What We’re All About    

The National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) actively promotes learning and collaboration among practitioners, public leaders, scholars and organizations involved in dialogue, deliberation, and other innovative group processes that help people tackle complex issues.

Our membership includes more than 1,270 organizations and professionals from across the U.S. and 39 other countries. The NCDD website offers literally thousands of resources and best practices, and we keep in touch monthly with 20,000 people in  public engagement and conflict resolution.

Our national and regional conferences, online programs and resources, and numerous collaborative projects provide opportunities for members of the dialogue and deliberation (D&D) community to share knowledge, collaborate, and build relationships. NCDD provides the infrastructure needed in this community so we can work together to increase our individual and collective impact.

NCDD was formed in 2002 in response to a clear need for more learning and collaboration among those who approach D&D  from a variety of disciplines (public policy, social work, communications, education, social justice, etc.). The Coalition was a result of the first National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation, held near Washington, DC in October of that year.

Below you’ll find our contact info, mission, details about our membership, and more. You can also read the story of NCDD’s beginnings or learn about NCDD’s leadership. And, of course, you’re invited to join us!

Contacting Us

Email: [email protected] (or [email protected] for our Director)

Phone: 717-243-5144

Mailing address: 114 W. Springville Road, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
(please send correspondence c/o Sandy Heierbacher, Director; Andy Fluke, Creative Director; or Joy Garman, Office Manager)

Who is involved in NCDD?

NCDD exists to support the growing “dialogue and deliberation community” — a loose-knit community of practitioners, scholars, activists, public officials, nonprofit leaders, students, and others who engage and mobilize people across partisan, ethnic and other divides. In just a few short years since the first conference, the Coalition’s membership has grown to include more than 1,270 organizations and individuals.

NCDD’s members include organizations as varied as the Open Space Institute, the Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Project, AmericaSpeaks, The Public Conversations Project, the Center for Nonviolent Communication and Everyday Democracy.

What does the Coalition do?

Most of NCDD’s work falls under three broad categories…

1. Growing an active network of organizations and professionals involved in dialogue, deliberation and other innovative group processes that help people tackle complex issues.

  • Connect with more than 1,270 members in our interactive directory, the NCDD Members Network.
  • Subscribe to our popular NCDD Discussion list (one of the most valued resources in our community), our Newbies list, or our regional lists for the DC metro area, Northern California, Boston, Cascadia, Colorado, and Central Texas (more info on our listervs).
  • Become a member! Organizations can join for only $100/year, and the $50/year dues for individual members is optional so no one is excluded.
  • If you live and work in Canada, get involved in our sister organization, the Canadian Community for Dialogue & Deliberation (C2D2) as well as NCDD. Learn more here about our commitment to helping Coalitions for D&D form in other regions of the world.

2. Providing relevant news and resources to Coalition members and the greater D&D community.

  • Check out more than 2,500 posts about funding and job opportunities, events and trainings, new articles and tools, etc. in NCDD’s News & Perspectives Blog (one of the longest-running blogs in our field)
  • Look over more than 2,300 carefully described and referenced resources (discussion guides, methods, evaluation tools, articles, books, videos, etc.) in our Resource Center.
  • Use our Quick Reference Glossary for definitions to over 100 terms related to public engagement and conflict resolution.
  • Don’t miss NCDD’s Engagement Streams Framework, a series of 2 charts that help you navigate the range of D&D approaches and make design choices appropriate for your situation.
  • Look over the collaboratively-created and widely-endorsed Core Principles for Public Engagement (a project led by NCDD, IAP2 and the Co-Intelligence Institute).
  • Check out Upgrading the Way We Do Politics, an article by NCDD Director Sandy Heierbacher that reflects NCDD members’ reaction to the August 2009 town halls on health care (a one-page flyer for public managers is also available).
  • And visit our Getting Started page for other NCDD resources that help people understand what dialogue and deliberation are and how to get started.

3. Creating opportunities for members to gather, share knowledge and build relationships in order to strengthen one another’s work.

  • Learn about NCDD’s national conferences, and our upcoming Fall 2010 regional events.
  • Join our groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, and follow us on Twitter.
  • Participate in our online forums on key issues facing the D&D community.
  • Take part in NCDD Confabs (conference calls and webinars) and other network activities (updates here)
  • Look over the member discounts we’ve negotiated for some of the best trainings, workshops and certificate programs out there.
  • And subscribe to our various listservs (mentioned above) to network with NCDDers who share your interests or live in your region.

NCDD’s mission, vision and values

NCDD’s mission is to bring together and support people, organizations, and resources in ways that expand the power of discussion to benefit society.

NCDD envisions a future in which all people-regardless of income, position, background or education-are able to engage regularly in lively, thoughtful, and challenging discussions about what really matters to them, in ways that have a positive impact on their lives and their world. We envision a society in which systems and structures support and advance inclusive, constructive dialogue and deliberation.

NCDD embraces and demonstrates the following values and principles: collaboration and active participation, openness and transparency, inclusivity, balance, curiosity and commitment to learning, action, and service to others. Click here to see what we mean by these values.

Why did the Coalition form?

Although they are by no means new processes, dialogue and deliberation have enjoyed tremendous growth in popularity in recent years. This growth has been so grassroots that numerous streams of practice (deliberative democracy, conflict transformation, intergroup dialogue, whole systems change, e-democracy, etc.) have developed simultaneously, often without much awareness of one another. The result was the emergence of an important but disjointed field whose practitioners use completely different terminology, employ different techniques and resources, and emphasize different outcomes – despite the similarity of their basic values and principles.

The National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) emerged from the Hewlett-funded 2002 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation, which sought to address this disconnect. The planning process for the 2002 conference exemplifies NCDD’s collaborative, inclusive way of working. A group of 60 people – from graduate students in conflict resolution to directors of leading dialogue organizations – came together to plan a highly participatory, high-energy conference which ultimately brought together 240 scholars and practitioners across all streams of practice for the very first time.

The conference was a revelation to many participants, making them feel part of an important, growing field of practice. The proceedings introduced attendees to a vast array of models and techniques, uncovered key issues facing the nascent community, and fostered the creation of a blueprint for strengthening this emerging field.

Ultimately, the conference’s participants and planners decided to expand on their work by establishing the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation.

© 2003-2010 National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation.
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