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What will attract people to your dialogue or deliberation program? How can you attract a range of people, including those who think differently from you? Here are some thoughts from Let's Talk America, a project that strove to bring Americans from all points on the political spectrum together in cafes, bookstores, churches and living rooms for lively, open-hearted dialogue to consider questions essential to the future of our democracy.
Eric Vogt, Juanita Brown and David Isaacs. Whole Systems Associates, 2003.
This comprehensive guide explores the three dimensions of a powerful question ? construction, scope and assumptions ? and then offers sample questions for focusing collective attention, finding deeper insight and creating forward movement. This 18-page guide is a freely downloadable PDF document.
Peggy Holman, Tom Devane and Steve Cady (editors). San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2007.
The first edition of The Change Handbook, published in 1999, was the most comprehensive guide available on methods of organization and community change. The first edition provided a snapshot of a nascent field that broke barriers by engaging ?whole systems? of people from organizations and communities in creating their own future. The completely revised and updated second edition overviews 61 change methods - up from 18 in the first edition. A great introduction to large-group methods for participatory planning and redesign.
Lawrence Susskind, Sarah McKearnan, and Jennifer Thomas-Larmer. Sage Publications, 1999.
Whether you work in the corporate world, a nonprofit organization, or the government sector, you are likely face the need to work with others to solve problems and make decisions on a daily basis. And you've undoubtedly been frustrated by how laborious and conflict-ridden such group efforts can be. At all levels from neighborhood block associations to boards of directors of multinational corporations, the consensus building process is highly effective in an increasingly fragmented, contentious society. In addition, the old top-down methods such as Roberts Rules of Orders often prompt more problems then they solve.
The Deliberative Democracy Handbook: Strategies for Effective Civic Engagement in the Twenty-First Century
John Gastil and Peter Levine, eds.. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2005.
The Deliberative Democracy Handbook is a terrific resource for democratic practitioners and theorists alike. It combines rich case material from many cities and types of institutional settings with careful reflection on core principles. It generates hope for a renewed democracy, tempered with critical scholarship and political realism. Most important, this handbook opens a spacious window on the innovativeness of citizens in the U.S. (and around the world) and shows how the varied practices of deliberative democracy are part of a larger civic renewal movement.
M. Scott Peck, M.D.. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1987.
Psychiatrist M. Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Traveled, explores how the nature of community can be recognized by the vulnerability, honesty, and theological cultural inclusiveness of its participants. Born of a yearning for world peace, this book draws analogies between the ways communities emerge and the dynamics of individual spiritual development.
Peter Senge, Art Kleiner, Charlotte Roberts, Richard B. Ross, and Bryan J. Smith.. New York, NY: Doubleday, 1994.
While "The Fifth Discipline" laid out the principles particularly applicable to long-term organizational improvement, the Fieldbook clearly describes how to get started in the practice of the principles of organizational learning, reflecting not just one person's theory, but the experience and reflection of an entire community of practitioners. Senge promotes dialogue as an important tool for promoting team learning and fostering shared meaning and community within an organization.
Barbara Bunker and Billie Alban. Jossey-Bass, 2006.
Large Group Interventions are methods used to gather a whole system together to discuss and take action on the target agenda. The Handbook of Large Group Methods offers a comprehensive review of cutting-edge Large Group Methods currently being implemented to address twenty-first century challenges in organizations and communities. Key challenges addressed include working with organizations facing serious business crisis; working in community settings with diverse interest groups; working with organizations in polarized and politicized environments, and embedding and sustaining new patterns of working together.
Tom Atlee shared with us the story of his 2005 trip to a groundbreaking conference on Innovation in Community Engagement in Perth, Australia. The conference took place on May 30 and 31, 2005 at the Burswood Convention Centre. This text was originally posted in NCDD's old Happenings blog.
Directed by Ziad H. Hamzeh. Produced by Ziad H. Hamzeh, Bert Brown, and Marc Sandler, 2003.
This 76-minute documentary film tells the story of 1,100 Somalian immigrants who relocated to Lewiston, Maine. At first the immigrants were welcomed, but soon fear and distrust broke out amongst the townspeople. Tensions erupted after the mayor sent a letter to the immigrants requesting that they tell their friends and family not to move into the town. The mayor claimed that the newcomers were straining town services. The conflict escalated into competing ?hate? and ?peace? rallies held simultaneously and separated by only a few miles. "The Letter" could help dialogue programs raise awareness in their communities about how racism and immigration intersect. The film could also help planners decide which of these issues to address in their community.
