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Our regional NCDD events brought together over 700 people total this October and November. A huge shout-out to all the members of our local planning teams!

Archives for February 2010

Inviting Dialogue: Renewing the Deep Purposes of Higher Education (a report from Courtney Breese)    

Here’s a report to the NCDD community from Courtney Breese, an NCDD member who is an up-and-coming leader in our field.  I asked Courtney to represent NCDD at a conference at Clark University on dialogue in higher ed a couple of weeks ago.

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to attend a conference titled Inviting Dialogue: Renewing the Deep Purposes of Higher Education.  Organized by Sarah Buie, Director of the Difficult Dialogues Initiative at Clark University, and Dave Joseph, Vice-President of Programs at the Public Conversations Project, this small conference was attended by approximately 50 individuals from colleges and universities and professional dialogue practitioners from the Northeast Region.

I was invited to attend as a representative of NCDD (thanks, Sandy!) to provide people with information on the coalition and also to report back about my experience at this conference. From a quick browse through NCDD’s members, I think it’s a safe estimate that about 25 percent of conference attendees were members of the Coalition. However, in introducing myself and NCDD in conversations and workshops, it appears that many more of the people present were familiar with and supportive of  NCDD. Some pointed out that most of the people in the room were probably familiar with NCDD (or should have been). For those who weren’t familiar, I found a great deal of interest in the access to resources and other practitioners, researchers, and organizations that can be found through NCDD. Hopefully we will be adding some new members to our ranks in the days to come!

As a practitioner in the dialogue/deliberation and conflict resolution field with the Massachusetts Office of Dispute Resolution and Public Collaboration, an institute of the University of Massachusetts Boston, I was excited and curious to see what kind of dialogue work is being done on other college and university campuses, as our office continues to work to incorporate dialogue into the university curriculum. From integrating dialogue into curriculum, engaging faculty and staff in dialogue, to addressing larger issues of diversity, there is a lot going on in this region! Below is a brief recap of just some of the content of this conference. (more…)

Join us for NCDD Confab on Haiti tomorrow at 2pm EST    

Join us tomorrow (Thursday) from 2-3 pm EST (11 am Pacific) for an “NCDD Confab” call on the role of dialogue & deliberation practitioners and organizations in Haiti, and in disaster recovery in general.  Featured guests on the call are BJ Diamond and Marieann Shovlin of the Global Facilitator Service Corps and John Engle, co-founder of Haiti Partners, and Larry Schooler will facilitate.

BJ and Marieann will talk about GFSC’s work helping communities deal with crises.  John Engle will talk with us about his work fostering participatory leadership and discussion-based education in Haiti before and since the hurricane.

We’d greatly appreciate it if you would RSVP for the call ahead of time by emailing Larry at or me at , but here are the call-in details in case you don’t get a chance:

1-605-475-6350 (long distance call to Midwest U.S.)
Access Code:  444839

This is one of a new series of “NCDD Confab Calls” where we’ll be exploring dialogue & deliberation’s role in current issues, learn about exciting projects and interesting methods from fellow NCDD members, and just get to know each other a little better.

Here are some more details about our featured guests and the facilitator/initiator of the call… (more…)

IJP2 Article Part 9: Cultivate and support public engagement practitioners    

Here is my final post excerpting my IJP2 article on the Systems and Framing challenges. Although I got sidetracked and should have posted this weeks ago with the others (sorry about that!), I think this segment is actually the most important one for practitioners, funders and community leaders to take note of…

Cultivate and Support Public Engagement Practitioners

In Sustaining Public Engagement, Archon Fung and Elana Fagotto (2006) credit much of the success of embedded public engagement to deliberative or civic entrepreneurs – highly skilled and capable individuals who understand there is a market for public engagement. Civic entrepreneurs know “the general public favors more opportunities to participate in public discussion and provide input in policy-making,” and that public engagement is a much-needed tool for problem-solving. Fung and Fagotto acknowledge that, “like other voluntary and private sector initiatives, the uptake of these novel practices inevitably depends upon the tenacity, expertise, and persuasiveness of the individuals who introduce them.”

In their case study on a decade of public engagement work in Bridgeport, Connecticut, our challenge co-leader Will Friedman and his co-authors contend that “the evolution of key actors from the role of deliberative entrepreneur to that of deliberative maven” (p. 14) can be a vital factor in embedding deliberation in communities. Not only do such “deliberative mavens” bring deliberation to a community, but they also inspire and support the emergence of other practitioners and entrepreneurs and serve as information banks and deliberative resources for the community. They begin, the authors say, “as importers of deliberation and become, over time, catalysts and resources for further deliberative practices across the community” (p. 14).

