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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.

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Option Technologies, Inc. Highly Recommended

Option Technologies provides interactive tools that improve group collaboration and decision-making in either face-to-face or multi-site meetings. Ideal for immediate assessment or rating lists of brainstormed ideas 'on-the-fly,' OTI's OptionFinder technology polls meeting participants who then respond from their pocket PC, computer, or wireless keypad. OTI's facilitator-friendly solutions include easy-to-use, PowerPoint-based software and portable, cost-effective response keypad options. AmericaSpeaks uses Option Technologies for the keypads each participant uses during their 21st Century Town Meetings.

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Orangeband Initiative Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

The OrangeBand Initiative is promoting conversation about what matters, and YOU decide what matters. Begun at James Madison University in Virginia, over 8,500 people have OrangeBands and chapters are starting around the USA and beyond. Your OrangeBand is an issue, idea, concern, or topic you think is important to bring into conversation. OrangeBands (orange strips of fabric you attach to your bag) serve as invitations to respectful conversation about issues that we feel are important to talk about. The idea is simply to get an OrangeBand, put it someplace visible, and use it to spark a conversation - hopefully with someone who thinks differently.

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Organization Development Network Highly Recommended

The Organization Development Network is an international professional association of organization development practitioners. The OD Network is dedicated to being a leader in the advancement of the theory and practice of organization development.

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Organizing Community-Wide Dialogue for Action and Change Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Study Circles Resource Center, 2001.

A comprehensive guide to help you develop a community-wide study circle program from start to finish. Study Circles are at the heart of a process for public dialogue and community change. This process begins with community organizing, and is followed by facilitated, small-group dialogue that leads to a range of outcomes. Study circles don't advocate a particular solution. Instead, they welcome many points of view around a shared concern.

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Palestinian and Jewish Recipes for Peace Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group, 2004.

This unique 100-page, illustrated cookbook celebrates 12 years of sustained relationship building and community outreach by the Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group of San Mateo County, California. In addition to 71 wonderful recipes, the book includes dialogue participants' narratives about childhood memories of family and food. The book provides windows into the two cultures about how food is vital to celebrations, holidays, and identity for both peoples. The book also contains guidelines for how to begin a Sustained Dialogue and ideas for events, ceremonies, and outreach to the public.

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Participatory Budgeting in Brazil: Contestation, Cooperation, and Accountability Highly Recommended

Brian Wampler. Penn State University Press, 2007.

In this first rigorous comparative study of participatory budgeting in Brazil, Wampler draws evidence from eight municipalities in Brazil to show the varying degrees of success and failure PB has experienced. He identifies why some PB programs have done better than others in achieving the twin goals of ensuring governmental accountability and empowering citizenship rights for the poor residents of these cities in the quest for greater social justice and a well-functioning democracy. Most scholarly literature on Brazil's experiments in participatory budgeting has focused on the successful case of Porto Alegre and has neglected to analyze how it fared elsewhere. Wampler is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Boise State University.

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Partnerships Online Highly Recommended

David Wilcox's Partnerships Online site focuses on collaboration, including how technology can help people build partnerships, networks, participation. The Partnerships Online site is a mix of personal observations and insights from projects Wilcox works on with other people, mainly in the UK. It includes blog items, web pages and bookmarks mainly focused on how to make collaborations work through facilitation in workshops and online, with various digital technologies.

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PEACEMAKERS: Palestinians & Jews Together at Camp Highly Recommended

Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group & Camp Tawonga, California, USA, 2007.

This 83-minute film shows how a Palestinian-Jewish Dialogue and an 85-year-old camp bought together in the California mountains 140 Muslims, Jews and Christians of all ages, including some from Israel and Palestine. They discover one another and their ability to communicate and cooperate in new ways. Back down the mountain, they hold a public event in San Francisco to tell the community about their struggles and breakthroughs. Len and Libby Traubman are distributing DVDs of their films “Dialogue at Washington High” and “PEACEMAKERS: Palestinians & Jews Together at Camp” at no charge to whoever will use them.

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Pedagogy of the Oppressed Highly Recommended

Paulo Freire.

The thought and work of Paulo Freire has had a fundamental impact in the field of education and on the overall struggle for national development in the South. In this landmark account, first published over 20 years ago, Paulo Freire argues that the ignorance and lethargy of the poor are the direct result of the systems of economic, social and political domination.

People & Participation: How to put citizens at the heart of decision-making Highly Recommended

Involve, 2005.

This 116-page guide was developed for public bodies such as local authorities, government departments or other statutory agencies who commission or deliver participatory processes; those with similar roles in the voluntary and private sectors; and people who want to know what to expect when they get involved in decision-making processes. This document is the first publication from UK-based Involve. It is based on research funded by the Home Office Civil Renewal Unit during 2004/5. Involve aims to create new systems that enable people to influence decisions and get involved in actions that affect their lives.

