Registration Open for “Making Every Voice Matter”    

Just a quick announcement from our friends at Everyday Democracy (formerly Study Circles Resource Center):

Registration is now open for the “Making Every Voice Matter” national conference hosted by Everyday Democracy on June 12-14 in Denver, Colorado. Learn and share the latest in making every voice matter for creating community change. Learn more at www.everyday-democracy.org/conference.

Mobilize.org Spring 2008 Internships    

Mobilize.org, an all-partisan network dedicated to educating, empowering, and energizing young people to increase civic engagement and political participation, has a handful of excellent intern opportunities available in both the Washington, D.C. and Berkeley, CA.

Mobilize.org works to show young people how public policy impacts our lives, and conversely the profound impact we can have on public policy. Their programs and projects are reflective of that belief. For more information on Mobilize.org, and their programs, please visit www.mobilize.org. Internships at Mobilize.org are hands on, high level opportunities to get involved in a fast-paced, youth-led, non-profit that works hard to ensure that the voices of the millennial generation are heard. Securing a Mobilize.org internship is generally a competitive process so they encourage you to get your application in early and contact the Mobilize.org staff if you have any questions or need additional information. For more information on internships available through Mobilize.org please contact Maya Enista, Chief Operating Officer, at [email protected].

Read all about the available internships after the break. (more…)

International Day for Sharing Life Stories    

The Museu da Pessoa (museudapessoa.net) and the Center for Digital Storytelling (storycenter.org) have recently launched a new website (ausculti.org) devoted to their campaign, the International Day for Sharing Life Stories. Dedicated to bringing people together to share stories on May 16th 2008, this event will be an opportunity for people around the world to gather in community halls, classrooms, public parks, theaters, auditoriums, as well websites, email exchanges, and virtual environments to hear each other’s stories. Detailed information can be found on the project’s website.

More about the host organizations after the break. (more…)

Early Registration for SoL’s Global Forum Ends Soon    

C. Sherry Immediato, managing director of the Society for Organizational Learning (solonline.org), has just sent us a message from her sabbatical in India to ask us to remind everyone that early registration for the 3rd SoL Global Forum will end on January 31st. Its a great opportunity to save a considerable amount on travel costs. From her email…

Early registration discounts make it easier to travel to Oman – these end January 31, 2008.  Please visit http://www.solonline.org to download an up-to-date brochure and to register.  And if you’ve already registered, pass this message along encouraging other colleagues to join you.

Read more from her message about the upcoming event in Oman after the break. (more…)

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2008 Americans for the Arts Convention    

American Evolution: Arts in the New Civic Life is the theme for this year’s Americans for the Arts (americansforthearts.org) annual convention in Philadelphia, June 20-22. Event information, including registration and a schedule of events can be found at the organization’s website.

Though not specifically a d&d event, it may appeal to those who appreciate the work of Americans for the Arts’ Animating Democracy Initiative (artsusa.org/animatingdemocracy), an NCDD member who we’ve worked closely with over the years.

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Call for Conference Proposals on Service Learning and Civic Engagement    

The Community College National Center for Community Engagement (CCNCCE) is now inviting proposal submissions to present at its 17th national annual conference, Recipes for Student Retention through Service Learning and Civic Engagement, to be held on May 21-23, 2008. The deadline for submitting proposals is February 4th, 2008.

Conference presentations are 1-hour or 90-minute sessions, which should be designed to be highly interactive. Proposals to present at the conference must be submitted in electronic form. In keeping with the conference theme, some of the issues you may wish to address in your workshop are: (more…)

Join a National Conversation about Energy    

The Kettering Foundation (www.kettering.org) and the National Issues Forums Institute (www.nifi.org) are inviting people and their communities to become part of a national conversation about energy and the choices that face the public and policymakers. The Kettering Foundation and Public Agenda will be preparing a national report detailing the outcomes of 2007 public deliberative forums held around the country using the National Issues Forums issue book titled The Energy Problem: Choices for an Uncertain Future. Groups or individuals who have led forums on this issue, or who are planning to, are invited to help make the upcoming report as representative as possible of the national conversation.

There is still time to help your community, organization, school, or group, be heard in a national deliberative conversation about energy. The Energy Problem issue book and free moderator guides may be ordered by calling 800-600-4060. If you would like more information about how to convene a forum on this topic in your community contact Ginny O’Connor at [email protected] or 800-443-7834, extension 870. Information from deliberative forums- especially completed post-forum questionnaires- are welcomed through November 15th, 2007. The information from forums held around the country will be included in a national report that will be released to the public and presented in Washington, DC. (more…)

Announcing Current TV’s Video Opinion Wall – and Your Chance to Get Involved!    

