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Archives for September 2007

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….


Gardeners of Peace Call on Saturday, Sept. 29    

Gilles Asselin wrote to NCDD to tell us about his new “Gardeners of Peace” initiative. Gardeners of Peace came out of his life as a result of my many years of ‘inner gardening’ practice and seeking the ‘right way’ to contribute to the world we are living in, and to respond to crises on many levels. He writes, “The two elements of Gardeners of Peace - gardening and peace - appealed to me for two reasons. Whatever it means to each of us, “gardening our self” is a journey that requires effort, discipline and care. It doesn’t come easily and needs to be nurtured regularly. In addition, I believe there can’t be peace in the world unless there is first peace in our hearts. That’s where peace starts and that’s where it grows to reach out to other people and areas of our environment.”

As part of this exploration, Gilles is proposing a conference call to reflect on meaning and purpose, this Saturday, Sept. 29th 12 noon EST. The conversation will consider:

  • What draws people to the Gardeners of Peace invitation?
  • What does it mean to be a human being, and what responsibilities does it entail?
  • How can we acknowledge and honor our human beingness, individually and collectively?
  • How can we respond to the local and global crises that we are facing through the work we do, and inspire one another in the process?
  • How do we widen our network of Gardeners of Peace?

Please see the full text of the conference call invitation at:

C2D2 Early Bird Registration Ends Sept. 30    

As many of you know, the Canadian Community for Dialogue and Deliberation (C2D2) is holding its second conference this November in Vancouver, BC, Canada. From Nov 12-14, the conference will gather D&D practitioners, researchers and policymakers to talk about the theme “Facing Complex Issues Together.” (Check out the program at:,699,32,Documents). The early bird registration discount, which reduces conference fees by $100, ends on September 30th — so now is the time to register!

C2D2 was inspired by the work of NCDD, and the two organizations continue to have strong ties: at the C2D2 conference NCDD’s own Sandy H. will be convening a discussion on choosing the right D&D method, and yours truly will convene a couple of discussions about how the staff of the Ontario & BC Citizens’ Assemblies on Electoral Reform tackled the complex task of designing a new electoral system. I look forward to seeing many of you in Vancouver!

SCRC Launches Blog    

Picture from DemocracySpace.orgThe Study Circles Resource Center has a great new blog - and I learned about it on our own new Members Network tool! Is this a sign that the D&D community is becoming comfortable with online technology? Seems we’re moving in that direction, and quickly! But anyway, SCRC’s new blog,, is really worth a visit. SCRC’s longtime writer, Julie Fanselow, is organizing the blog, and there’s already a slew of interesting and well-written posts on the blog, and it looks like it just launched on the 10th.

Below is an excerpt from today’s news roundup for the week (Julie plans to do this most Fridays) to give you a taste of what this blog has to offer. As someone who has posted to blogs for years now, I admire the work and the knowledge that goes into a post like this. Julie welcomes you to send her stories about collaborative community action to post about (email her at [email protected]).

Yesterday’s march in Jena, La., made big news, as thousands of people gathered to protest the disparities between the cases of black teens initially arrested on attempted murder charges for beating a white peer, and white teens who faced no criminal charges after hanging nooses from a tree on their high school grounds. African-American bloggers (including Eddie G. Griffin, Dallas South, Skeptical Brotha, The Super Spade, and many others) were in the forefront of bringing the Jena Six saga to national attention, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers now says he plans to hold hearings in the case.

USA Today reporter Richard Willing tells how “Protestants and Catholics, once mortal enemies but now partners in Northern Ireland’s fledgling government, have begun a new mission: helping Shiites, Sunnis and members of other strife-torn societies to resolve longstanding religious and ethnic conflicts.” The Irish delegation met with Iraqis in Finland this month, and will meet with Israelis and Palestinians in October. Can the power of dialogue bring peace to some of the world’s most intractable conflicts? Read more here….

UNDP Seeking Democratic Governance Research Analyst    

The United Nations Development Programme is seeking to hire a Democratic Governance Practice Research Analyst. The Research Analyst will support the Democratic Governance Practice Facilitator in maintaining the high quality of network knowledge products while also allowing for the Community of Practice to undertake new initiatives, and adapting Network Products to serve the new client base, in light of the growth in membership and commensurate rise in the level and scope of network activity. To apply, visit: To see a list of duties and responsibilities, competencies and required skills and experience, continue reading. (more…)

Just for Fun…    

Simpsonized Sandy and Andy imageI can add something frivolous once in a while, right? This is a blog, after all.

