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Archives for June 2009

5 Tips from Julia Young on Running Engaging Webinars    

There’s a great post by Julia Young on the Facilitate Proceedings blog on tips for running effective, engaging webinars. Click here to see the post, but I’m including it below partly so I don’t lose track of it. Many of us can benefit from these tips! (more…)

CSC Grants to Support Public Engagement Efforts in California    

Here’s an important announcement for those of you in California, from NCDD member Pete Peterson. Common Sense California just announced the re-launch of its unique “citizen engagement grant program” for 2009, offering thousands of dollars to California municipalities, school districts and non-profits in support of their efforts to involve residents in local policy-making. Grants will range from $1,000 to $7,500. (more…)

Phase 3 of Open Gov’t Dialogue in Full Swing    

Phase 3 of the Obama administration’s groundbreaking Open Government public consultation process (the Drafting Phase) is now in full swing at and I encourage NCDDers to get involved!  This Drafting Phase invites you to collaborate on creating recommendations for open government policy using a web-based wiki tool.  There’s a video tutorial up at about how to use the tool.

NCDDers Leanne Nurse and Tim Bonnemann both took notes during yesterday’s conference call with White House staff about Phase III, and I’ve consolidated them below.

You also may want to check out the New York Times article published Monday on the open government dialogue called “Ideas Online, Yes, but Some Not So Presidential.” (more…)

Huffington Post Article on Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Dialogue    

A great article appeared on The Huffington Post on Monday that many of you will want to know about.  “Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Can Work Together,” a piece by Public Conversations Project Associate Mary Jacksteit shares two examples of pro-choice and pro-life activists using dialogue to defuse tension and reduce violence.

Our friends at the Public Conversations Project (an NCDD organizational member) ask that you read the story, add a comment to the post, and send this link out to your family, friends and colleagues:

New PACE Report on How Local Gov’t is Reinventing Civic Engagement    

Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE) just released a great new report called “The New Laboratories of Democracy:  How Local Government is Reinventing Civic Engagement.”  Mike McGrath from the National Civic League authored the report, which can be downloaded from the PACE website at

The PACE report details the innovative methods local governments around the country are using to increase civic engagement by the public. “Local governments are at the cutting edge of finding new tools and methods to increase civic engagement in this country. We hope this report will stimulate new thinking within the philanthropic community, as well as in local governments around the country, and help spread the word about these new and successful approaches,” said Chris Gates, Executive Director of PACE.

Featuring a foreword by National League of Cities Executive Director Donald Borut, the report combines original research with an overview of the literature and history of civic engagement and local government reform while highlighting fresh insights from foundation leaders, civic experts, scholars, local officials and public engagement advocates.

“The New Laboratories of Democracy: How Local Government is Reinventing Civic Engagement” traces the quest for deeper and more authentic forms of public engagement from the anti-poverty programs over the last 45 years through the 1990s when a variety of trends came together to foster a “second wave” of civic innovation. Those trends included a growing skepticism about government’s role in society, increasing concern for the need to re-knit the fabric of struggling communities and a desire for more authentic, civil and “deliberative” forms of public discourse and decision-making. (more…)

Comments Welcome on Open Gov’t Posts on Public Participation    

The “participation” questions are starting to go up today on the Open Government Initiative blog at

The first post that is open to comments has been live since 2:00, and at this point there are only 8 comments posted.  A comment added now will stay at the top of the list, so it’s a good idea to post as soon as possible.  Though the post we’re being asked to comment on is super broad, inviting us to dig deeper into ideas brought up during the Brainstorm phase, share best practices, and provide incentives for participation.  NCDD member Nancy Glock-Grueneich has braved the waters and added a great comment worth checking out.

Sustained Dialogue Campus Network Seeks Executive Director    

The Sustained Dialogue Campus Network (SDCN) trains, mentors, and connects students on 15 campuses across the country seeking to build more cohesive, diverse, engaged communities through dialogue. An initiative of the International Institute for Sustained Dialogue, SDCN seeks an Executive Director to lead its expansion nationally and to deepen its work in leveraging the efforts of student leaders to improve campus climates and build social capital nationwide.

