headlines & inspiration

Crossing Arizona documenary on immigration worth checking out    

Here’s an interesting resource from Lindsay Dedo, Director of Educational Programming at The Cinema Guild. Sounds like a good film to lead into a timely dialogue on immigration – in the classroom, in libraries, and elsewhere…

This past weekend, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law the “nation’s toughest bill on illegal immigration,” (NY Times, April 23, 2010), which aims to identify and deport illegal immigrants from the state.  Highly controversial, the immigration issue has been a hotly-debated topic in Arizona politics in particular over the past few decades.  Rarely is this debate more thoroughly examined than in the award-winning film, CROSSING ARIZONA, a critical tool in educating students to all sides of this debate.

CROSSING ARIZONA, Directed by Joseph Mathew & Daniel DeVivo A Sundance festival favorite, Crossing Arizona offers a far-reaching and up-to-the-moment look at the hotly debated issue of illegal immigration as captured at America’s current flashpoint – the Arizona border. (more…)

Welcoming March’s new NCDD members    

13 fabulous new members joined NCDD last month (4 organizational members and 9 individual members), and 11 of our dues-paying members renewed their memberships (2 orgs and 9 individuals). 

We post these monthly summaries not only to welcome our new members and to thank those who re-upped, but also to help members connect with one another. Click on anyone’s name below to learn more about them and connect with them.

Our 4 new organizational members are:

  1. E-Democracy.org (Contact: Steven Clift)
  2. Harrison Associates (Roger Harrison)
  3. University of Wisconsin Colleges and University of Wisconsin-Extension (Stephan Gilchrist)
  4. California State University at Chico (Michael Briand)

Our 6 new dues-paying individual members are:

  1. Paul LeVasseur, Professor at the SIT Graduate Institute
  2. Steven Kull, Director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland
  3. Anne Dosher, Board Chair at The World Cafe Community Foundation
  4. Bonnie Beard, Founder and Executive Trustee of BRAC
 (Building Relationships Across Cultures)
  5. Amanda Roman, Executive Director of the Citizens in Charge Foundation
  6. Vanessa Stevens of Massachusetts

Our 3 new individual NCDD members (non-dues) are:

  1. John Cavanaugh at the Cross Cultural Communications, LLC
  2. Ben Simon at the University of Maryland
  3. Susan Schmidt of the Dallas Peace Center and The Global Peace Project

Last month, 9 NCDDers renewed their memberships – two organizations and 9 individuals.

The 2 organizational members who renewed are:

  1. Amherst College Center for Community Engagement (Molly Mead)
  2. Center for Voter Deliberation of Northern Virginia (Bill Corbett, Beth Offenbacker and Cindy Brookshire)

And 9 people renewed as dues-paying individual members:

  1. Philip Thomas at the Generative Change Community
  2. Noam Shore at Idealogue, Inc.
  3. Gilda Povolo at Grand Valley State University
  4. Julianna Padgett at Southern University’s New Orleans School of Social Work
  5. Douglas Crocker of California
  6. James Dubinsky at Virginia Tech
  7. Wendy Foxmyn, Consultant
  8. Linda Mather at Beacon Consulting Associates
9
  9. Phil Neisser at the SUNY Potsdam’s Department of Politics

To learn about other NCDD members (there are over 1,240 of us now!), find members in your state or city, etc., visit the NCDD members network at www.thataway.org/ncddnet/.

And to see if your membership is in good standing, search for yourself in the members network and look at what’s in the Member Type field in your profile. If it says “lapsed” or “non-dues-paying,” please consider becoming a current dues-paying member (see payment details here). You can also email office manager Joy Garman at [email protected] if you have questions about your status, need payment instructions, or want to change the info on your profile page.

NCDD’s 2010 Events…    

As many of you know, since 2002 NCDD has been holding biennial national conferences on the even years. We wanted to formally announce that in 2010, rather than holding a single National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation, we are in the process of mobilizing our members to organize a number of smaller one-day NCDD events.

We are looking into holding events in fall 2010 in the locations we feel best equipped to mobilize our members: Austin, San Francisco, Washington DC and Denver, where we’ve held past NCDD conferences, as well as cities like Boston and Portland where dialogue and deliberation are thriving.

We feel that holding regional, largely self-organized events in 2010 has the potential to move NCDD and the field forward in vital ways.  We hope the events will position members of the D&D community to successfully navigate new opportunities that are emerging in open government and online engagement so they can make a greater impact in their communities. (Learn more about our concept for the 2010 events.)