I just couldn’t resist sharing the Simpsonized version of Andy and I - the powercouple behind NCDD. You can get your own Simpsonized image at if you’d like to.

This post is right in line with our goofy mood here today. Andy, Joy and I are starting to add our members to the new NCDD Members Network - an interactive members directory that, because it runs on social network software, allows our members to create groups, post news to their own blogs (everyone gets one!), upload photos from their programs, identify their Colleagues, etc. Working in the Members Network is fun, and we hope all of our members will find using the Network fun (and useful) as well!

We welcome you to go to to check out the new NCDD Members Network if you’re interested. And if you’re not already a member of NCDD, please join us today! Membership is affordable ($50 for individuals or $100 for organizations), and if you don’t have the money right now or just want to try it out for a while, you can join for free.

Register Now for the Imagine-Nation Conference    

The Imagine-Nation Conference brings together two groups: visionary adults who are already at work in their communities, shaping an inclusive future for their city AND visionary high school youth who are tomorrow’s national leaders, who can co-create a powerful path for their communities and for the nation. The conference is delivered using Appreciative Inquiry, an organizational development process that capitalizes on the best of what is and provides a wide avenue for intergenerational and cross-cultural participation – everyone is welcome; every voice is honored.

On September 27-30 (Thursday night through Sunday morning) in Dallas, Imagine-Nation is organizing the first ever Inter-generational Boot Camp for Visionaries and other leaders. The conference will gather together adults who are passionate about making a difference and high school students who share those passions. For more information and to register, visit

Online Course on “Transforming Civil Conflict” Starts Next Week    

“Transforming Civil Conflict,” an online course developed by The Network University in cooperation with Bradford University, is offered from September 17 - October 12, 2007. This award-winning four-week course familiarises participants with contemporary theories of conflict and conflict resolution, provides them with a range of relevant information on conflict on the Internet, and practical issues and debates from within the field. Participants are brought together in a ‘learning community’ with coaches and experts with a professional interest in conflict (transformation).

Specific aims of this course are to:
. Prepare participants for work in conflict areas
. Make participants’ work in conflict areas more effective
. Provide inspiring examples
. Share experiences and expertise
. Connect the local and international level
. Create a network of conflict transformation experts

For more information, visit the course demosite:; register for the course on, or send an email to Bart Overbeek at [email protected]. There is a limited number of partial scholarships available for participants from the ‘global south.’

PPS Releases “Achieving Great Federal Public Spaces”    

The Project for Public Spaces (PPS) has just released Achieving Great Federal Public Spaces: A Property Manager’s Guide. Written and designed by PPS and the US General Services Administration Good Neighbor program, this innovative guidebook is a valuable tool public property managers seeking to evaluate and improve their lobbies, atriums, plazas, courtyards, and other public spaces. It comprises four major sections (also available for download as free PDFs):

1. Why great places matter and what makes a good public space
2. How to evaluate a building’s public spaces
3. What improvements work in the short-, medium-, and long-term
4. How to successfully implement solutions (more…)

MacArthur Foundation Announces New Digital Media and Learning Competition    

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation ( ) has announced a public competition that will award a total of $2 million in funding to emerging leaders, communicators, and innovators shaping the field of digital media and learning. The competition is part of the foundation’s $50 million Digital Media and Learning initiative (, which aims to help determine how digital technologies are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize, and participate in civic life. The deadline for applications is October 15, 2007.

Awards will be given in two categories: 1) Innovation Awards of $250,000 or $100,000 each will support learning entrepreneurs and builders of new digital environments for informal learning; and 2) Knowledge Networking Awards of up to $75,000 will support communicators in connecting, mobilizing, circulating, or translating new ideas around digital media and learning. As part of their prize, awardees will receive special consultation support on everything from technology development to management training. Winners will be invited to showcase their work at a conference that will include venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, educators, and policy makers seeking the best ideas about digital learning. (more…)

Skoll Foundation Announces New Guidelines for Social Entrepreneurship Awards    

The Skoll Foundation ( ) now accepts applications and grants awards on a year-round basis, with new award winners celebrated once each year in March at the annual Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship. The Skoll Foundation’s mission is “to advance systemic change to benefit communities around the world by investing in, connecting, and celebrating social entrepreneurs.” The foundation’s Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship support social entrepreneurs whose work has the potential for large-scale influence on critical challenges of our time: environmental sustainability, health, tolerance and human rights, institutional responsibility, economic and social equity, and peace and security. Skoll social entrepreneurs are innovators who have tested and proved their approach and are poised to replicate or scale up their work.