Organizations that focus on building civic capacity in the region rather than importing talent temporarily from outside the community are more likely to create local deliberative mavens, and thus to facilitate embedding public engagement. The authors suggest the more user-friendly and affordable the approach or method of public engagement used, the easier it is for local civic entrepreneurs to “master it quickly, adapt it to their needs, and make it their own.”

Dialogue and deliberation cannot be embedded in our systems at the local level if the capacity to organize and convene public engagement efforts cannot be maintained. Local civic capacity includes trained moderators and facilitators, the capacity to mobilize and recruit participants representing a cross-section of the community, and the know-how and initiative required to organize programs and events.

Note from Sandy:

SandyProfilePic80pxThis is my ninth blog post featuring content of an article published in a recent edition of the International Journal of Public Participation (IJP2), titled Taking our Work to the Next Level: Addressing Challenges Facing the Dialogue and Deliberation Community. The article outlines our learnings in two of the five challenges we focused on at the 2008 NCDD conference in Austin: the “Systems Challenge” (How can we make D&D values and practices integral to government, schools, and other systems?) and the The “Framing Challenge” (How can we talk about and present D&D work in more accessible ways?). You can download the full article from the IJP2 site.

Need your feedback on NCDD blog categories    

I’ve been wanting to ask people who use the NCDD site what they think of the blog categories.  If you’re reading this on the NCDD blog ( if you’re reading this on Facebook or elsewhere), look in the left column and you’ll see all the categories listed in the second box titled “NCDD’s News & Perspectives.”

Andy’s working on a site redesign and though we love using a WordPress blog to manage most of our site content, we plan to simplify the site’s appearance A LOT so it’s not so text-heavy and there aren’t so many links everywhere.

We’ll be simplifying our blog categories considerably, and we’d love your feedback on what should stay and what should go.  Which of the categories (if any) do you tend to use?  Or do you never use the categories?  Would you be happy if we just kept the first set of categories under “D&D Community News” (educational opps, jobs, research, etc.)? Please add a comment and let us know (or email me at ).

We’d really appreciate your input on this!  Here’s all the current News & Perspectives blog categories… (more…)

Find similar posts: NCDD Stuff

Project on Civic Reflection Facilitation Training Workshop    

Catherine Tufariello at the Project on Civic Reflection at Valparaiso University (Valparaiso, Indiana) wanted to share this announcement with the NCDD community (note the NCDD discount on this already reasonably-priced training!)…

From volunteers to educators, nonprofit leaders to community organizers, civic reflection discussions engage participants seeking to make a difference in the world.  If you are interested in learning to facilitate civic reflection discussions, consider attending the Project on Civic Reflection‘s next Facilitation Training Workshop.  The two-day workshop, to be held at Columbia College in downtown Chicago, will begin at noon on Thursday, April 29, 2010 and conclude at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, April 30.  Dues-paying NCDD members pay only $225, a 10% discount off the already low registration fee of $250.

Workshop participants receive hands-on facilitation skills taught by expert trainers, a facilitation handbook with tips and answers to frequently asked questions, a copy of The Civically Engaged Reader, and program consultation and ongoing support.   In addition, we can provide continuing professional development credits (CPDU’s) to participating Illinois teachers.

You can access an informational flyer and registration form here:

Please submit the registration form to Debbie Garbukas at or by fax at 219.464.5496.  Note on the form that you are an NCDD member. If you have questions, please contact Program Coordinator Liz Granger at or by phone at 312.750.1760.  Registration closes on March 26, so register soon!

Purpose Prize for social innovators over 60    

Know someone in his/her 60s, 70s, or beyond who is capitalizing on the expertise and experience of a lifetime to find solutions to local, national and global challenges?

The Purpose Prize, now in its fourth year, awards five $100,000 and five $50,000 prizes to social innovators over the age of 60. It is the country’s only large-scale investment in social innovators in the second half of life. Rather than a personal achievement award, the prizes are intended as investments in these social innovators’ future work.

In addition to the ten prizes awarded each year, the initiative also recognizes dozens of other outstanding individuals in “encore careers” – those who are redefining the so-called “retirement years”. If you know someone who fits this description, visit the Purpose Prize website for more information on how to nominate –  (I heard about this through the ASPA-CIVED listserv.)

