conflict transformation

The “conflict transformation” stream of practice is focused on resolving conflicts, fostering personal healing and growth, and improving relations among groups. Sustained Dialogue, Victim-Offender Mediation, Public Conversations Project dialogues, and Web Lab’s Small Group Dialogue are effective methods for transforming conflict.

IJP2 Article Part 4: Frame in terms of general goals and desired outcomes    

At the October 2008 NCDD conference in Austin, Texas, one theme that emerged in the “Framing Challenge” was the idea of framing dialogue and deliberation in terms of general goals and desired outcomes.

2women200pxMany times, the potential for concrete outcomes or results needs to be underscored in big, bold letters. This often means identifying language that explicitly connects the public engagement process or program to solving a particular problem people are facing. In the online dialogue we held before the conference to explore the five challenge areas, Judith Mowry described learning that an especially effective “way to bring people to the table” is to make clear for them “what’s in it for me?”

Citizens, community leaders and elected officials tend to talk in terms of solving problems and addressing issues, and think in terms of outcomes and content rather than process. Several conference attendees reported more success in drawing people to the table when they framed public engagement work in such terms. Theo Brown mentioned much greater drawing power for AmericaSpeaks events when they are able to highlight concrete action and policy outcomes. Facilitator Lucy Moore described “lofty policy goals” as key in bringing many stakeholders together for her dialogue about Grand Canyon issues.

Of course, it can be tricky to promise even general outcomes like “citizen action” or “impact on policy” for programs designed, by their very nature, to allow the participants themselves to identify specific action or recommendations. In their workshop, Virtuous and Vicious Cycles: Beyond a Linear View of Outcome and Impact, Maggie Herzig and Lucy Moore noted that overly defining outcomes from the start can undermine participants’ ownership of their efforts and underappreciate the possibilities that were unimaginable before the initiative began.

Herzig and Moore pointed out that for some groups, an overly-defined outcome is enough to turn them away. People with more conservative political views, for example, can be quickly turned off by talk of “social change” or “community organizing” that seems inherently progressive. Talk of influencing government policy can also be a red flag for conservatives like panelist Pete Peterson, Executive Director of Common Sense California, a self-identified “communitarian conservative” who would like to see public engagement efforts focus more explicitly on empowering citizens to take responsibility for community problems themselves rather than turning to government for help or demanding government action.

Peterson emphasized the importance of not allowing a more deliberative democracy to replace self-reliance. After all, government is not the answer to many of our problems, and we cannot expect it to be. Similarly, panelist Grover Norquist stated frankly, “I don’t like it when 12 people or 12,000 people get together and tell someone what to do.” Peterson, Norquist, and others on the “Conservatives Panel” suggested framing public engagement around more traditional values like “voluntary, civic solutions to problems” (rather than only political solutions) and “individual responsibility in addition to collective responsibility” in order to attract more conservative participants.

PhilipThomas200pxWhile there may not be a single framing of public engagement that works for all audiences, practitioners are increasingly finding success in focusing on the purpose or potential outcomes (in general) of engagement. Specifically, framing in terms of problem solving and identifying and working towards a desirable future seems to resonate with broad audiences. In the online dialogue, Joseph McIntyre described his efforts to frame public engagement work in a broadly accessible way:

We frame our work leading wisdom circles in sustainable agriculture as reinvigorating local democracy and specifically we create “citizen think-do” tanks that attempt to bring perspective and the common good back into the center of our communities. For us, the call to represent “our best hopes and aspirations for a future worth having” resonates strongly with both the rural conservative and urban environmental members of our alliance.

It is also helpful to consider the way organizations like NCDD member Everyday Democracy (which reinvented itself recently by changing its name from the Study Circles Resource Center) talk about the work they do in communities. Everyday Democracy’s website states simply that “we help your community find ways for all kinds of people to think, talk and work together to solve problems.”