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Pioneers of Change Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Pioneers of Change is a global learning network of young people, in their 20's and 30's, who have committed to be themselves, do what matters, start now, engage with others, and never stop asking questions. The "pioneers" include social entrepreneurs, corporate and NGO professionals, civil servants, artists, teachers, and free agents from a variety of cultural and social backgrounds. Founded in 1999, Pioneers of Change today engages over 2000 participants in over 70 countries.

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Planning Public Forums: Questions to Guide Local Officials Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Terry Amsler (Primary Contributor). The Institute for Local Government of the Collaborative Governance Initiative, 2007.

This 21-page guidebook outlines practical steps to help local agencies build their capacity to use public forums effectively. While there are many approaches to involving the broader community in public decision-making, this guide focuses on designing appropriate forums for public deliberation. Typically in such forums, members of the public participate in reasoned discussions that result in new ideas, visions, general preferences, or detailed recommendations. In turn, these results are considered by policymakers and help shape public decisions and actions. Each community has its own unique conditions and interests when confronting a challenging issue or controversy.

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Podcasting: A New Tool to Plant and Sow the Seeds of Negotiation and Mediation Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Joshua N. Weiss, Ph.D., Global Negotiation Project at Harvard’s Program on Negotiation, Associate Director.

We live in a world of instant information. We live in a world of simplicity. We live in a world that desparately needs negotiation and mediation skills and processes. Podcasting enables practitioners and scholars of negotiation and mediation to extend our reach and explain concepts simply, in an unfiltered manner, to a large number of people around the globe. If 3,800 people have downloaded my Podcasts over the past four months alone, imagine what would happen if we had legions of Podcasters spreading the message that negotiation and mediation are invaluable tools to have in your toolbox. I am hard pressed to think of something that would help our field more...aren’t you?

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Politalk Highly Recommended

Politalk is a nonpartisan forum for moderated email discussions on important social and political topics of the day. Politalk was founded in 1999 as a response to the often shallow ranting that seems to dominate so many internet discussions. Politalk hoped to distinguish itself in three ways: by focusing on only one topic at a time for a limited period of time (2-4 weeks); by having an active moderator to keep the discussion on topic and civil; and by inviting guest commentators to add depth to the discussions. Politalk plans and hosts online events and forums, and provides consultation, workshops and training sessions.

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Political Communication and Deliberation Highly Recommended

John Gastil. Sage Publications, 2008.

Political Communication and Deliberation takes a unique approach to the field of political communication by viewing key concepts and research through the lens of deliberative democratic theory. This is the first text to argue that communication is central to democratic self-governance primarily because of its potential to facilitate public deliberation. Thus, it offers political communication instructors a new perspective on familiar topics, and it provides those teaching courses on political deliberation with their first central textbook. This text offers students practical theory and experience, teaching them skills and giving them a more direct understanding of the various subtopics in public communication.

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Politics for People: Finding a Responsible Public Voice (Second Edition) Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

David Mathews, Kettering Foundation. Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1999.

Americans make no secret of their disenchantment with the political system. This book is about Americans who are looking for ways to build civic communities and generate the political energy necessary to define and express the public will. This second edition contains compelling new material on the National Issues Forums convened in libraries, churches, prisons, and schools across the country. 275 pages.

Power to the Edges: Trends and Opportunities in Online Civic Engagement Highly Recommended

Jillaine Smith, Martin Kearns and Allison Fine. The E-Volve Foundation and Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement, 2005.

This 43-page report is a snapshot of the current state of online democracy in the age of connectivity brought about by the Internet and other digital information technologies. The implications for nonprofit organizations are significant and challenging. The authors urge nonprofits and the funders who support them to integrate online and offline activities, leverage and strengthen networks of activists and brandish a new set of leadership skills that are facilitative and inclusive.

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Public Conversations Project Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

In addition to their groundbreaking grassroots dialogue work, PCP provides trainings, presentations, and workshops on such things as the power of dialogue, inquiry as intervention, and the architecture of dialogue. PCP's website offers a variety of great tools and downloadable resources to help you organize and facilitate a dialogue.

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Public Conversations Project - various workshops Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

The Public Conversations Project offers workshops to help participants experience and understand the values, principles and premises that guide their work and practices. These workshops invite practitioners to develop a 'reflective dialogic mindset' in which alignment is sought between belief, intention and action. Two of PCP's popular workshops are The Power of Dialogue and Inquiry as Intervention.

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Public Conversations Project's Approach Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

PCP's mission is to foster a more inclusive, empathic and collaborative society by promoting constructive conversations and relationships among those who have differing values, world views, and positions about divisive public issues. Since 1990, PCP has convened, designed, and facilitated numerous dialogues on a variety of controversial public issues, including abortion, the environment, population and development, sexual orientation and religion, and economic difference.

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