This great series of short books from Good Books are perfect for those who want to gain a basic understanding of conflict resolution processes. The Little Book of "Cool Tools for Hot Topics," The Little Book of Dialogue for Difficult Subjects, The Little Book of Circle Processes, and The Little Book of Restorative Justice are some of the books in the series that are perfect for newer D&D practitioners - or not-so-newbies looking to expand their skill set.
Daniel Yankelovich. Simon and Schuster, 1999.
Dialogue--a carefully structured communications technique that is generally employed to promote mutual understanding between bona fide as well as potential adversaries--has been responsible for such seminal events as ending the cold war and initiating (albeit briefly) a Middle East peace accord. But business, says well-known social scientist and public-opinion specialist Daniel Yankelovich, also can utilize the process to develop "webs of relationships" that encourage the acceptance and increase the adoption of any company's plans and visions.
The Next Form of Democracy: How Expert Rule Is Giving Way to Shared Governance... and Why Politics Will Never Be the Same
Matt Leighninger. Vanderbilt University Press, 2006.
Beneath the national radar, the relationship between citizens and government is undergoing a dramatic shift. More than ever before, citizens are educated, skeptical, and capable of bringing the decision-making process to a sudden halt. Public officials and other leaders are tired of confrontation and desperate for resources. In order to address persistent challenges like education, race relations, crime prevention, land use planning, and economic development, communities have been forced to find new ways for people and public servants to work together. The stories of civic experiments in this book can show us the realpolitik of deliberative democracy, and illustrate how the evolution of democracy is already reshaping politics.
Peter S. Adler, Janesse Brewer, and Caelan McGee. The Keystone Center. August 24, 2007.
Between November 2005 and June 2007, a team from The Keystone Center helped organize and implement a multiparty negotiation process aimed at increased redress for people affected by river contamination from the Ok Tedi Mine in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Ok Tedi is often cited as one of the worst man-made environmental disasters in the world. It is also a true sustainability dilemma. The mine produces 20% of PNG?s gross domestic product but it has also disrupted the traditional food webs and lives of more than 50,000 people by putting 90,000 tons of rock waste and tailings per day into the Fly River system. Download the 34-page report directly from the NCDD website.
The People Speak (TPS) engages people of all ages and backgrounds in thoughtful discussions about the value of international cooperation for the U.S. and the world. From September 1 to November 30 each year, TPS partners organize thousands of events around the U.S. and the world to explore emerging global challenges and opportunities.
Jonathan Kuttab. Conflict Resolution Center International Newsletter, January 1998, pp 25-26, 1998.
This article, written by a Palestinian attorney with many years of dialogue experience, describes some common problems with intergroup dialogue and suggests some basic solutions. Kuttab says at the end of the article, "I have written some harsh words about dialogue and its pitfalls; yet I am still a firm believer in it. Peace, justice and reconciliation can be advanced tremendously by an open dialogue between members of the oppressed group and those who are willing among the oppressor society."
Robert A. Baruch Bush and Joseph P. Folger. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1994.
The award-winning first edition of The Promise of Mediation is a landmark classic that changed the field's understanding of the theory and practice of conflict intervention. The volume first articulated the 'transformative model' of mediation, which greatly humanized the vision of how the mediation process could help parties in conflict. In the past decade, the transformative model has proved itself and gained increasing acceptance.
Frances Moore Lappe and Paul Martin Du Bois. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Inc. Publishers, 1994.
This book reveals how a new citizen-driven approach to solving community problems is working - in local government, education, the workplace, human services and the media. The authors criss-crossed America in search of democracy in action and found moving stories of ordinary people coming together to make their institutions meet their needs.
The Skilled Facilitator: A Comprehensive Resource for Consultants, Facilitators, Managers, Trainers, and Coaches, 2nd Edition
Roger M. Schwarz. Jossey-Bass Publishers, 2002.
When it was published in 1994, Roger Schwarz's The Skilled Facilitator earned widespread critical acclaim and became a landmark in the field. The book is a classic work for consultants, facilitators, managers, leaders, trainers, and coaches--anyone whose role is to facilitate and guide groups toward realizing their creative and problem-solving potential. This thoroughly revised edition provides essential materials for facilitators and includes simple but effective ground rules for group interaction.
How can we generate the collective wisdom to creatively address our 21st century problems, opportunities and dreams? The Tao of Democracy offers hundreds of ideas and tools to heal and transform the world, including new forms of activism, citizenship and politics; ways to bring wisdom to politics and governance; and powerful approaches to collaboration, dialogue and deliberation.
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