The Executive Director will exercise leadership in defining SDCN strategic directions, broaden SDCN’s funding base, and build and strengthen relationships with partner organizations. The ED will support a 4-person staff and work to build SDCN’s recently formed Advisory Board. At this time of remarkable national energy around civic engagement and citizen-led community building work, we are incredibly excited about our potential to recruit a fantastic leader, to help take SDCN to the next level.

For full job description, visit

“Free Minds, Free People” Coming up in Houston    

We got a message today from Tara Mack at the Education for Liberation Network. She reminded us that there are only two weeks to go before Free Minds, Free People, the national conference on social justice education.

Free Minds, Free People is a national conference that brings together teachers, high school and college students, researchers, parents and community-based activists/educators from across the country to build a movement to develop and promote Education for Liberation. The goal of the conference is to provide a forum for sharing knowledge, experiences and strategies to help students understand and challenge the injustices their communities face.

The conference will take place June 25-28 in Houston, Texas. Visit for more info or to register.

Request for YOUR Participation from Robynn Sturm    

I received an email today from Greg Nelson, Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. He forwarded on a message from Robynn Sturm, Assistant Deputy CTO for Open Government, encouraging our networks’ participation in the Discussion phase of the Open Government dialogue that’s going on right now on the OSTP blog at, and giving us a heads up on the soon-to-come posts about citizen participation and civic engagement, which many of you will surely want to participate in if you’re not already active in this phase.

In his email, Greg said “We’re excited about these initial phases, and want to make sure we engage as broadly as possible.”

Here is Robynn’s email:

Thank you so much for joining us on last Thursday’s call about public participation in the development of the Obama Administration’s Open Government policy. As suggested on that call, we want to provide this list with an update and invite your continued participation. The Discussion Phase is ongoing at

At present, we are seeking input for our recommendations on transparency policy. We have discussions open for comment on:

Over the next 48 hours, we will also post a new request for input on:

  • Transparency: Open Government Operations and
  • Transparency: Data, and Metadata

As we wrap up the transparency conversation with a final posting about information access and the Freedom of Information Act tomorrow, we want to preview what’s coming this week in the discussion about Citizen Participation and Civic Engagement. Beginning on Wednesday we’ll start conversations on Participation:

  • Creating More Opportunities for Citizen Participation in Government Decision making
  • Increasing Citizen Participation and Civic Education
  • E-Democracy: New Tools and Technologies for Participation
  • Web 2.0 Policy Framework
  • Public Participation in Federal Rulemaking

We need your participation to ensure a productive conversation that informs the Administration’s policies on transparency, participation, and collaboration with your expertise and experience. Perhaps even more important, we need your help to ensure that open processes of policymaking become the norm in this Administration.

Many thanks,

Robynn Sturm, Assistant Deputy CTO for Open Government

Notes from Call with Open Gov’t Folks on Phase II    

I was invited via email onto a conference call with members of the White House Open Government team today at noon Eastern, to discuss the launch of Phase II of the Open Government Initiative and opportunities to get involved. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to make the call, so I asked two NCDDers (Tim Bonnemann and Lucas Cioffi) who have been paying close attention to the Open Government dialogue process to participate in the call and take notes.

I was able to make the call after all and our combined notes from the call are below. As I posted earlier, you can read about the recent work of the Open Government Initiative at:

My email invitation came from Greg Nelson, Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, and in his message he noted:

“Phase II focuses on defining the challenges in greater depth. We will be asking for your help with fleshing out the issues, potential solutions, and the pros and cons of proposed approaches. The goal of Phase II is to explore proposals for a Government-wide framework to achieve transparency, participation and collaboration. We want your help with translating good ideas into concrete, measurable and cost-effective solutions.” (more…)

Report on Brainstorming Phase Mentions NCDD and Lists PEP Principles!    

The 13-page NAPA (National Academy of Public Administration) report to Beth Noveck on phase 1 of the Open Government Dialogue is available, and I am excited to say that the Core Principles for Public Engagement we all worked so hard to construct earlier this year were listed in the report in full!

As you probably know, the Open Government dialogue feeds into the Open Government Directive that President Obama called for in his Memo on Transparency and Open Government, which he issued on his first day in office.  The report on the “Brainstorm” phase said the “Grassroots/Local Civic Participation/Deliberative Democracy” group (us!) was “the largest and most well-prepared group in the Brainstorm: they were early to the table and augmented their ranks as the dialogue proceeded.”  Yay us!

