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Most Highly Recommended Resources

These resources are recommended highly by NCDD for many reasons. Some are highly regarded by practitioners or scholars. Some have caused a buzz in the field. Some have proven themselves to be highly effective when put into practice. And some are just the best resources of their kind. As these distinctions are highly subjective, we are open to your feedback and ideas for other resources we should recommend.

Here are all of the resources in this category that NCDD recommends most highly. Too many choices? Narrow your results

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A Handbook of International Peacebuilding: Into The Eye Of The Storm Highly Recommended

John Paul Lederach and Janice Moomaw Jenner, Editors. Jossey-Bass, 2002.

This handbook offers conflict resolution professionals working in foreign countries a critical, step-by-step guide for dealing with difficult and potentially dangerous disputes in other nations. The editors have gathered a stellar panel of seasoned experts who illustrate how to approach international peacebuilding with effective actions and approaches gained through experience that will contribute ultimately to a more positive outcome. Based on the experience of the contributors' work as global peace brokers, the book includes a wide array of guidelines, pragmatic approaches, and models of constructive, culturally appropriate ways to respond to conflict.

Resource Link: http://www.josseybass.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0787958794.html

A Manual for Group Facilitators Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Brian Auvine. Center for Conflict Resolution; reprinted by the Fellowship for Intentional Community, 1981.

The role of group facilitator is often pivotal to good results for groups making the transition to consensus. The Manual is a great introduction to the concept of approaching the role of facilitator as someone who welcomes both rational and emotional input. The staff of the Center for Conflict Resolution put their experience in working with groups into A Manual for Group Facilitators. This is an informal outline detailing useful and effective techniques to help groups work well. More than a simple 'how to,' the manual contains a discussion of the values, dynamics, and common sense behind group process that have been verified by our own experience.

Resource Link: http://store.ic.org

A Practical Guide to Consensus Highly Recommended

Chris Carlson and Jim Arthur. Policy Consensus Institute.

This 75-page step-by-step handbook walks readers through the stages of sponsoring, organizing, and participating in a public policy consensus process. Designed primarily for government agencies or departments, the guide also is useful for any other sponsor of - or participant in - a consensus building process.

Resource Link: http://www.policyconsensus.org

A Public Peace Process: Sustained Dialogue to Transform Racial and Ethnic Conflicts Highly Recommended

Harold H. Saunders, International Institute for Sustained Dialogue. St. Martin's Press, 1999.

Harold Saunders, former Assistant Secretary of State and negotiator of the Camp David Accords and now Director of International Programs at the Kettering Foundation, distills over 35 years of experience working with conflicts across the globe. This book describes how sustained dialogue can help conflicting groups of citizens move toward resolution.

Art, Dialogue, Action, Activism: Case Studies from Animating Democracy Highly Recommended

Americans for the Arts' Animating Democracy Initiative, 2005.

This 114-page book opens with an essay by Detroit-based activist, cultural worker, and nonagenarian, Grace Lee Boggs. The book’s case studies feature projects by the Council for the Arts of Greater Lima and Sojourn Theatre on longstanding issues of race and trust among city and county leaders, Los Angeles Poverty Department on the advent of crack in the United States and drug policy reform, The Esperanza Peace and Justice Center on engaging disenfranchised people in dialogue and action on current issues of cultural equity and democracy, and Out North Contemporary Art House on the role of same-sex couples in society.

Resource Link: http://americans4thearts.stores.yahoo.net/noname.html

Beyond Neutrality: Confronting the Crisis in Conflict Resolution Highly Recommended

Bernard Mayer. Jossey-Bass, 2004.

In this thought-provoking, passionately written book, Mayer - an internationally acclaimed leader in the field - dares practitioners to ask the hard questions about alternative dispute resolution (ADR). What’s wrong with conflict resolution? Why aren’t more individuals and organizations using conflict resolution when they have a problem? Why doesn’t the public know more about it? What are the limits of conflict resolution? When does conflict resolution work and when does it not? Offering a committed practitioner’s critique of the profession of mediation, arbitration, and ADR, Beyond Neutrality focuses on the current crisis in the field of conflict resolution and offers a pragmatic response.