At this point, we are looking for dedicated people to help move things forward in most of the locations mentioned above. Our first priorities are (1) to find and secure affordable venues so we can set the dates and (2) to start identifying partners and co-sponsors who share our goals.  Please contact me (Sandy Heierbacher, NCDD’s Director) at [email protected] if you are interested in getting involved.

Identifying experts in keypad technology    

On Friday, I emailed NCDD’s main listserv to see who in the community has expertise in keypad technology.  Keypads are audience response devices that look like little calculators (learn more here), and once in a while I get requests from people looking for keypad facilitators or trainers.  David Campt and Chris Bui are two skilled keypad experts I know personally, but I wanted to have a longer list at the ready.

I received a variety of great responses and recommendations for experts in keypad technology – and in using cell phones as an alternative to keypads.  I thought I’d share the responses here so we all have access to this list for future reference. (more…)

Federal Agencies and Depts Release Open Gov Plans    

I wanted to share an important press release I received today from Chelsea Kammerer of the White House Office of Public Engagement.  Many U.S. departments and agencies released their Open Government Plans today.  Here’s how Norm Eisen, Special Counsel to the President for Ethics and Government Reform, describes this milestone on the White House blog:

For too many years, Washington has resisted the oversight of the American public, resulting in difficulties in finding information, taxpayer dollars disappearing without a trace, and lobbyists wielding undue influence.  For Americans, business as usual in Washington has reinforced the belief that the government benefits the special interests and the well connected at the expense of the American people.

No more. Since coming to office, the President has launched a series of initiatives to let the sunshine in, including posting White House visitor records, disclosing lobbyist contacts regarding stimulus funds, and launching data.gov and recovery.gov. That’s why independent groups recently gave the Administration an A grade for transparency.

Please help spread the word about this development on your blogs, websites, facebook groups, etc. This is big news for our country, but since this story doesn’t “bleed” it may not get the press coverage it deserves!

Here is the press release… (more…)

Developing a Pattern Language of Group Process    

I asked NCDD member Tree Bressen to write a post for the blog about an exciting project you may want to know about: the Pattern Language of Group Process project….

“For more than a year now a small group of folks have been hard at work developing a Pattern Language of Group Process.  The people involved come from a variety of backgrounds including theory and practice, the academy and the street, and bring experiences from diverse sectors including technology, political activism, education, communal living, financial services and other private corporations, nonprofits, and more.

A Pattern Language is an attempt to express the deeper wisdom of what brings aliveness within a particular field of human endeavor, through a set of interconnected expressions arising from that wisdom.  Aliveness is one placeholder term for “the quality that has no name”: a sense of wholeness, spirit, or grace, that while of varying form, is precise and empirically verifiable.  The term was originally coined by architect Christopher Alexander, who, together with five colleagues, published A Pattern Language for building in 1977. Others have since applied the term to economics, software design, liberatory communication, and other fields. (more…)

Previewing Agencies’ Open Government Plans (by Lucas Cioffi)    

In accordance with the White House’s Open Government Directive, top-level agencies will post their open government plans on April 7th.  Several agencies gave a public preview of their plans on Monday at the White House Conference Center, and I had the opportunity to represent NCDD at this meeting.

The bottom line is that I was highly impressed with how much effort has been put into these plans behind the scenes; there is a tremendous amount of buy-in from senior officials at these agencies.  The biggest challenge- and a significant concern of mine- is that agencies will have to find ways to implement their plans without additional funding or resources.  It won’t be easy, but it can be done.

(more…)

GlobalPulse 2010 starts Sunday    

On Sunday, March 29th the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is launching a 3-day online brainstorming discussion – GlobalPulse 2010 – to bring together socially-engaged participants and organizations throughout the world to discuss critical global issues.  I hope to see some NCDDers participating!

USAID has partnered with the U.S. Departments of State, Commerce, Education, and Health and Human Services to design and implement the event

Global Pulse 2010 is part of President Obama’s outreach to the Muslim world as a result of his speech in Cairo last year.

You can participate and collaborate on 10 critical issues facing the global community in the fields such as science, technology, entrepreneurship and human development.

The goal is to connect, engage and enable collaboration among thousands of participants across the globe on today’s critical global issues. The results will be used to help inform US foreign assistance and diplomatic strategies based on the key themes that emerge.

How will the event work? Each of the 10 designated issues will be led by moderators — recognized thought leaders and subject matter experts in the related field of interest — who will guide the conversation by posting comments and replies in their assigned forums. These moderators will encourage participation, help to develop deeper thinking, and offer insight into the topic at hand.

