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Archives for July 2007

Upcoming Facilitation Training Based on Future Search Creators’ New Book    

Marvin Weisbord and Sandra Janoff, creators of Future Search and co-founders of the Future Search Network, have just published a book entitled DON’T JUST DO SOMETHING, STAND THERE! Ten Principles for Leading Meetings that Matter. The book shares what Weisbord and Janoff have learned in 20 years of leading meetings together in cultures around the world. The principles in the book apply to all kinds of meetings. (You can order the book now at Amazon.com for only $13.57.)

They’re also holding an advanced facilitating training called Leading Meetings That Matter that’s based on the book.  The training will be held October 14-16, 2007 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania (outside of Philadelphia, PA). The training presents a philosophy, theory and method for transforming diverse work groups of all kinds. The seminar, which integrates system change and personal growth theories, is for experienced leaders who want to increase their capacity to help large, diverse groups stay task-focused and accomplish ambitious goals.

Tuition for the training is $995, although paid NCDD members receive a 30% discount, so they pay only $696.50. Click here to learn more, or contact Jennifer Neumer at [email protected] or 800-951-6333.

CaliforniaSpeaks Event Seeking Facilitators    

As some of you may know, AmericaSpeaks (www.americaspeaks.org) is convening CaliforniaSpeaks this August in California. CaliforniaSpeaks is a non-partisan discussion that will present to the public the major reforms that have been proposed by political leaders. Californians will learn about the different options and make choices about what the state should do. The product of the discussions will be presented to the Governor and legislative leadership to influence legislation that is being considered in Sacramento. For more information about CaliforniaSpeaks visit: www.californiaspeaks.org.

They are recruiting 400 – 500 volunteer facilitators for a statewide discussion on healthcare reform in California on August 11. It will be an interactive meeting for thousands of people in 8 different cities (San Diego, Los Angeles, Riverside – San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Fresno, Sacramento, Oakland – San Francisco, and Humboldt County). These conversations will be connected together by live satellite TV with the potential to impact the critical issue of healthcare in California, the largest state in the union. It will be an exciting opportunity for people to help with such a large-scale public involvement effort. (more…)

Announcing the CitizenPost Blog    

Last summer the Case Foundation published Citizens at the Center: A New Approach to Civic Engagement. The publication generated so much discussion and debate that the authors decided to launch CitizenPost blog (www.citizenpost.blogspot.com) to continue the discussion. Focused on all things “citizen-centered,” the blog attempts to dig down into how to make civic engagement, civic discourse, political involvement, volunteering, and other good practices part and parcel of everyday life rather than something people do in their spare time or occasionally. The blog is full of resources and is inviting interaction from its readers, so check it out!

Centre For Humanitarian Dialogue Seeking Peace Consultants    

The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD Centre) is an independent and impartial organization whose purpose is to reduce human suffering in war by preventing and resolving armed conflicts. It is active in a number of conflict resolution projects around the world, promoting and facilitating dialogue among belligerents. The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue’s Arms Programme is seeking expressions of interest from Armed Violence and Peace Process consultants to take on assignments varying in length from one to four months. (more…)

Socrates Cafe Serves Up Debate and Dialogue    

Ken Cissna sent us a link to a fun story about the Socrates Cafe in Quincy, MO, which is part of a larger Socrates Cafe Movement. In 1996 Christopher Phillips started the Socrates Cafe Movement in Montclair, NJ. The movement organizes cafe discussions using a method of philosophical inquiry that anyone could embrace and take for her or his own. This initiative proved to be very popular and provided a model for the establishment of over 150 discussion clubs that gather people together for a couple of hours and, with the help of a facilitator, applying the Socratic method, in a non-technical way, to some question that troubles them such as: What is Truth? What is Justice? What is a Philosopher?

Christopher Phillips has since written two books called Socrates Cafe and Six Questions of Socrates about his approach to philosophical discussion.

Registration Open for Fifth Annual Palestinian-Jewish Peacemakers Camp    

Len & Libby Traubman just sent us word that registration for the Fifth Annual Palestinian-Jewish Oseh Shalom~Sanea al-Salam Peacemakers Camp is open. Muslim, Jewish, and Christian youth and adults are invited to share a unique Friday-Tuesday weekend in the beautiful California Sierra Mountains near Yosemite Valley and Tuesday evening public presentation in San Francisco, Oct. 5-9, 2007. The camp will feature listening workshops, relationship building, networking across generations, leadership training, arts and crafts and outdoor activities. More information about this year’s camp is available at http://tawonga.org/weekend-programs/peacemaker.php. To request applications call 415-543-2267 or email [email protected].

Mobilize.org Launches “Democracy 2.0″    

In an email sent today (July 4th), our new friends at Mobilize.org announced that they are calling upon the members of the younger generation “to establish a renewed government, one that empowers the individual citizen. Through the unique characteristics that define the Millennial Generation and the technology afforded to us at this point in history, we find it necessary and proper to demand a new process: Democracy 2.0.”