Resource Link: http://www.josseybass.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0787968064.html

Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Robert D. Putnam. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000.

Putnam shows how we have become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, neighbors and our democratic structures - and how we may reconnect. Putnam warns that our stock of social capital - the very fabric of our connections with each other, has plummeted, impoverishing our lives and communities. But America has civicly reinvented itself before, and can do it again.

Resource Link: http://www.bowlingalone.com

Building Communities from the Inside Out: A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing a Community's Assets Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

John P Kretzmann and John L. McKnight, Asset-Based Community Development Institute (ABCD). Evanston, IL: The Asset-Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University's Institute for Policy Research, 1993.

This book includes a step-by-step description of asset-based community development, a strengths-based approach for identifying and building upon the human resources that are already present in any community.

Resource Link: http://www.northwestern.edu/ipr/abcd.html

Building Deliberative Communities Highly Recommended

Michael Briand. Pew Partnership for Civic Change, 1995.

A 36-page booklet introduces the reader to the role deliberation can play in creating new opportunities for communities to work together in more productive ways. The report draws on statistical and educational research to support the thesis that deliberative discussions can help a community learn its own strengths and weaknesses and can help bolster its confidence in its ability to change itself for the better. Using a Community Convention (a contemporary version of the New England town meeting) as a vehicle, the report explores the possibility of achieving a representative voice from all community segments.

Building United Judgment: A Handbook for Consensus Decision-Making Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Michael Avery, Brian Auvine, Barbara Streible and Lonnie Weiss. Center for Conflict Resolution; reprinted by the Fellowship for Intentional Community, 1981.

Consensus decision making in groups can maximize cooperation and participation of all group members. Consensus brings together the needs, resources, and ideas of every group member by means of a supportive creative structure. This classic introduction to secular consensus was recently brought back into print by the Fellowship for Intentional Community. It is an excellent explanation of what it means to make the switch from voting to consensus, and how to unlock the potential of groups working with the whole person. Highly recommended, it is the companion publication to A Manual for Group Facilitators.

Resource Link: http://store.ic.org

By Popular Demand: Revitalizing Representative Democracy Through Deliberative Elections Highly Recommended

John Gastil. University of California Press, 2000.

Building on the success of citizen juries and deliberative polling, Gastil proposes improving our current process by convening randomly selected panels of citizens to deliberate for several days on ballot measures and candidates. Voters would learn about the judgments of these citizen panels through voting guides and possibly information printed on official ballots. The result would be a more representative government and a less cynical public.

Resource Link: http://faculty.washington.edu/jgastil/

Calling the Circle: The First and Future Culture Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Christina Baldwin, Peer Spirit. Bantam, 1998.

The original small-press edition of Calling the Circle has become one of the key resources for the rapidly-growing 'circle' movement. This newly revised edition brings Baldwin's work to an even broader audience ranging from women's spirituality groups to corporate development teams. Includes detailed instructions and suggestions for getting started, setting goals, and solving disagreements safely and respectfully.

Resource Link: http://www.peerspirit.com

Changing the Way We Govern: Building Democratic Governance in your Community Highly Recommended

National League of Cities, 2006.

Drawing on case studies of successful projects, this guide: explains how to educate, involve, and mobilize citizens in a variety of events and initiatives; describes how communities have used democratic governance approaches to address key issues; builds on city strategies for accomplishing key tasks using shorter-term mechanisms; and describes some of the more permanent, structural forms of democratic governance that have emerged recently. Changing the Way We Govern is an essential tool for anyone who is tired of the conflict and apathy created by old-fashioned citizen involvement methods – and who wants to tap into the full potential of citizens and public life.

