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21st Century Town Meeting

21st Century Town Meetings enable the general public to give those in leadership positions direct, substantive feedback on key issues. Each meeting engages hundreds or thousands of general interest citizens at a time, utilizing innovative technology to effectively and quickly summarize citizen input. Read our summary of this approach, or learn more at

Here are the 10 resources from 21st Century Town Meeting.

21st Century Town Meeting

AmericaSpeaks' 21st Century Town Meeting method creates engaging, meaningful opportunities for citizens to participate in public decision making. This unique process updates the traditional New England town meeting to address the needs of today's citizens, decision makers and democracy.

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AmericaSpeaks Recently Updated Highly Recommended

Promoting the founding belief that every citizen has a right to impact the decisions of government, AmericaSpeaks serves as a neutral convener of large-scale public participation forums. Through close consultation with leaders, citizens, the media and others, AmericaSpeaks designs and facilitates deliberative meetings for 500 to 5,000 participants. Its partners have included regional planning groups, local, state, and national government bodies, and national organizations. Issues have ranged from Social Security reform to redevelopment of ground zero in New York.

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AmericaSpeaks' Network News

AmericaSpeaks, a non-profit organization, engages citizens in the public decisions that impact their lives through their innovative 21st Century Town Meetings, as well as citizen engagement consulting, strategic planning services, and public speaking. Their one-way e-newsletter, geared towards their network of AmericaSpeaks facilitators, is sent out once a month.

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Assessing Deliberation: Setting the Agenda, Implementing Policy, and Outcomes

Lisa-Marie Napoli, Ph.D., Becky Nesbit and Lisa Blomgren Bingham.

This 20-slide PowerPoint presentation provides an overview of research conducted on multiple AmericaSpeaks' 21st Century Town Meetings. The goal of the study was to examine the relationship of the deliberation event to the policy process. The researchers concluded that 21st Century Town Meeting agendas are citizen-driven; that citizens and and client organizations need more clarity up front about the relationship between the forum and the policy process; and that impacts will depend on follow through, and right now there is limited evidence of government making concrete use of the plans or agendas from the meetings.

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Beyond the 'Up or Down' Vote


An evaluation of AmericaSpeaks' first national project, Americans Discuss Social Security.

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Citizens Health Care Working Group Highly Recommended

Established by the US Congress in 2003, the Citizens Health Care Working Group is mandated to create a nationwide public debate about improving the health care system to provide every American with the ability to obtain quality, affordable health care coverage. Congress is expected to vote on the recommendations that result from the debate. The group is holding a series of small and large-scale public meetings throughout 2006 aimed at engaging the American public in establishing the values and priorities that must drive health care reform in 2008 and beyond.

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D&D; Success Stories Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Compiled by the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD), 2005.

Below are dozens of links to dialogue and deliberation success stories and case studies that are available online. Approaches covered include Deliberative Polling, Citizens Juries, Future Search, National Issues Forums, Jewish-Palestinian Dialogue, AmericaSpeaks, Study Circles, the Public Conversations Project, and Wisdom Councils. NCDD has been compiling these resources for the D&D; community for several years, but we could really use your help keeping this page updated. Email us at [email protected] with your additions and changes.

Engaging Citizens on the Tough Issues

AmericaSpeaks, 2006.

This 20-page report provides a snapshot of AmericaSpeaks' recent and ongoing efforts. From the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland to the community of Oakland Mills in Columbia, Maryland, AmericaSpeaks is bringing together diverse groups of citizens to deliberate on difficult issues, find common values, and reconcile conflicting viewpoints. "Our work helps build strong coalitions that hold decision-makers accountable for change."

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National Dialogue on Social Security Highly Recommended

In 1999, Information Renaissance collaborated with Americans Discuss Social Security to host a non-partisan electronic discussion and debate on Social Security reform. Thousands of Americans participated in a national discussion with policymakers, experts and each other via the internet. You can browse the archives of this event to learn more about large-scale online discussions.

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Neighborhood Action Initiative: Engaging Citizens in Real Change Recently Updated

William R. Potapchuk. From The Collaborative Leadership Fieldbook by David D. Chrislip. Jossey-Bass, 2002.

This chapter in the Collaborative Leadership Handbook provides an overview of the Neighborhood Action Initiative in Washington, D.C. The Neighborhood Action Initiative has perhaps engaged more citizens at one time than any other collaborative initiative. In part, use of skillful process experts and new technologies for instant feedback made this possible.

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