Find similar posts: funding, jobs & awards

IFES’ 2010 Democracy Studies Fellowship    

IFES is pleased to announce its annual Manatt Democracy Studies Fellowship Program. Mr. Manatt, former U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic and former Chair of IFES’ Board of Directors, and his wife Kathleen fund one fellowship (6-8 weeks, dates flexible) each year exclusively for graduate students at universities in the American Midwest. The Manatt Fellow receives a stipend of $5,000 and works in our international headquarters in Washington, DC. A PDF flyer and application are available at (more…)

Free Deliberation Materials on “America’s Role in the World”    

The National Issues Forums (NIF) has released new issue book materials titled America’s Role in the World: What Does National Security Mean in the 21st Century? A limited supply of material packets will be available FREE to individuals or groups interested in hosting a deliberative community forum this spring.

Free packets include:

  • 5 copies of the issue book with questionnaires
  • 10 copies of the issue book issue map and
  • 1 DVD starter video

Call AIT at 1.800.600.4060 and ask for the free NIF materials on America’s Role in the World.  You can also contact Deborah Witte if you have questions, at or 800.221.3657.

More about National Issues Forums from the NCDD website:

National Issues Forums are characterized by choice work, deliberation, and working toward common ground for action or a shared sense of purpose. In forums, people find places where their values, interests, and goals overlap. By giving citizens a chance to deliberate about public issues, National Issues Forums offer a place at the table where decisions are made that affect their lives. Forums, which are generally two hours long, can engage from a dozen to hundreds of people in one room around small tables. Forums are open to the public, and organizers often publicize widely to ensure that a variety of viewpoints are present. (more…)

Audio from yesterday’s NCDD Confab on online conferences    

We held our first “NCDD Confab” yesterday, and we want to thank our featured guests and everyone who participated!  We had close to 20 people on the call, and you can listen to the audio by clicking below if you’re interested (press the play button or download the mp3 file).  NCDD member Beth Offenbacker from PublicDecisions was our featured guest, and she talked with us about the upcoming Including the Excluded Online Conference (March 2-4) and about online conferences in general.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Or download: NCDD Confab – February 17, 2010: Including the Excluded Online Conference (~40 MB)

The NCDD Confabs are a new series of regular conference calls for NCDD members only where we’ll explore dialogue & deliberation’s role in current issues, learn about exciting projects and interesting methods from fellow NCDD members, and just get to know each other a little better.  Our second Confab call will focus on Haiti, and the role of practitioners and facilitators in the current crisis and its aftermath – so you may want to add that to your calendars now (it will be Thurs, Feb. 25 from 2-3 pm Eastern).

Also, note that NCDD is an affiliate of the Including the Excluded online conference, and members of the NCDD community (basically, anyone who hears about the conference through NCDD!) are eligible for a special conference rate of just $139 USD (a $40 savings) the full 3-day conference, or just $70 for a one-day pass. By registering, you’re also supporting NCDD, since we receive a portion of each registration fee. Be sure to use the discount code NCDDSpecial when registering at

Just Vision is hiring a Director of Communications & Outreach    

We heard about this job opening through NCDD member Irene Nasser, Community Outreach & Content Manager at Just Vision…

Just Vision is a nonprofit organization that informs local and international audiences about under-documented Palestinian and Israeli civilian efforts to resolve the conflict without arms. Through film, multi-media, education and strategic outreach, we support people who are fighting for freedom, dignity, security and peace through nonviolent means. We are based in Washington, D.C. with offices in Jerusalem and NYC.

Just Vision is seeking to hire a Director of Communications and Outreach to work from our D.C. office. The Director of Communications and Outreach will increase awareness about Just Vision and the Palestinian and Israeli civilian-led non-violence and conflict resolution efforts we document.  The Director of Communications and Outreach is responsible for designing and implementing Just Vision’s communications strategy using electronic, broadcast and print media, social media, as well as by developing executive and expert communications.  See the full job description on Just Vision’s news page (the post is dated 2/12/10) at

Issue Guide on Building a Community in a “Connected Age”    

Check out the guide “Fulfilling Our e-State Potential: Building Community in a ‘Connected’ Age” on Everyday Democracy’s Issue Guide Exchange.  This issue guide is designed to help citizens deliberate about ways to use e-state technology to help enhance community and civic life.  It’s designed to be used during a one-day symposium and includes an exploration of community, scenarios to help explore e-state opportunities and challenges, an exercise to identify e-state values, and opportunities to identify action steps.