To register, visit https://www.collaborationjam.com/minijam3/globalpulse2010/registration/

To learn more, please visit the Global Pulse 2010 homepage at www.GlobalPulse2010.gov

If you are having any issues registering or would like additional information, please email the Global Pulse 2010 Team at [email protected]

Stay up to date on key event activities by joining GlobalPulse 2010 on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.

Note: John Kamensky, Senior Fellow and Associate Partner at the IBM Center for The Business of Government, thought some NCDDers might be interested in an opportunity to participate in a unique global dialogue that is part of Obama’s outreach to the Muslim world as a result of his Cairo speech last year.  Feel free to share this announcement with your own networks!

Featured Member: John Spady and the Countywide Community Forums    

Today is our first in a series of NCDD “Featured Member Days.” All day, we will be using our social media tools (our blog, our listservs, our facebook group, our twitter feed, our linkedin group, etc.) to introduce as many people as possible to an extraordinary NCDD member.  Today we’re featuring John Spady and the Countywide Community Forums.

Feel free to add a comment here or respond to a post you see on the listserv or in our social media groups!  John will be responding to any questions or comments you ask him today.

John is the Executive Vice-President and Director of Research for the Forum Foundation in Seattle, and he’s been an active and supportive member of NCDD since the beginning. John’s story intersects considerably with that of his father’s. John’s father, Dick Spady, is the owner of 5 iconic Dick’s Drive-In restaurants in Seattle, and he has been a strong proponent of quality dialogue and citizen engagement for decades.

Last year, at the age of 83, John’s father submitted Initiative 24 — not to the voters of the State of Washington, but instead to King County, home to the largest city in the state: Seattle. After over 80,000 valid signatures were collected, King County (Seattle area) Councilmembers decided to directly enact Initiative 24, which created the Citizen Councilor Network. The Citizen Councilor Network’s first project is called the Countywide Community Forums, which are designed “to enhance citizen participation, civic engagement, and citizenship education in government through a network of periodic public forums….”

With the backing of his family, Dick Spady pledged that his private business, Dick’s Drive-In Restaurants, would underwrite the cost for the first two years of the Countywide Community Forums. This included the cost of the county employee in the Auditor’s Office, and all the costs associated with production, distribution, and website creation: a stated commitment of $350,000. Now in its third year, Dick’s Drive-In has recommitted itself through the end of 2010. This was critically important for the project, as King County Councilmembers stipulated that no tax dollars would be used to establish and maintain the new Citizen Councilor Network.

Our featured member, John Spady, is one of three coordinators appointed by the King County Auditor. His official title is “Deputy Citizen Councilor Coordinator.” (more…)

Audio from NCDD Confab with Guest Martin Carcasson    

Here is the audio recording from last Thursday’s (March 18) NCDD Confab call with Martin Carcasson, director of the Center for Public Deliberation at Colorado State University. We talked to Martin about his must-read Public Agenda occasional paper titled Beginning with the End in Mind: A Call for Goal-Driven Deliberative Practice (Summer 2009).  We had a great group of leaders on the call, and Martin was asked some quite challenging questions.

Martin’s article, which can be downloaded for free from www.publicagenda.org/cape, outlines three broad categories of goals for deliberation. The essay explores how a clearer understanding of the goals and purposes we are trying to achieve through public engagement can sharpen our methods and increase our impacts. It offers a practical framework to help practitioners systematically consider both their short-term and long-term goals and the strategies that will set them up for success. Please also check out the July NCDD blog post titled New Framework for Understanding the Goals of Public Engagement, which reflects on Martin’s article and introduces a graphic I created that expands on the article’s three orders of goals slightly.

Press the play button or download the mp3 file to listen to the audio.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Or download: NCDD Confab – March 18, 2010: Goals of Deliberation (~50 MB)

Note: “NCDD Confabs” are conference calls for NCDD members where we explore dialogue & deliberation’s role in current issues, learn about exciting projects and interesting methods from fellow NCDD members, and encourage new connections among members.

NCDD Project Report for the Kettering Foundation    

I submitted a report to the Kettering Foundation last October that I wanted to finally share with the whole network.  Before the 2008 conference, NCDD embarked on a research project with the Kettering Foundation to learn about how attendees at the 2008 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation see themselves playing a role in democratic governance.  Kettering was also especially interested in two of the five challenge areas we took on at the conference (the Systems Challenge and the Action & Change Challenge).