The Skoll Awards provide later-stage, or mezzanine, funding, which is generally structured as a $1 million award paid out over three years. In most cases, the grant is provided for core support to help organizations expand their programs and capacity to deliver long-term, sustainable change. The awards are not intended for new or early-stage programs or initiatives. Programs submitted for consideration should have a track record of no less than three years. In addition to core support, the foundation supports the participation of award recipients in the annual Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship.

To be considered for funding in advance of the 2008 Skoll World Forum, applicants must submit their online application no later than September 24, 2007. Applications submitted after that date will continue to be reviewed and funded throughout the year, with awards publicly celebrated at the subsequent Skoll World Forum. For an in-depth description of the foundation’s eligibility criteria, the application process, application instructions, and an FAQ, visit the Skoll Foundation Web site. This is an open deadline award.

Youth Service America Grant Deadline Oct. 1, 2007    

I’ve blogged before about this grant opportunity for those interested in promoting youth dialogue, but there is another deadline coming up so here’s the lowdown: The Youth Service America Youth Venture Program, a partnership between Youth Service America ( and Youth Venture (, is designed to help build the movement of young social entrepreneurs by investing in and encouraging the ideas of young people. The YSA Youth Venture Program provides funding and support to young people (ages 12-20) in the United States who want to create new, sustainable, civic-minded organizations, clubs, or businesses (called “ventures”). To be eligible for the program, ventures must be youth-led and designed to be a lasting asset to the community.

In addition, YSA Youth venture teams are required to plan a Global Youth Service Day ( project every year that their venture is operational. The YSA Youth Venture Program provides a variety of resources, including a national network of like-minded young people, media opportunities, technical support, helpful toolkits and workshops, as well as seed funding of up to $1,000 for start-up expenses. For application tools and more information about the YSA Youth Venture Partnership Program, visit the Youth Venture Web site.

“Engaging the Other” Conference Coming Up in Michigan    

This October 25-28 in Dearborn, MI, the Common Bond Institute is sponsoring the second annual international, multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary conference examining concepts of “The OTHER” from a universal, cross-cultural perspective. The goal is to promote wider public dialogue about concepts of “Us and Them” in order to to address the roots of negative stereotypes, prejudice, and artificial barriers of misunderstanding and distrust that separate people. Participants will join more than 60 remarkable presenters to cultivate a shared capacity for reconciliation, appreciation of diversity, and peace. Participation is open to professionals and the general public. Full Program and Registration Details online at, or Ph/Fax: 269-665-9393 or email: [email protected].

The 4-day conference program includes : 6 Keynote Speakers, 6 Plenary Topical Panels, 24 Concurrent Break-out Sessions of Workshops, Lectures, Roundtables, and Dialogues to Engage Concepts and Explore Practical Applications, Conference-wide Facilitated Dialogue Groups, Live E-conference Addresses by Leading Visionaries, Evolving Expressive Arts Interpretation of the Conference, Tibetan Buddhist Sand Mandala Ritual, Media / Art Exhibits and Events, Evening Performances, Cultural Programs, and Community Activities, Rich Networking Opportunities, Intentional Multi-cultural Community, Final Action Planning Dialogue for Beyond the Conference and 6 Pre-Conference All-day Institutes on Thursday, October 25 (9am-4:30pm).

Join an Online Dialogue on Women and Political Participation in Africa    

NCDD member Leanne Nurse just brought our attention to a thematic online discussion about “Women, political participation and decision- making in Africa.” The online discussion is being organized by the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women/Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the Economic Commission for Africa in cooperation with the E-Network of National Gender Equality Machineries in Africa.

The discussion will run for six weeks from 4 September to 14 October 2007. The purpose of the online discussion is to contribute to a better understanding of women’s political participation in Africa; collect measures taken at national and subregional levels to promote women’s participation; identify good practices and lessons learned and highlight gaps and challenges requiring further action. Register for the online discussion at If you have any questions or experience problems when registering, please contact Mr. Rajkumar Cheney Krishnan ([email protected]). (more…)

Center For Dialogue Seeks Director of Mediation Services    

Huldah Warren ([email protected]), Executive Director of the Center for Dialogue in Brevard, North Carolina, sent in this job announcement to the NCDD discussion list:

Director of Mediation Services, Center for Dialogue - 40 hours weekly; Bachelors degree; mediation certification and experience; 3 years experience social work, human services, conflict resolution, program management; strong organizational skills; excellent communication and listening skills; highly self-directed; creative program development; familiarity with court systems; proficiency with Microsoft Office Programs. Visit for more information. Send resumes to: [email protected] - PO Box 1205 Brevard, NC 28712.

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