Note from Sandy:

This is my fourth blog post featuring content of an article published in the latest edition of the International Journal of Public Participation (IJP2), titled Taking our Work to the Next Level: Addressing Challenges Facing the Dialogue and Deliberation Community.  The article outlines our learnings in two of the five challenges we focused on at the 2008 NCDD conference in Austin:  The “Framing Challenge” (How can we talk about and present D&D work in ways that are accessible to a broader audience?) and the “Systems Challenge” (How can we make D&D values and practices integral to government, schools, and other systems?).  You can download the full article from the IJP2 site.

IJP2 Article Part 3: Understand the specific concerns of conservatives    

A major theme in the Framing Challenge at the 2008 NCDD conference was the need to understand the specific concerns of conservatives.

menatconf_200pxThe public engagement field and related fields struggle with the fact that many more progressives than conservatives are attracted to this work. The vast majority of practitioners are politically progressive, and it is typically more challenging to recruit people with more traditional or conservative views to participate in dialogue and deliberation programs.

During the conservative panel sub-plenary on the second day of the conference, panelists Joseph McCormick, Grover Norquist, Michael Ostrolenk and Pete Peterson mentioned several words that can turn conservative communities away from public engagement: grassroots, organizing (“I don’t want anyone to organize me”), consciousness and enlightenment (“something you have and I don’t?”).

In their workshop, Attracting Conservative Citizens to Dialogue Events: Liberal-Conservative Campus Dialogue & Mormon-Evangelical Interfaith Initiatives, Jacob Hess and Reverend Greg Johnson explained some of the sources of wariness of dialogue by many social conservatives. One is the fear of being asked to give up truth or absolutes, as dialogue can seem to assume that all truth is relative.

One participant wrote this reflection about Hess and Johnson’s powerful session:

“I had a big, big revelation [during your session]. At 64, I have thought my whole life that to be open-minded, all accepting, non-judgmental toward different people, beliefs, and values was an absolute good thing. How could it be bad to be tolerant, embracing, accepting all beliefs as valid? Wouldn’t everyone appreciate that attitude, since it includes everyone? What I heard from you is that having an absolute truth is fundamentally, critically important to you. It is the most important thing. It may be easier for you to deal with each other, or with others who have conflicting versions of the truth, than to do deal with someone like me who doesn’t seem to advocate any particular truth, but sees it all as relative.”

Others shared similar realizations after this workshop. Often, dialogue is said to bring people together whose viewpoints and experiences contribute important “pieces of the puzzle” for making progress on issues like racial inequity, education reform, and youth violence. But framing dialogue in relativist terms may backfire for some audiences. According to Hess and Johnson, it may be important to reassure conservatives that “truth Capital T is still welcome” – as long as they also agree to be open to learning more.

Another concern brought up in Hess and Johnson’s workshop is the fear of a hidden [liberal] agenda. Pete Peterson confirmed this on the conservatives panel, suggesting people with more traditional views might respond better when dialogue is framed as an end in itself, rather than a means to an end. When dialogue is seen as a “tool,” the question arises from all sides “What is the hidden agenda? To change my mind so I agree with you? To challenge my beliefs or values?”

Peterson’s comment echoed another concern Hess and Johnson explored in their session: the fear of being changed. Dialogue can be seen by people with deep-rooted belief systems as something that might require them to compromise their beliefs somehow. Consider how a conservative Christian might feel when asked to participate in a dialogue on gay marriage aimed at “finding common ground” or moving forward in ways that “work for all” among people with disparate viewpoints. Panelist Grover Norquist, Founder of Americans for Tax Reform, likewise pointed out latent fear among some towards events seeking common ground.

There are many theories as to why progressives have shown more interest than conservatives in public engagement work, but the fact remains that the outcomes of public engagement projects cannot be easily categorized as serving left-wing or right-wing agendas. Participants sometimes recommend tax increases or new government programs to address the issue at hand; other times they call for business or nonprofit groups or take over tasks that had been the responsibility of government. Often, they call for citizens to take more direct responsibility for solving community problems.

