Who Attends NCDD Conferences?
A Next Step Group discusses the future of D&D at the 2002 NCDD conference. Photo by Len Traubman.
Many NCDD conference participants identify as leaders in the emerging dialogue and deliberation field--practitioners who are breaking new ground in communities and organizations; creators of new methodologies for bringing people's voices into governance and community problem-solving; and scholars who are researching the nuances and implications of this growing field.
Others identify as "newbies" to this work. Some are young people who want to learn whether this is a feasible field to plan to work in when they graduate. Others are mid-life career shifters, looking for work that has more meaning for them.
College faculty, administrators, staff, and students attend the NCDD conferences. Independent consultants, directors and employees at nonprofit organizations, government officials, artists, activists, trainers, and meeting facilitators--all attend and enjoy the conferences.
And people attend from the various streams of practice that exist in this broad field of practice: conflict resolution, deliberative democracy, organization development, e-democracy and online D&D, collaborative action, whole systems change, intergroup dialogue, public participation, arts-based dialogue, and more.
People come from all across the U.S., and from many other countries as well. Australia, Canada, Greece, Liberia, The Netherlands, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Uganda, and the U.K. are some of the countries that have been represented at the past two NCDD conferences.
People attend NCDD conferences with a variety of different goals in mind. Most are looking to network and develop relationships with others who do dialogue and deliberation work. Many come to be inspired by leaders in the field who are featured at the gatherings.
Others are drawn to the opportunity to examine some of the key issues facing this developing field, and to learn about new developments in the field. Some attend in order to build their skills at doing this work. Some attend in order to share their learnings and innovations with their peers. And many attend the conferences for the opportunity to experience and learn about the spectrum of D&D practices.
The main purpose of the National Conferences on Dialogue & Deliberation is to encourage conference attendees and planners, together, to continue developing this nascent but rapidly growing field of practice. Networking, experiencing different methods, sharing learnings, hearing from leaders in the field, exploring key issues facing the field--all of these are field-building activities, and we create the space for all of these things at NCDD conferences.
...and here are a few of the nice things people said about the 2004 and 2002 conferences!
Tom Atlee takes notes during the America Speaks-run plenary at the 2002 NCDD Conference. Photo by Andy Fluke.
Tom Atlee, Founder of the Co-Intelligence Institute
"The 2002 NCDD conference was the most amazing conference I've ever attended... This is a big diverse field, bubbling with vitality. And NCDD is bringing it all together."
One participants' comments on the 2004 conference satisfaction survey...
"You all were amazing -- I've never had a more exhilarating experience at a conference. Nourishing to mind, body and soul!"
Stephan Gilchrist, Portland State University
"I just wanted to let you know what an amazing conference it was in Denver. It deepened my understanding of D&D and I met many wonderful people. I believe events like this help strengthen and grow, not only the D&D community, but the work of conflict resolution and democracy world-wide. It was the best organized conference I have ever attended. You and those that helped you did an amazing job."
Matt de Caussin, Intern, Denver District Attorney's Office
"I must say that my attending the national conference this past fall was life altering. The conference really gave me a sense of direction and purpose for the work I'd like to do as well as the vision I have for a more just and sustainable world."
Priya Parker, Sustained Dialogue Campus Network
"Thank you for putting on such an amazing conference. I thought the conference was absolutely phenomenal. I learned a lot, and I think even more importantly, realized that I am / we are part of a community!"
Stephanie Nestlerode, Omega Point International, Inc.
"I met more people that I will follow up with at this conference than any in my 30 years of professional experience."
"Thank you for the incredible work you are doing in creating opportunities for those of us involved in this work to meet, communicate and inspire one another in so many ways."
Judy Watling and Nandini Saxena, Canadian Policy Research Networks
"We were able to connect with many people working on similar types of engagement, share experiences and learn from each other. It was also very stimulating to see the broad range of interests in the field of dialogue and deliberation, and better understand the connections between them."
Susan Partnow, Let's Talk America
"The setting was beautiful, the range of speakers impressive and the care for the diversity of participants was sincere. Attending the conference was very replenishing for me. What a gift!"
Nancy Glock-Grueneich, Higher EDge
"What has emerged for me as I have reflected upon this year's conference was a deep appreciation for both the remarkably good work that had been done (and the personal authenticity required) to make it happen and for what is growing out of that work as the next iteration. Themes that surfaced throughout the conference point the way to the maturing of this new profession and these new means of social transformation."
Lorraine Dillon, The Mainstream Media Project and Both/And
"I've been involved in blitzes of meetings before, but never came away with so many ideas buzzing in my head. Even the diversity issues that arose were a huge learning tool for me about how as a member of a dominant culture it is easy to make assumptions. I hope that is in context as well -- it was visionary to have made the space available for people to talk about being marginalized."
Lauren Patterson, Program Evaluation
"I have been raving about the conference ever since I got back home to Durango. I have been attending professional conferences for over 20 years and this was the most fulfilling of any of them to me! Thanks for all your work to organize such a stellar event."
Libby and Len Traubman, Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue of San Mateo, California
"It was a fine, fine conference for us. This is one of the exceptional, distinctive communities in America."
Marc-Andre Franche, United Nations Development Programme
"I wanted to thank you and all the organizers of the NCCD conference for a great event, very well organized and especially sensitive to everybody's needs and concerns. It was a great experience for me and it benefited greatly our work. I hope to continue building these relationships and learn from all those extraordinary experiences and people involved in dialogue."
Pam Korza, Animating Democracy, Americans for the Arts
"I had an exceptional experience at the conference, learned so much, and made many good connections. As was true the first time around, you and all the teams did a remarkable job at collaboratively building an event that did a lot of things for a lot of people. As the organizer, I'm sure you didn't get to see but a tiny fraction of all the good things, but rest assured there were many at every turn."