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The Triangle of Engagement: An Unusual Way of Looking at the Usual Suspects Highly Recommended

John May. Public Money and Management 27 (1), 69–75., 2007.

This paper, written primarily for practitioners and commissioners of public participation and community engagement, introduces the "Triangle of Engagement," which postulates that the higher the level of engagement required from participants, the fewer people there are who are willing or able to make this commitment. Some of the implications of this model for the practice of public participation are then considered.

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The Understanding Process Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Experience has demonstrated that the Understanding Process is valuable as a mode of prevention as well as intervention in existing conflicts and is being used effectively in: improving public conversations about controversial issues, team and community building, leadership development, creative approaches to problems and issues, and working with groups as well as interpersonal dyadic communication.

The World Café Listserv Highly Recommended

The World Cafe.

This listserv is focused on creating a community of dialogic practice based on the Principles of the World Cafe.

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Thinking About Governance: A Draft Discussion Paper Recently Updated Highly Recommended

Miriam Wyman, Practicum Limited. Prepared for The Commonwealth Foundation Citizens and Governance Programme, 2001.

This 54-page paper explores a range of thinking on government and governance and the stakeholders or partners in it. It examines citizens' perspectives on governance as well as the roles that citizens can, and are willing to play in civil society. It then identifies issues, questions and challenges that arise from the literature and which limit or constrain citizens' involvement in governance. A range of principles and tools are set out which can help actualise citizens' roles in governance. The paper concludes with ways to further develop discussion and understanding of governance in order to move toward genuinely participatory governance.

Resource Link: Great for Beginners Highly Recommended is sponsored by the Global Negotiation Project at Harvard University. The idea of the Third Side and the initial content of this website are drawn from Bill Ury's book The Third Side: Why We Fight and How We Can Stop. offers numerous tools for negotiation, including high school and college curriculua, workshop facilitators' guides, Third Side stories and case studies, and a variety of exercises.

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Thriving Communities: Working together to move from poverty to prosperity for all Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Study Circles Resource Center.

The fact that no community can succeed when some or most of its residents are in poverty spurred the creation of this discussion guide. Developed jointly by the Study Circles Resource Center and the Northwest Area Foundation, the guide is designed to help communities involve people in conversations that lead to community change. Field tested in 16 communities by more than 500 participants, the five-session discussion guide helps people look at poverty in their community and discuss what it looks like, why it exists, and what can and should be done about it.

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Tip Sheet on Dialogue Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Elisabeth Díaz, United Nations Development Programme.

This 7-page tip sheet provides a basic introduction to the concept of dialogue. It also outlines the main elements defining dialogue as an approach and as a process, its key applications and the practical implications for programming. The tip sheet is aimed at practitioners, program managers in aid agencies and civil society organizations who may wish to promote or organize dialogue processes. It also seeks to be useful to all individuals and organizations concerned with development and peace-building from bilateral and multilateral donors or in a partner country.

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Together We Can Highly Recommended

Together We Can is the U.K. government campaign to bring government and people closer together, encouraging public bodies to do more to enable people to influence local decisions. The Together We Can website provides information about sources of help including organisations, sources of funding, and advice. As it grows it will provide case studies to show how issues have been successfully tackled throughout the U.K. and give links to research and reports that help explain what works and why. It also aims to provide easy access to government policy documents, which can provide valuable insight into the programmes and initiatives being promoted by government departments and their partners.

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Tools to Support Participatory Urban Decision Making Recently Updated Highly Recommended

United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (UNCHS Habitat), 2001.

Over many years, experience has shown that cities find it useful to involve a broad range of stakeholders including the often marginalised groups in urban decision-making. Such participatory processes have yielded far reaching results in alleviating poverty and improving the living conditions in the urban environment. A wide range of participatory decision support tools have as a result been developed and practised. The United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), through its various regional and international programmes working with cities, has been part of this experience, participating in the development, refining and application of these tools. This 156-page toolkit is part of the Urban Governance Toolkit Series.

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Towards the Construction of a Dialogue Typology Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Elena Díez-Pinto, United Nations Development Programme.