Note from Sandy:

This is my third blog post featuring content of an article published in the latest edition of the International Journal of Public Participation (IJP2), titled Taking our Work to the Next Level: Addressing Challenges Facing the Dialogue and Deliberation Community.  The article outlines our learnings in two of the five challenges we focused on at the 2008 NCDD conference in Austin:  The “Framing Challenge” (How can we talk about and present D&D work in ways that are accessible to a broader audience?) and the “Systems Challenge” (How can we make D&D values and practices integral to government, schools, and other systems?).  You can download the full article from the IJP2 site.

IJP2 Article Part 2: Consider how different framings affect different groups    

Another clear theme in the Framing Challenge at the 2008 NCDD conference was the importance of understanding how different groups of people respond to the various ways public engagement is currently framed. In the online dialogue and at the conference itself, many pointed towards acquiring and cultivating greater sensitivity to the ways that distinct language ‘plays out’ for different groups.

conversation_croppedblogThe concept of blind spots in our language – terms and phrases that dissuade or confuse without our realizing it – was discussed in the online dialogue. Susan Partnow, a leader in the Conversation Cafe movement, remarked that she had been surprised in the past when her efforts to be inclusive and welcoming fell short. She proposed a need to “assume you are making a lot more assumptions than you think you are.”

“Different language pushes different people’s buttons,” stated Avril Orloff, who led our 5-person Graphic Recording Team for the conference. While many cringe at “touchy feely” terms like heart-work, wholeness, and consciousness, “others [like me] sigh over bureaucratic-sounding language like multi-stakeholder engagement, whole systems change and the dread empowerment.” Kai Degner, Mayor of Harrisonburg, Virginia and founder of the OrangeBand Initiative, summed it up well when he said that people in the dialogue and deliberation community often talk about the work they do in ways that are “either too new-agey or too ivory tower.”

Many anecdotes were shared of instances when blind spots in language unintentionally dissuaded people from participating. Erin Kreeger related how some clients talk in terms of decision making but cannot relate to the term deliberation – “even though their processes are what many of us would call deliberation.”

Another colleague of Kreeger’s “would never use the term democracy because it’s too loaded and manipulative when used in the contexts he works in.” Jim Driscoll, who co-led a workshop with several Iraq-era veterans on his program Vets4Vets, shared how a donor reconsidered a large gift “because the organization had used the word democracy in the proposal… he thought it must be a ‘feel good’ organization and he is a hard-nosed conservative.” Irene Nasser related how even the concept of collaboration can turn people away from participating in Jewish-Palestinian dialogue, since potential participants often see each other as the enemy and have no interest (yet) in working together.

As Framing Challenge leader Jacob Hess wrote in his report on this challenge, the degree to which we can “surface ways in which different terms play out differently across different communities, we can move forward more deliberately to accomplish what we really want in drawing diverse communities together…. The aim is to be mindful about the language we use, being aware that different words that really resonate with us may need some explaining, translation or upgrading for another setting.”

Note from Sandy:

This is my second blog post featuring content of an article published in the latest edition of the International Journal of Public Participation (IJP2), titled Taking our Work to the Next Level: Addressing Challenges Facing the Dialogue and Deliberation Community.  The article outlines our learnings in two of the five challenges we focused on at the 2008 NCDD conference in Austin:  The “Framing Challenge” (How can we talk about and present D&D work in ways that are accessible to a broader audience?) and the “Systems Challenge” (How can we make D&D values and practices integral to government, schools, and other systems?).  You can download the full article from the IJP2 site.

