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The Virtual Agora Project was a 3-year e-democracy project run by Carnegie Mellon University's Institute for the Study of Information Technology and Society (InSiTeS) and funded generously by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). The research team, led by faculty members Peter M. Shane, Peter Muhlberger and Robert Cavalier, sought to develop and test software that would enable large numbers of citizens to use the Internet more effectively to learn about, deliberate and act upon community issues.
In June 2004, Let's Talk America and the Democracy In America Project, two dialogue initiatives aimed at healing the left-right divide, co-hosted two dozen thought leaders from across the political spectrum at the Seasons Conference Center at the Fetzer Institute in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to explore the potential to bridge their political differences through dialogue. It worked better than anyone dared hope. Shared concerns and perspectives bubbled up in the space of dialogue that never show their faces in debates. On Sunday, June 13, 2004, after two and a half days of powerful dialogue, the group decided to sign a declaration.
This non-profit organization is dedicated to developing innovative Web-based projects that bring fresh perspectives and new voices to the discussion of public issues. The goal of the organization is to use the Web as a positive, transformative force in people's lives and in society at large.
Web Lab's Small Group Dialogue (SGD) Process is a more perfect discussion tool built to foster intimate, high-quality online exchanges. By limiting group size and lifespan, Small Group Dialogue emphasizes each member's value, encouraging a sense of belonging and an investment in frequent visits. The result is a structured experience requiring minimal intervention, and an astonishing signal-to-noise ratio unmatched in any conventional online dialogue model.
Deliberation can be used to solve problems, make decisions, produce recommendations, identify choices, and develop action plans. The various models and methods that are used in our field often emphasize, strive for and obtain different outcomes. Click on this resource for eight definitions of deliberation from leaders in the field.
Dialogue and deliberation are dynamic processes which can be empathy-enhancing, relationship-changing, problem-solving, action-planning, organization-developing, community-building, conflict-resolving, skill developing, prejudice reducing, consciousness-raising, and more! The various models and methods that are used in our field often emphasize, strive for and obtain different outcomes. Click on this resource for quotes from over a dozen leaders in the D&D community about what "dialogue" means to them.
Sandy Heierbacher, National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD).
This short piece was written by Sandy Heierbacher, NCDD's Director, to accompany and hopefully add clarity to the definitions of dialogue and deliberation posted on the NCDD website. Feedback (good or bad) is welcomed - [email protected].
Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D.. New York, NY: Basic Books, 1997.
Anyone who's been to a high school or college has noted how students of the same race seem to stick together. Beverly Daniel Tatum has noticed it too, and she doesn't think it's so bad. As she explains in this provocative book, these students are in the process of establishing and affirming their racial identity. As Tatum sees it, blacks must secure a racial identity free of negative stereotypes. The challenge to whites, on which she expounds, is to give up the privilege that their skin color affords and to work actively to combat injustice in society.
There so many fabulous organizations promoting and organizing dialogues and deliberative forums today. Here are some of their reasons for fostering dialogue and deliberation.
Jim Rough and Deanna Martin.
Here are the five great handouts from "The Wisdom Council: A Tool for Empowering 'We the People'" - facilitated by Jim Rough and Deanna Martin at the 2006 NCDD Conference in San Francisco.
Juanita Brown and David Isaacs from Whole Systems Associates use the model of the cafe setting to create a warm, inviting environment in which people can converse. Participants gather informally at small tables and are encouraged to map out the ideas generated from conversation onto the paper table cloths covering the tables.
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