Here’s an important message to the NCDD community from Leah Lamb, who’s now the Director of Current TV’s Online Election Initiatives. Leah has been actively involved in NCDD since we formed in 2002, and I’m so excited that we have an “in” at Current TV. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Current TV is Al Gore’s youth-oriented cable channel that plays tons of high-quality “user generated content.” It’s starting to do for television what blogs and wikis have done for the web (democratize it). And here’s an opportunity for our community to get involved…

As Al Gore announced at the Emmy’s, he and Current TV are dedicated to democratizing media. I am excited to share with you a new web tool to do just that—be a place where regular people, celebrities, and political leaders can be on level playing ground to express their views on pressing social issues of the upcoming election.

But here’s the cool part — because here we are…in the future. The tool is designed to use video to show personal opinions. During its beta phase, Video Opinion Walls will be focused on the most urgent and important topics of debate: election-related issues. Users will be able to explore public opinion by selecting the topics they’re interested in—Iraq, health care, the environment, abortion, eventually even the local zoning ordinance — and then dive straight into first-person commentary from real people. Because it’s video, and because it’s real people (not pundits), the 60 second Video Opinions will offer an unprecedented view of politics: Instead of polarization and abstraction, you’ll see nuance and emotion….


SoL Joins Pegasus Conference This November    

This November, the Society for Organizational Learning (SoL) will hold a half-day general meeting for SoL members in conjunction with the Pegasus Systems Thinking in Action in Seattle, as well as organizing a SoL track at the conference. Members are invited to attend one event or both. For the 10th Anniversary meetings, members should sign up before September 1st to get a discounted registration of $95. To register, go to: http://store-solonline.org/10thAnniversaryMeeting.htm. The meeting will take place from 1:30 to 5:30, November 7, 2007 at the Westin Hotel in downtown Seattle, with an optional reception to follow.

This year’s Pegasus Conference, “Amplifying Our Impact: Strategies for Unleashing the Power of Relationship”, features many presentations by SoL members. SoL Keynotes include:

  • Presencing: Leading from the Future As It Emerges – Otto Scharmer (a pre-conference workshop is also available)
  • A Synergy of Action: Large-Scale Change Takes Flight at Boeing – Peter Weertman and Others from Boeing’s Commercial Aviation Services
  • Collaboration: The Human Face of Systems Thinking – Peter Senge (more…)

Saltman Institute Organizes Streetball for Peace    

The Saltman Institute for Conflict Resolution (www.law.unlv.edu/saltman.html) is sponsoring and organizing the program “Streetball Haifa.” The program is held in Israel and brings together Israeli and Palestinian youth, using sports as a bridge builder between the two populations. For more information on this innovative program that uses sport to engage in dialogue, contact: [email protected].

Amazing Faith of Texas: Beyond Dogma to Seek Out Common Ground    

A fellow user of the Omidyar Network recently pointed me to the Amazing Faith of Texas website, which I find interesting – a collection of stories, oral histories of an identity in a way, and an accompanying discussion guide geared toward helping groups find common ground in the values and shared experiences that often underlay religious belief in a state like Texas.

Here is the invitation:

“Travel slowly along the roads and highways of Texas, and you are less likely to miss the turns that lead you into the heart of this great state — to the places of amazing faith. From tiny churches on dusty back roads to temples, mosques, synagogues and megachurches along the highways, The Amazing Faith of Texas is a stunning exploration in words and pictures of the strong, abiding beliefs that sustain faith-filled Texans. Beliefs that transcend the boundaries of religion. Transcend the dogma. Transcend the differences. We have heard all we need to hear about what divides us when it comes to faith. Now let’s talk about the common ground that unites us.”

The authors of the collection, creators of the (in)famous “Don’t Mess with Texas” campaign and other state-level branding efforts explain their motivation:

“In the past years, it seemed that when it came to religion and faith, more was being reported about what divides Texans than what unites us. As a person who has spent most of my life trying in some small way to bring people together for the common good, that worried me. So I set out on a solitary road trip across Texas back in 2005 just to think about all that. I stopped at 123 churches along the way. What I experienced was not what I was hearing on the news. “

I haven’t had a chance to preview the book, so can’t really describe how many stories are included or really what they say. Nonetheless, it sounds like an interesting effort to bring people together across a challenging divide: the way we understand the influence (or lack thereof) of faith in our lives. The book is pretty slick from what I can tell, produced by the Austin-based marketing and ad agency GSD&M: lots of gorgeous images of beautiful and interesting people that we all want to relate to. Accompanied by a discussion kit that includes 14 “cards” representing fourteen stories contained in the volume along with related questions, its sure to be a useful discussion tool for faith-based and inter-faith discussions that seek out common ground.

