend of $40,000. For complete program and application information, see the Cleveland Foundation Web site. The deadline to apply is March 20, 2006.
The Institute on the Common Good and Regis University are sponsoring “The Art of Facilitation” Workshop with Leilani Rashida Henry March 9-10, 2006 in Boulder, CO. The workshop teaches the skills for dialogue facilitation. Advanced facilitation requires a multitude of subtle skills such as self awareness, balancing divergent with convergent thinking and the ability to be effortlessly present. The Art of Facilitation enhances the skill to innovate and execute in the moment, to �think on your feet�. It teaches facilitators to become flexible and adaptable, challenge when required, become graceful under pressure and model the skills they are presenting. It also enables facilitators to create learning environments in which participants seek and find their own solutions to simple or complex issues. ICG offers these workshops to bring out the extraordinary facilitator within you. Our presenter is Leilani Rashida Henry, Licensed Brain Gym� practitioner and Founder of Being and Living� Enterprises. Leilani is a nationally recognized thought leader for bringing innovative strategies to collective transformation. She is the ICG 2006 Fellow. Learn more about Leilani at www.beingandliving.com. The workshop registration fee is $125.00 To register for the workshop please go to http://icgregis.org/. Click on “Upcoming Events” and scroll down to the “Art of Facilitation” workshop where you will find a link to register. Or you may register by calling Katie Bruen, Project Coordinator for the Institute on the Common Good at Regis University at 303-458-4967.
Taos Institute Publishers (www.taosinstitute.net) has just announced the publication of Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive Approach to Building Cooperative Capacity by Frank J. Barrett and Ronald E. Fry. The book provides a concise introduction to and overview of the growing discipline and practice of Appreciative Inquiry (AI). While the literature on AI is expanding rapidly with texts, handbooks, and case studies, the authors, Drs. Barrett and Fry feel there is a strong call for a “quick read” that will assist curious change agents or leaders in determining if they are interested in learning more about this rapidly expanding field of theory and practice. If you are intrigued by the prospect of mobilizing rapid, positive change with multiple stakeholders in a human system that is important to you, this book is for you.