Also, see NCOC’s 2008 Civic Health Index (p. 17-18) for a fascinating summary of people’s reactions to terms we often use to describe public engagement work: democracy, citizenship, civic engagement, service, social entrepreneurship and community organizing. 13% of survey respondents responded negatively to the word “democracy” when asked to share the first thing that came to mind. 20% cited some kind of right or duty, such as voting. 12% mentioned rules of decision-making, such as majority rule, and 9% cited the government. www.ncoc.net

IJP2 Article on Framing and Systems Challenges    

An article of mine was published in the latest addition of the International Journal of Public Participation (IJP2), titled Taking our Work to the Next Level: Addressing Challenges Facing the Dialogue and Deliberation Community.  The article outlines our learnings in two of the five challenges we focused on at the 2008 NCDD conference in Austin:  The “Framing Challenge” (How can we talk about and present D&D work in ways that are accessible to a broader audience?) and the “Systems Challenge” (How can we make D&D values and practices integral to government, schools, and other systems?).

I want to make sure the D&D community sees and benefits from this article (it was a lot of work! – plus I quote and mention many of you)…  so I plan to share segments of the article here on the NCDD blog every few days for the next month as food for thought.  Feel free to add your thoughts and reactions using the comments field.  I would love for the article to spur more conversation in our community about these critically important issues.

You can download the full article from the IJP2 site. Note that the current edition of the Journal also includes great articles from NCDD members David Campt (on using audience response keypads), Janette Hartz-Karp and Lyn Carson (on the Australian Citizens’ Parliament), and others.

framing_graphic_200pxNow for blog post #1…

The Framing Challenge: Presenting dialogue and deliberation in an accessible way

Oftentimes, people’s assumptions, fears or reactions to dialogue and deliberation have much more to do with framing than with the processes themselves. Subtle cues in how we talk about and present this work can put people on the defensive and turn them away. In this challenge area, we explored how public engagement processes can be made more accessible to more communities—not by radically changing the practice itself, but my making sure the “packaging” is as welcoming, accessible and compelling as possible. The crux of this work is to provide the space for people with a wide variety of perspectives and experiences to solve problems together, and the ability to draw in people of all educational levels, ages, income levels, and political perspectives is vital.

Our leader for the “Framing Challenge” was Jacob Hess, a young social conservative who says he has “found a home in the dialogue community.” The first time he was invited to a dialogue at his college, Jacob saw how the ways we talk about, portray and frame dialogue can strongly affect whether diverse groups feel comfortable participating. Conservatives are just one group for whom this challenge matters, but the NCDD community has been particularly concerned about attracting more conservatives to this work since the first National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation in 2002 – when keypad polling showed that a surprisingly low number of conference attendees had voted for President Bush in 2000. (more…)

Three days left to complete survey of dialogue & deliberation professionals    

CarolinePicJust wanted to ask all of you one last time to complete NCDD members Francesca Polletta and Caroline Lee’s survey of dialogue and deliberation practitioners (if you haven’t already).  They’ll be sharing the data they collect with NCDD and others, and the more of you participate, the more valuable the data will be for our field.

Saturday is the last day to complete the survey.  Also- Francesca and Caroline (pictured here, left) wanted me to thank all of you who have completed the survey already!   They are very grateful for your input.

The survey is up at https://opinio.lafayette.edu:443/opinio/s?s=1176 – and here are some more details…

Survey of Dialogue and Deliberation Practitioners

Will you help us to learn more about the field of dialogue and deliberation- and possibly win a cash prize for your favorite charitable organization?

The field of public dialogue and deliberation is growing dramatically- so dramatically, in fact, that no one fully knows what the field looks like:

  • who is doing public dialogue and deliberation work
  • what forms their work is taking
  • what common challenges they face
  • how they would like to see the field develop.

We are two sociologists who want to find answers to those questions by asking you, the experts.

We believe that your insights will help to strengthen the field, and we plan to share whatever information we learn. The survey at the link below will take about 15 to 30 minutes to complete. Your answers will be anonymous, but if you complete the survey we will enter a charitable organization of your choice in a raffle for a $200 donation — a small token of our appreciation for your participation.

Thanks in advance for your help in making the survey a success!

– Francesca Polletta and Caroline Lee

https://opinio.lafayette.edu:443/opinio/s?s=1176

Free bulk issues of Yes Mag’s Purple America issue    

Here is a great offer from my friend Susan Gleason at Yes! magazine.  These free issues are great for distributing at conferences, trainings events, at exhibit booths, etc.