Deconstructing Diversity (re-posted from Orton Family Foundation blog)    

Ariana McBride, Senior Associate at the Orton Family Foundation, is a member of NCDD and gave me the okay to re-post this fantastic blog post from Foundation’s Cornerstones blog. See the original post here, and check out the Foundation’s blog here.

Deconstructing Diversity

Published by Rebecca Sanborn Stone on February 4, 2010 | Add comment to original blog post

In Millbridge, Maine, a local non-profit won federal funding to build housing for immigrant laborers. But local residents circled a petition and approved a moratorium on multifamily housing in order to keep immigrants out.

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In Brooklyn, New York this fall, a local Hasidic community objected to safety issues and immodest clothing among cyclists on its neighborhood bike lanes. The Department of Transportation sandblasted the lanes—which guerrilla bicycle activists promptly painted back on.

And in Katy, Texas, when a local Muslim community purchased a piece of land and planned to build a mosque and school, one citizen responded by running pig races next door on Friday evenings, the holiest day of the week for Muslims (see Jon Stewart’s coverage on The Daily Show).

It’s easy to brand these all as examples of intolerance, NIMBYism or downright racism. In our politically correct and increasingly diverse culture, the socially acceptable stance is that diversity is an unqualified good. But in the reams of sociological research on diversity and its impacts on communities, the findings are much fuzzier. In a controversial 2007 study, Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone, found overwhelming evidence that diversity corrodes social capital, community cohesiveness and trust—not only between ethnic groups, but within them. (more…)

Program Director Opening at Everyday Democracy    

A national leader in the field of civic participation and community change, Everyday Democracy (based in Hartford, Connecticut) helps people of different backgrounds and views talk and work together to solve problems and create communities that work for everyone.

Using innovative, participatory approaches, Everyday Democracy works with neighborhoods, cities and towns, regions, and states. We place particular emphasis on the connection between complex public issues and structural racism. These issues include, but are not limited to: poverty and economic development; education reform; racial equity; early childhood development; police-community relations; youth and neighborhood concerns.

Everyday Democracy is an equal opportunity employer committed to practicing diversity and inclusion. We seek a Program Director to join our Community Assistance team. (more…)

Peace First L.A. seeks Executive Director    

Peace First (formerly Peace Games) is a growing non-profit working to teach the critical skills of conflict resolution and civic engagement in public elementary schools.  Peace First seeks an Executive Director with a blend of experience and entrepreneurial spirit to grow its Los Angeles office.  The position builds from a solid base, including a decade of strong results with several local schools, an experienced program director who manages day-to-day operations in the schools, and a strong national team to provide resources and wisdom.

At the same time, Peace First LA is in a start-up mode, demanding creativity, drive, and the ability to identify and engage a diverse group of supporters in a critical mission.  The ideal candidate will be fearless and creative with strong fundraising and operational management skills, deep cultural competency, and a passion to transform Peace First LA into a national example of excellence.

Please click here for the complete position description.

Koya Consulting LLC is leading this Executive Director search. If interested in this position, send resume and cover letter to Molly Brennan at or call Koya Consulting at (978) 465-7500.

Internships Available with the Jewish Dialogue Group    

NCDD member and director of the Jewish Dialogue Group, Mitch Chanin, contacted us with news of an excellent opportunity.  His organization is seeking interns to help them create a new Guidebook for Deliberation about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Interns will have the opportunity to assist with a number of research and writing tasks.  Here’s a little more about this group and the guidebook:

The Jewish Dialogue Group ( is a non-partisan, grassroots organization that works to foster constructive dialogue within Jewish communities about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other difficult issues. We lead structured dialogue programs in synagogues, colleges, and other venues and also train dialogue facilitators, create publications that empower people to lead dialogue programs of their own, and provide advice to people who are engaged in dialogue work. We seek to make these services and resources available to all who need them.

In early 2011, we will publish a new guidebook for deliberation. Jews across the U.S. will use the guide to conduct workshops in which participants systematically explore how they can respond to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in ways that are as ethical and effective as possible, in a supportive, non-adversarial environment. Read more about the guidebook.

Visit their website to learn more about this internship opportunity and  how to apply. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact them at or 215-266-1218.

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