Cindy Sheehan’s Farewell or, The Disappearing Act of the Left’s Strongest Voices and Why It Matters (Part I)    

The following article, which I first encountered at the humidbeings blog affected me too. As clear and as aching a voice as I’ve heard in a long time. I’ll get right to the point: what Cindy and John share here is a palpable, roiling anger. It is an anger I and many others feel. Its an anger a child soldier feels when they encounter the soothing voice of social workers for the first time, nurses and other civilians who seek them out in the first weeks of rehabilitation. It is an anger born in the collapse of myths around us, a pulverization of the stories and hopes that animate us – both as human beings and as a culture.

We don’t talk alot about anger in the dialogue and deliberation community – at least not directly. We talk about it “out there,” as if it affects other people but not ourselves. We talk about the other side, the healing. But not the churning journey itself. That is the stuff of story tellers, artists, vagabonds. At least that’s my impression. Is it a coincidence that much of what passes as the the “body politic” of the D&D community tends to talk about coming together, about common ground and the fusion of fates. While tending to vote a particular direction, tending to embrace particular secular and humanitarian values? The while perhaps while turning away from the time-tested tools of republic-building?

John Adams, Thomas Jefferson’s senior and equal by the pen if not the purse once spoke of the difficulty of getting 13 clocks to chime the hour in unison. When their energies unwind and inertia sets each piece more distant from the others, what mechanism exists to bind their chimes together again? Jeffersonians – in fact each and every member of the Continental Congress – were willing to risk their fortunes, their families and their lives for the American project. Today its seems more of us are willing to profit from the ailing enterprise and risk the lives of others for it than commit the sacrifices from which the our country was born.

A lot more after the break…


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Putting the Coffee On, Settling In    

Thanks for having me at NCDD! I’m pretty excited to be here and share ideas with all of you around the ways the arts can be used to improve and amplify the level of dialogue in our communities. I’ll also be sharing ideas and innovations from dialogue and deliberation on the ‘net. Finally, I’ll be very interested to explore how we can use tools like this blog and NCDD discussion boards to promote collaboration with the NCDD network.

I thought I’d use my first post to introduce a few things I’m pretty excited about these days – so here goes!

First is Netsquared’s upcoming conference May 29-30 in San Jose, California. The aim of this meeting is to bring together 21 awardees of this year’s Technology Innovation Fund and spur collaboration among these groups and their supporters. There are still some conference invitations available that can be requested online. If you are in the Bay area and interested in discovering ways the web can be used to advance the work of mission-driven organizations I recommend that you become a member of N2 and try and make this year’s meeting.

Something else that is new and on the horizon comes from Howard Rheingold, the visionary culture observer who brought us Smart Mobs. Howard is starting a new effort along with some of his colleagues from the Institute for the Future called “New Commons.” The idea Howard is working on, and I think it relates very closely to the D&D field (eg how we “govern” the commons) is to track and interpret emerging examples, practices, and principles of New Commons – resources identified as “commons” including the Internet, health care, urban space, the atmosphere, etc. For this exercise, Howard and his colleagues are viewing themselves as “naturalists” in the emerging landscape of new commons, collecting “specimens” and using them to understand this phenomenon from the bottom up. Check in at the ITF website or here for news when the project goes public.

Finally, this 9min video came in a copy of Wired Magazine this week. I liked the idea – that innovation can be found in the most unlikely places, and dialogue is at the center of exploration – and have been wondering how to scale it? Shell obviously has been pouring millions into scenarios and other methods for organizational learning, and some of this work has paid off. While its nice to see the rose-colored picture of humaneness and dedication reflected in this film, it also makes it a little too easy to forget about what is happening in terms of justice to our friends and family in places like Nigeria. What are your reactions to the video?

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CDR Associates Seeking Progam Manager    

CDR Associates, a non-profit conflict resolution firm, is looking for a Program Manager or Senior Program Manager to join their team of highly skilled mediators and facilitators in Boulder, Colorado. They are seeking an experienced individual trained in collaborative processes and able to add to their expertise in one or more of their practice areas: water, transportation, organizational/workplace, land development and sustainability. Visit the CDR Web announcement for details: www.mediate.org/pg35.cfm.

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IAP2’s 1st “Skills Symposium” in November    

Mark your calendars for the first-ever IAP2 Skills Symposium, which is scheduled to take place November 12-16, 2007 in Scottsdale, Arizona at the Chaparral Suites Resort.

In addition to IAP2’s certificate program, there will be dozens of professional development opportunities featuring Large group dynamics, Cultural identity, diversity and conflict, and Specific techniques for effective public participation. There will also be a research seminar, a core values awards celebration, and the annual general membership meeting.

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