A diagnostic and organizational tool for those seeking a deeper understanding of diverse dialogue experiences. This 12-page working document categorizes dialogues according to purpose (what dialogues intend to achieve), context (under what conditions dialogues unfold) and outputs (what dialogues produce).

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Trainer's Manual: Getting The Most Out Of Consensus Processes Highly Recommended

Chris Carlson, Policy Consensus Institute.

This Trainer's Manual, designed as a "workshop for public officials," provides essential information for any individual, agency or organization that participates in a collaborative process. The workshop is presented in eight modules, each covering an aspect of what has been found to be the "best practices" in participating in a collaborative or consensus building process. It is based on the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution (SPIDR) Report, "Best Practices for Government Agencies: Guidelines for Using Agreement-Seeking Processes."

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Transformative Framework Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

The transformative framework was first articulated by Robert A. Baruch Bush and Joseph P. Folger in The Promise of Mediation in 1994. Since then, transformative theory and practice has grown and is used in mediation, facilitation, and conflict management training all over the world.

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U.S. Consensus Council Highly Recommended

In April 2003, legislation was introduced in Congress to establish the United States Consensus Council (USCC), which would serve the nation by promoting consensus-based solutions to important national legislative policy issues. The USCC would convene the stakeholders on a given issue and seek to build 'win/win' agreements - those that reach the highest common denominator among the parties.

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United States Institute of Peace Highly Recommended

The USIP is an independent, nonpartisan federal institution created and funded by Congress to strengthen the nation's capacity to promote the peaceful resolution of international conflict. Established in 1984, the Institute provides an array of programs, including grants, fellowships, conferences and workshops, library services, publications, and other educational activities. The Jeannette Rankin Library Program supports the information and research needs of the Institute's programs and outside practitioners, researchers, libraries and the public through collections, services, networks, cooperative relationships, grants and outreach activities.

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University of Massachusetts, Amherst - Social Justice Education Program Highly Recommended

Social Justice Education is an interdisciplinary program of study with a focus on social diversity and social justice education particularly as they apply to formal educational systems, kindergarten through higher education. The masters concentration focuses on reflective practice; the doctoral concentration focuses on research informed by reflective practice. Our goals are to generate knowledge about social justice education and to apply new knowledge to the design and delivery of effective social justice educational programs. The Social Justice Education Program boasts a strong intergroup dialogue component run by Ximena Zuniga.

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University of Michigan - Program on Intergroup Relations (IGR) Highly Recommended

IGR is a social justice education program which works proactively to promote understanding of intergroup relations throughout the student community. It assists students as they explore models of intergroup understanding and cooperation while acknowledging differences between and within groups. A number of other universities have used IGR as a model for developing similar programs.

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University of Minnesota - Center for Democracy and Citizenship Highly Recommended

The Center for Democracy and Citizenship is a University of Minnesota resource based in the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. Its mission is to promote democracy and strengthen citizenship and civic education within a variety of settings, with a special emphasis on youth. The Center focuses on developing practice-based theory about how to engage citizens in public life.

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University of Pennsylvania - Penn National Commission on Society, Culture and Community Highly Recommended

From 1996 to 1999, the Penn National Commission sought to understand the problems of contemporary public discussion and behavior and to foster more engaged and thoughtful conversations about social issues. With the research phase of the Commission's work completed, the Penn Public Talk Project is now engaged in the programmatic phase, working to improve the practice of robust public discourse in ways that lead to stronger, more inclusive communities.

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Using the Power to Convene: A ‘How to’ for Legislative Leaders Highly Recommended

Policy Consensus Initiative.

This handout from PCI offers eight suggestions for how public officials can be effective conveners.

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Victim-Offender Mediation (VOM) Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Victim Offender Mediation is a face-to-face meeting, in the presence of a trained mediator, between the victim of a crime and the person who committed that crime. The practice is also called victim-offender dialogue, victim-offender conferencing, victim-offender reconciliation, or restorative justice dialogue. In some practices, the victim and the offender are joined by family and community members or others.

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