YES! Magazine has a long commitment to the innovations of the dialogue and deliberation movement.  Many of you saw copies of the Fall 2008 issue, Purple America, at last year’s NCDD conference, featuring a set of stories about “Conversations Across the Divide.”  These inspiring stories illustrate how Americans can engage each other in what are often viewed as difficult or highly polarized conversations: an urban environmental activist finds common ground with her rural farmer father; LGBT youth activists initiate conversations on a roadtrip to conservative college campuses; neighbors hold living room conversations about immigration on the Night of 1,000 Conversations, and Evangelicals share their passion for the environment and social justice.

Through a donor-supported program, YES! is making copies of the Purple America issue, containing these stories and more, available to NCDD members in bulk quantities, completely free of charge (international shipping excepted). To request bulk copies (packaged 50 to a box) of the Purple America issue, please contact Susan Gleason, Media & Outreach Manager, at [email protected].  Yes! takes care of the shipping charges as well.

The full issue is online at http://yesmagazine.org/issues/purple-america/ if you’d like to check it out before deciding.

Re-Post: Model Dialogue Coverage on the Oregonian Website    

Restorative Listening Project Online Coverage

I decided to repost this NCDD blog post from April 2008. I’ve been thinking a lot about how we can tell our stories about dialogue and deliberation in compelling ways, and the amazing coverage on the Oregonian website Judith Mowry got for her work came to mind.  This unique, engaging, inspiring media coverage featuring audio recordings of dialogue participants in a Portland dialogue program on gentrification is still online, and any of you who haven’t checked it out should do so. It’s just too cool!

You can also revisit the May 28, 2008 article about the Restorative Listening Project in the New York Times (yep – I said the New York Times!), also still online.

Original April 17, 2008 post in the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation blog…

NCDD member Judith Mowry runs a Restorative Listening Project in Portland, Oregon that uses dialogue, storytelling and restorative justice to engage the city in race dialogue. Some amazing press coverage went up today on the Oregonian website which highlights the project using articles, a multimedia website and beginning a year long community wide dialogue. Check it out at www.oregonlive.com/special/index.ssf/2008/04/speak_listen_heal_index_page.html.

Mowry, now with the city Office of Neighborhood Involvement, designed the project from her background in restorative justice, which aims to mend harm by inviting the sufferer to describe the harm, revealing, for both sides, their shared humanity. “The one who strikes the blow doesn’t know the force of the blow,” Mowry says. “Only the one who has received the blow knows its force.”

I love one page of this web coverage in particular, and the image on the right shows you what the page looks like. The page allows you to click on the faces of dialogue participants and then listen to audio of them talking about what race and gentrification means to them (I clicked on Judith’s name so her image and audio is the one highlighted). It’s an amazing example of how to cover dialogue in the local press using new media.

Be sure to also read the accompanying article by Erin Hoover Barnett, called “Speak. Listen. Heal.” and the column by S. Renee Mitchell titled “A successful crossing of the racial divide.”

Important Survey for D&D Professionals    

Two NCDD members who are respected scholars in this field – Francesca Polletta and Caroline Lee – are administering an important survey of dialogue and deliberation professionals.  If enough professionals in D&D and public engagement respond to this survey, the data gathered will be of incredible value for our field.

The field of public dialogue and deliberation is growing dramatically- so dramatically, in fact, that no one fully knows what the field looks like:

  • Who is doing public dialogue and deliberation work?
  • What forms is their work taking?
  • What common challenges are they facing?
  • How would they like to see the field develop?

Caroline and Francesca are two sociologists who want to find answers to those questions by asking you, the experts.  They believe that your insights will help to strengthen the field, and plan to share the data they collect with the NCDD network.  The survey at the link below will take about 15 to 30 minutes to complete. Your answers will be anonymous, but if you complete the survey they will enter a charitable organization of your choice in a raffle for a $200 donation.