Many NCDDers are quoted in this report, and I write about a number of your innovative projects and initiatives.  88 of you were surveyed or interviewed as part of this research project, and others contributed through our graphic recording team at the conference, and during the online dialogue we held on the 5 challenge areas at CivicEvolution.org before the conference.

I think this report is worth a read.  It’s 38 pages long, but it’s full of gorgeous photos and graphic recordings from the conference (so it’s shorter than it looks!).

The report represents a snapshot of a specific time in this rapidly growing, maturing field of practice.  An exciting time, when process leaders and networks in our field are being brought into discussions about federal policy, and when our field is exploring how and whether it fits into a broader “democracy reform” movement.  It’s also a time in which we’re seeing clear shifts in approach in the field.  Practitioners, organizations and institutions are starting to think in terms of capacity building and find ways to demonstrate perceptible shifts in civic capacity.  Practitioners are focusing more on developing ongoing relationships with institutions, decision-makers and other power-holders in the communities they serve.  And people are becoming more and more adept at using multiple models, combining elements of different models, and designing unique processes to fit different contexts.

You can download the full report here, download a 3-page overview of the report here, or learn a bit more about the report by clicking on “more.”  Feel free to share this report or the overview with others. (more…)

PCP blog post on the Coffee Party Movement    

NCDD member Cynthia Gibson added an interesting post to the Public Conversations Project’s blog today, titled The Coffee Party: Long Time Brewing.  (PCP is an organizational member of NCDD as well.)  In her post, Cindy writes:

How heartening to see ordinary people coalescing around the notion that the government is theirs and that they have a role to play in ensuring its vitality.  Rather than bash government, the Coffee Party wants to work with it.

What the Coffee Party movement may not know, however, is that there already is a powerful movement rippling across the country that’s doing likewise.  It’s called deliberative democracy, through which people are coming together to identify common concerns and find ways to work together to solve them.

Cindy’s blog post is pretty brief, and I added a comment that may just be longer than her post.  We’ve been discussing the Coffee Party Movement on the main NCDD listserv, and Cindy’s post suggests all those of us interested in democratic governance take advantage of the popularity of the Coffee Party Movement to “join together toward rebuilding a process that’s all but vanished in the halls of our government.”

I included some quotes from listserv subscribers in my comment (anonymously) so people can get a sense of what NCDDers think about how we should get involved in or ride the wave of this progressive response to the Tea Party Movement.  Feel free to add your comments, too, and check out PCP’s other blog posts while you’re at it.

No Better Time 2010 report released    

In July 2009, more than 250 campus and community leaders (including myself and many members of NCDD) came together at the University of New Hampshire to talk about the “deliberative democracy” field, the tide of civic change on campuses and in communities, and what those changes mean for the practice and teaching of democracy. “No Better Time: Promising Opportunities in Deliberative Democracy for Educators and Practitioners” was hosted by two NCDD organizational members, the Deliberative Democracy Consortium (DDC) and The Democracy Imperative (TDI).

TDI and the DDC work to promote best practices, research, and teaching for a strong democracy. “No Better Time: A 2010 Report on Opportunities and Challenges for Deliberative Democracy” not only summarizes what happened during the conference, but brings you up to date on projects and activities that began there, as well as other related developments in the field. It is now available at www.unh.edu/democracy/pdf/NBTReport_1.pdf.  NCDD member Tim Bonnemann of Intellitics has reviewed it at www.intellitics.com/blog/2010/02/08/no-better-time-conference-report-available/.

Florida court says “open to the public” doesn’t mean citizens can speak up    

Steve Zikman brought an interesting article to my attention today, suggesting we share it with the network…

In a brief article titled “Appeals court rejects public comment time” at PNJ.com, a Florida appeals court upheld a year-old judgment that, in essence, found that government meetings required to be “open to the public” don’t necessarily have to give citizens a chance to speak at them.

View the whole article here at PNJ.com, but I’ve copied it below so we have an archive of it.  Please comment on this post and share what you think about this judgment and its implications. (more…)

Kettering Foundation Names ALA as Center for Public Life    

The American Library Association (ALA) and the Kettering Foundation have signed a research agreement to establish a Center for Public Life.  The Center will train librarians from different types of libraries to convene and moderate deliberative forums and frame issues of local and national concern, using National Issues Forums materials and processes.

During the first year, ALA will form an advisory committee and begin training moderators to convene and conduct local deliberative forums.  Initially, the new Centers will tap into the experience of libraries already convening deliberative forums.  They will form the hub of a network of active mentors capable of strengthening and expanding their work locally, statewide and nationally and connecting it with other forum conveners throughout the country. (more…)

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