I just had a conversation yesterday with David Smith, Director of Mobilize.org, and I told him how much I liked the term “Democracy 2.0.” People in our community are always struggling with how to talk about this work (dialogue and deliberation? deliberative democracy? public engagement? citizen-centered work?) without sounding too academic, too jargony, or too new agey. “Democracy 2.0″ is a simple term that says a lot: we’re talking about something new and innovative, something that takes advantage of all the tech possibilities out there today, something that appeals to young people, and of course something that takes democracy to the next step.

The purpose of the Democracy 2.0 is to call attention to the main problems of our current political system, highlight the distinct characteristics of our generation, and provide guidelines for change to help cultivate a new political process in America….

(more…)

SFCG and CBI Organizing Project on Global US-Muslim Relations    

I just read a story about an exciting initiative from Search for Common Ground and the Consensus Building Institute. In early January, SFCG and CBI convened a distinguished group of American leaders with diverse political viewpoints, cultural backgrounds and professional skills for a Summit on U.S. Engagement with the Global Muslim Community. The goal of the project was to reverse the increasingly negative relations between the US and the Muslim world. The project on U.S. Engagement with the Global Muslim Community will create new strategies that represent the best thinking of these leaders, informed by in-depth dialogue with the public. The project aims to

  • create a coherent, broad-based and bipartisan set of strategies to improve relations between the U.S. and the Muslim world;
  • communicate and advocate those strategies in ways that shift U.S. public opinion and contribute to changes in U.S. policies, and public and private actions.

This group explored several critical questions: Where do relations stand today? What are the major drivers of tension and conflict? How could those tensions and conflicts be addressed in ways that meet the concerns of both the U.S. and Muslim countries? How could the project on U.S. Engagement with the Global Muslim Community best contribute to progress? The participants noted the depth of mutual misunderstanding and misperceptions of each other’s interests and values; the global importance of geopolitical conflict in the Middle East; the underlying challenge of economic and political difficulties in many Muslim countries and communities; and began to discuss opportunities for addressing all of these challenges.

(more…)

Mobilize.org Seeking Program Director    

Mobilize.org is an all-partisan network dedicated to educating, empowering, and energizing young people to increase civic engagement and political participation. They work to show young people how public policy impacts their lives, and conversely, how they can impact public policy. They are currently looking to hire a Program Director for the Party for the Presidency, a national conference to be held on December 29-31, 2007 (more…)

IAP2 Seeking Nominations for Core Values Awards    

Nominations for entries to IAP2’s Annual Core Values Awards competition are now open. The annual awards recognize excellence in applying the association’s Core Values for Public Participation in both projects and organizations. Two awards are presented annually; one for a project and one to an organization, which exemplify the spirit and purpose of public participation. Preference will be given to projects that demonstrate the use of innovative techniques, solutions to problems that face the field of public participation, and the successful involvement of the public in new areas. The winning organization should show how public participation has affected decisions. All organizations are eligible to compete. A panel of IAP2’s past presidents serve as contest judges.

Nominations must be received by IAP2 by July 15, 2007. Judging will be completed during July and August. Winners will be notified by Sept. 15. They will be honored at the Core Values Gala, held during IAP2’s Skills Symposium in Scottsdale, Arizona on November 14, 2007. Please note that third parties, including consultants who worked on the project, can nominate projects or organizations for an award. Nomination criteria and application details are available online. For more information about IAP2’s awards program and past winners, visit their website: www.iap2.org.

World e-Democracy Forum Set for October    

Next October 3 and 4, the “Palais des Sports” of the city of Issy-les-Moulineaux (Paris, France) will host the World e-Democracy Forum for the eighth time. The aim of the Forum is to allow public and private stakeholders of public services and political life to debate on strategic, political and economic issues of the digital society. Guests and speakers from everywhere in the world will debate on several topics including questions about confidence in e-public services, users 2.0, the digital divide, e-petitions, mobile public services, e-voting or democracy 2.0 from the blogosphere to Second Life. Last year, 1.800 people from 43 different countries had attended to the Forum. For more information, visit www.edemocracy-forum.com.

News from Common Sense California    

Good news from Common Sense California (www.commonsenseca.org)! The Hewlett Foundation has approved a grant of $600,000, over two years, to support the work of Common Sense California. These funds, assures CSC a two-year period of intensive work in California, at both local and statewide levels, to develop and utilize techniques of deliberative democracy to improve public decision-making and rebuild trust between citizens and government. They are currently seeking partnerships with school districts, cities, counties, regional organizations and civic groups.

CSC is also giving support to a series of town hall meetings in California that are being sponsored by Blue Shield of California Foundation, the California Endowment and the California Wellness Foundation.  On August 11, 4,000 Californians, invited at random, will assemble in 8 sites to devote an entire day to informed discussion and deliberation on the key policy choices before California on this pressing topic. These “21st Century Town Meetings,” are being organized by America Speaks whose President , Carolyn Lukensmeyer, helped spark Bill’s proposal at the February conference. These meetings will be the largest demonstration of deliberative democracy at work in the history of California.

The Town Meetings on that day will use the skills of approximately 400 facilitators! Anyone who is interested in serving that role can go to www.californiaspeaks.org to find out more.

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