The survey is up now at https://opinio.lafayette.edu:443/opinio/s?s=1176 and I encourage all of you who do dialogue & deliberation work to take the time to complete it asap.

Amy Lazarus Named SDSN’s First Executive Director    

AmyLazarusThe Sustained Dialogue Campus Network (SDCN) recently announced that Amy Lazarus has been selected from a strong pool of candidates to serve as their first Executive Director. SDCN trains, mentors, & connects student leaders using dialogue to ease social tensions on campuses nationwide. SDCN is a project of the International Institute for Sustained Dialogue (an NCDD organizational member), headquartered in Washington DC and founded by Dr. Harold Saunders in 2002. IISD seeks to promote the process of sustained dialogue for transforming racial, ethnic, and other deep-rooted conflicts in the United States and abroad, and has programs on 15 campuses across the country.

As the first SDCN Executive Director, Amy will lead SDCN as it pursues new partnerships and growth. She will work with SDCN’s team, which includes Deputy Executive Directors Christina Kelleher and Chris Wagner and Program Directors Rhonda Fitzgerald and LaTia Walker.  See the full announcement at www.sdcampusnetwork.org/ht/display/ArticleDetails/i/963.

Inroads Made in Mormon-Evangelical Relations    

Thanks to my Google news alerts, I spotted an article that appeared in Salt Lake City’s Deseret News on Friday, September 4th. Those of you who attended the 2008 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation in Austin may remember Reverend Greg Johnson. I found him to be extremely personable, and was inspired (to say the least) by his workshop with Jacob Hess called “Attracting Conservative Citizens to Dialogue Events: Liberal-Conservative Campus Dialogue & Mormon-Evangelical Interfaith Initiatives.” (Look over a great summary of the workshop here.)

Rev. Johnson is continuing his groundbreaking work bridging Evangelical Christian and Latter-day Saint faith leaders, and his latest accomplishment is outlined in the article by Carrie A. Moore, titled “Evangelicals plan Salt Lake meeting in ‘11.” Look over the article, and be sure to also check out the video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=2B6VoeO7Bwk in which Rev. Johnson and Dr. Robert Millet discuss the importance of real dialogue between the Evangelical & Latter-day Saint faith. (more…)

RFP from Kellogg Foundation for Community-Based Racial Healing Efforts    

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has announced a new grant opportunity as part of its commitment to becoming an effective, anti-racist organization that promotes racial equity.

This grant opportunity seeks to strengthen and bolster community-based approaches for racial healing and equity efforts targeting vulnerable and marginalized children. The foundation defines racial healing as “group efforts to acknowledge the wrongs and group suffering of the past while trying to address the cumulative and current consequences of the past injustices.”

The foundation seeks proposals from community-based organizations that foster racial healing. To be considered for funding, the organization must be working to promote racial healing within and between racial and ethnic groups within specific geographic areas. National programs that have projects within local communities may also be considered.

To be eligible to receive a grant, applicants must be public entities or nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations that demonstrate the fiscal capacity to manage the funds. The Kellogg Foundation anticipates awarding grants of up to $400,000 each. The complete Request for Proposals, including examples of eligible projects, is available at the Kellogg Foundation website at www.wkkf.org/RacialHealingRFP.  Proposals must be submitted online no later than September 30, 2009.

Applications Being Accepted for Georgetown U’s M.A. Program in Conflict Resolution    

Amanda Ruthven asked us to let NCDDers know that Georgetown University’s M.A. program in Conflict Resolution is accepting applications for the 2010-2001 academic year.  Applications are due January 15, 2010.

Georgetown University’s two-year M.A. program in Conflict Resolution is a multidisciplinary course of study that combines world class research and practice. Core courses are offered in the Government Department, Psychology Department, and the McDonough School of Business. Electives may be taken across graduate programs on campus, including Georgetown’s international relations programs which are ranked #1 in America by Foreign Policy magazine.