Of course, as Tim Bonnemann pointed out in the NCDD listserv, the report does say “Most of the ideas presented by the Deliberative Democracy group do not lend themselves to immediate action; they are, rather, general principles.”  I’m not so sure I agree with that myself, as I know a lot of NCDDers submitted some pretty actionable ideas.

The second phase of the Open Government Dialogue (the “Discuss” phase) launched yesterday, and I was invited by Greg Nelson, Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement onto a conference call that’s happening today at noon Eastern about this second phase. This second phase will utilize blog software (the OSTP blog at to be exact) to dig deeper into topics brought up during the Brainstorm phase. (more…)

Now’s the Time to Submit Session Proposals and Facilitator Applications for Engaging the Other Conference    

Engaging the Other bannerThe 4th Annual International Conference on “Engaging The Other:” The Power of Compassion is taking place November 12-15 in San Mateo, California (outside San Francisco), and we encourage all NCDDers interested in conflict resolution and intergroup relations to attend! NCDD is co-sponsoring this event with the Common Bond Institute and the International Humanistic Psychology Association, and registration will be discounted for NCDD members ($290 rather than $350 for the early rate).

Engaging The Other (ETO) is an innovative interdisciplinary conference examining concepts of “The Other” from a universal, cross-cultural perspective to promote wider public dialogue about concepts of “Us and Them.”

Now is the time to submit your proposal for a concurrent session (workshop), and/or to sign up as a dialogue group facilitator. Participation in either role saves you 50% on the regular registration rate! (more…)

D&D Video Playlists on YouTube    

A few weeks ago, I created 7 public playlists on YouTube, featuring some great videos that show and/or introduce people to dialogue and deliberation. The playlists can be found at

I created the playlists after someone on the main NCDD discussion list asked for links to YouTube videos (read:  short and easily accessible) on dialogue and deliberation, and received a whole variety of replies. I wondered how NCDD could make these videos easy for people to find longer-term (searching for “dialogue” or “deliberation” on YouTube yields too many weird results), and discovered that I could create public playlists.

I organized well over 100 YouTube videos (most of which I had no idea were even available!) into these playlists:

  • About dialogue & deliberation (people talking about D&D)
  • Dialogue & deliberation in practice (includes clips of actual D&D)
  • Dialogue & deliberation events (specific projects and events)
  • NCDD Videos (from all our events)
  • NCDD Austin (a bunch of great little videos were taken at our 2008 conference; plus Tim Thomas’ amazing photo journal shown during the closing session can be found here)
  • Sandy’s favorite D&D videos (to help people quickly find what I consider the best of the best)
  • Graphic recording (these cool videos deserved their own category)

Crisis to Resilience Webinar Series Starts Tonight    

I wanted to post a reminder that the 4-part webinar series, the “Transition from Crisis 2 Resilience Webinar” is holding its first one-hour webinar tonight at 7 pm Eastern.  Regular tuition is $110, which includes a Transition Crisis 2 Resilience Handbook, but fee-paying NCDD members can register for $88 at

A Crisis Doesn’t Have to Become A Disaster

Position yourself, your clients, your community facing natural and human-generated crises, for immediate survival through building long-term resilience.

For: Facilitators, Mediators, Consultants, Business & Community Leaders, Emergency Service Providers, Citizens

Upcoming weekly 4 one-hour webinars:  June 2, 9, 15, and 23, 4 - 5PM Pacific Time; 7 - 8PM Eastern Time 12PM GMT

Us Partners and the Global Facilitators Service Corps are teaming up to expand the corps of leaders knowledgeable in crisis management and building resilience. We educate people to be able to facilitate communities, organizations, business, and individuals to emerge from the trauma of crisis to becoming self-reliant, self-organizing, innovative and resilient.

Special discount link for fee-paying NCDD members:

Questions?  Email Hina Pendle at [email protected]

Open Space Training this Month in London    

Dr. Sheila Marsh asked me to mention a training in Open Space facilitation that’s being offered June 17-19, 2009 in Little Venice, London.  She said the training is a “great value and diverse group led by 2 experienced open space practitioners.” Contact Sue Strachan, programme administrator at [email protected] or visit  The cost with all materials and refreshments is £495. Some ‘bursaries’ are available.

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