Resource Link: http://www.thataway.org/exchange/files/docs/NLC-ChangingTheWay.pdf

Civic Dialogue, Arts & Culture: Findings from Animating Democracy Highly Recommended

Americans for the Arts, 2005.

This 312-page book from Animating Democracy explores the power of the arts and humanities to foster civic engagement while advancing possibilities for arts and humanities organizations to be vital civic as well as cultural institutions. From 2000 to 2004, Americans for the Arts, with support from the Ford Foundation, implemented Animating Democracy, an initiative to foster artistic activities encouraging civic dialogue on important contemporary issues. This book examines the experiences of 37 arts and humanities projects, realized by a wide range of cultural organizations. These projects explored such issues as race relations, economic inequity, gentrification, school violence, the role of same-sex couples in society, and the influx of immigrants and refugees in communities, among others.

Resource Link: http://americans4thearts.stores.yahoo.net/civdialarcul.html

Civic Innovation in America: Community Empowerment, Public Policy and the Movement for Civic Renewal Highly Recommended

Carmen Sirianni and Lewis Friedland, Civic Practices Network. University of California Press, 2001.

This book is a scholarly examination of the civic renewal movement that has emerged in the United States in recent decades. In contrast to some recent studies that stress broad indicators of civic decline, this study analyzes innovation as a long process of social learning within specific institutional and policy domains with complex challenges and cross-currents. The study is based upon interviews with more than 400 innovative practitioners, as well as extensive field observation, case study, action research and historical analysis.

Resource Link: http://www.cpn.org

Coming to Public Judgment: Making Democracy Work in a Complex World Highly Recommended

Daniel Yankelovich, Public Agenda. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1991.

Yankelovich, co-founder of Public Agenda, focuses on the public's waning ability to influence its future and offers a prescription for strengthening the public's hand in the 'silent power struggle' with the experts.

Resource Link: http://www.publicagenda.org

Consensus Through Conversation: How to Achieve High-Commitment Decisions Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Larry Dressler. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2006.

At a time when organizational hierarchies are flattening, workforces are becoming more geographically dispersed, and workers are demanding a say in what they do, consensus is more needed than ever. Consensus Through Conversation guides leaders and facilitators toward the proper use of consensus and away from applications that create the 'illusion of inclusion' and false agreement. It is a handy, vital reference readers can turn to in their efforts build enthusiasm and commitment on high-stakes issues.

Resource Link: http://www.consensustools.com

Creating a Culture of Collaboration: The International Association of Facilitators Handbook Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Sandy Schuman. Jossey-Bass, 2006.

Collaboration is often viewed as a one-time or project-oriented activity. An increasing challenge is to help organizations incorporate collaborative values and practices in their everyday ways of working. In Creating a Culture of Collaboration, an international group of practitioners and researchers – from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, and the United States – provide proven approaches to creating a culture of collaboration within and among groups, organizations, communities, and societies.

Resource Link: http://www.josseybass.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0787981168.html

Creating a World that Works for All Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Sharif Abdullah, Commonway Institute. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publication, 1999.

Exclusivity - the desire to stay separate from other people - is at the root of most of the world's problems, according to Abdullah, who then presents a unique blueprint for social justice. Demonstrates how we can change our world by changing our consciousness. Reveals how to turn from a mentality that disconnects us to one that embraces the goals of restoring balance to the Earth and building community with all others.

Resource Link: http://www.commonway.org

Deepening Democracy: Institutional Innovations in Empowered Participatory Governance Highly Recommended

Archon Fung and Erik Olin Wright. Verso Press, 2003.

This book presents case studies which demonstrate how people are inventing new political forms that realize the deeper democratic ideal of government of, by and for the people. The four contemporary cases explore the participatory budgeting process in Porto Alegre; decentralized school councils and community policing groups in Chicago; stakeholder planning in environmental protection and habitat management; and new participatory governance structures in Kerala, India.

Resource Link: http://www.archonfung.net

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