Graduates of the program are represented in a variety of government agencies and NGOs throughout the world and are prepared to pursue doctoral studies.  Learn more at http://conflictresolution.georgetown.edu or email [email protected].

New Framework for Understanding the Goals of Public Engagement    

In a new occasional paper published by Public Agenda’s Center for Advances in Public Engagement (CAPE), NCDD member Martin Carcasson of Colorado State University’s Center for Public Deliberation 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.

Carcasson’s paper is titled Beginning with the End in Mind: A Call for Goal-Driven Deliberative Practice (Summer 2009), and can be downloaded for free from www.publicagenda.org/cape. I was deeply impressed by the paper and Carcasson’s brilliantly simple “Goals of Deliberation” framework. Carcasson points out that although “first-order goals” like issue learning and improved democratic attitudes are often discounted as we focus on our primary goals related to concrete action and impact on policy, those first-order goals still impact the big-picture goal of increasing a community’s civic capacity and ability to solve problems.

DD Goals GraphicAt the No Better Time conference in July 2009, I spoke to Carcasson about expanding his “Goals of Deliberation” framework slightly so public dialogue for purposes of conflict resolution or conflict management are also emphasized in the framework (he was very interested). In the paper, Carcasson writes about “improved relationships” between individuals and groups as a first-order goal, and mentions that conflict management is another second-level goal… yet his framework figure did not feature those goals.

In close communication with Carcasson as well as Will Friedman and Alison Kadlec of Public Agenda, I expanded on the framework to create the Goals of Dialogue & Deliberation graphic pictured here. Click on the graphic to view a larger image.

Both the original and the adapted frameworks emphasize improved community problem solving and increased civic capacity as longer-term goals of public engagement work. As we work from project to project, we can lose sight of the fact that our work is contributing to the bigger picture goal of more democratic, effective communities and cultures. In the online dialogue we held at CivicEvolution.org on the “Action & Change” challenge before the 2008 NCDD conference, Joseph McIntyre of the Ag Futures Alliance noted that although public engagement work can lead to numerous types of action outcomes and products, often “D&D is simply plowing the field and planting the seeds that will result in the changes needed. In my case, D&D is part of an evolutionary change.” (more…)

Peace Games in NYC Seeks Executive Director    

PeaceGamesLogoI just heard word that Koya Consulting LLC is leading an Executive Director search for Peace Games in New York, NY. Peace Games is an innovative school-based violence prevention/social-emotional learning program that teaches students in grades K through 8 to be peacemakers.  The unique Peace Games approach engages whole school communities – families, teachers, volunteers, and students – to teach lessons of cooperation, communication and conflict resolution using games and community service projects.

Peace Games seeks an Executive Director with a blend of experience and entrepreneurial spirit to lead their program in their New York office. The position builds from a strong base of existing assets, including a solid plan, a growing group of excited supporters, a strong track record of results with local schools, an experienced program director to manage day-to-day operations in the schools, and strong fundraising and program expertise. The ideal candidate will have strong fundraising and operational management skills, deep cultural competency, and a passion for the Peace Games mission and goals. See the complete position description. (more…)

Call for Proposals to C2D2 2009    

C2D2 logoOur sister organization, the Canadian Community for Dialogue & Deliberation, is holding its third national conference this fall. The 2009 Canadian Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation will take place October 22-25 in Toronto, Ontario, and early registration ends on July 31st. Registration is currently $393.75 CAD with taxes, and the rate will increase $100 CAD beginning in August.

C2D2 is about to announce their call for proposals, and you can download the call and application here. Proposals are due July 31st for concurrent sessions, field visits, marketplace showcases, and night-cap dialogues. Proposals should fall under four broad areas: leading change, conversations, stronger communities, and healthier democracies. Youth are especially encouraged to share the innovative and impactful work they’re doing.

Contact Miriam Wyman at [email protected] if you have questions, or visit the C2D2 2009 conference site.

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