Promoting the founding belief that every citizen has a right to impact the decisions of government, AmericaSpeaks serves as a neutral convener of large-scale public participation forums. Through close consultation with leaders, citizens, the media and others, AmericaSpeaks designs and facilitates deliberative meetings for 500 to 5,000 participants. Its partners have included regional planning groups, local, state, and national government bodies, and national organizations. Issues have ranged from Social Security reform to redevelopment of ground zero in New York.
The Animating Democracy Initiative? www.artsusa.org/animatingdemocracy
Launched in fall 1999, ADI is a four-year programmatic initiative of Americans for the Arts which fosters artistic activity that encourages civic dialogue on important contemporary issues.
Caf? Utne? www.utne.com/salons
In 1991, the Utne Reader, an alternative press magazine, led with an article on Salons, online and face-to-face forums which foster conversation, connection, engagement, and community involvement. The organization was bombarded with interest from readers to start salons and 10 years and 500 salons later, they continue to sponsor neighborhood face-to-face conversations, as well as online conversations.
The Center for Deliberative Polling? www.la.utexas.edu/research/delpol/
Housed in the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin, the Center for Deliberative Polling is devoted to research about democracy and public opinion obtained through Deliberative Polling®. Deliberative Polling, developed by Professor James S. Fishkin, is a technique which combines deliberation in small group discussions with scientific random sampling to provide public consultation for public policy and for electoral issues. A number of Deliberative Polls have been conducted in various countries around the world, some national and some local.
The Center for Wise Democratic Processes? www.wisedemocracy.org
The Center assists communities in creating Wisdom Councils - randomly-selected, facilitated "juries," reflecting the larger diversity of the community - which engage in dialogue about the larger system and arrive at creative
consensus on shared visions. These visions in turn serve to increase the quality of the dialogue among the larger community.
The Commonway Institute? www.commonway.org
Sharif Abdullah, an attorney who quit law frustrated with its adversarial nature, formed the Commonway Institute in Portland, Oregon. Abdullah helps Commons Caf? organizers recruit a group of about 40 participants from both sides of a cultural divide and foster a discussion group.
Community Relations Service? www.usdoj.gov/crs
CRS, an arm of the U.S. Department of Justice, is a specialized Federal conciliation service available to State and local officials to help resolve and prevent racial and ethnic conflict, violence and civil disorders. CRS helps local officials and residents tailor locally defined resolutions when conflict and violence threaten community stability and well-being.
|Len & Libby Traubman of the Jewish-Palestinian Dialogue Group of San Mateo, CA, peruse the exhibits at the National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation.
Conversation Caf? www.conversationcafe.org
Vicki Robin, a pioneer in the voluntary simplicity movement, came up with the idea of using the "conversation caf?" model in attempts to take her ideas of simpler living to a higher level. Her organization has more than 60 trained caf? hosts and has spread internationally after a tremendous start in Seattle.
DIA-logos, Inc.? www.dialogos-inc.com
DIA-logos promotes the spirit and practice of dialogue for strategic use at all levels of leadership within and across organizations. They work with client organizations to meet their business objectives by transforming taken-for-granted limits in ways of thinking and acting.
The Dialogue to Action Initiative? www.thataway.org
Dialogue to Action is a web-based program which aims to keep leaders in dialogue and deliberation informed, involved and inspired. The website offers ever-updated news, resources, ideas and events of interest to dialogue leaders, as well as a popular email discussion list, info about organizing dialogues, and strategies for moving from talk to community action.
Dialogue and Action between the People of Iran and America? www.futurealliances.com/dapia/default.htm
The DAPIA program serves as a catalyst for connecting U.S. and Iranian civil society and NGO leaders and provides a structure for guiding the process, facilitating productive people-to-people dialogue and collaboration and achieving specific and desirable objectives along the way.
Dialogue Webpage for Conflicts Worldwide? www.dwcw.org
DWDC is a forum for 'online dialogue,' which aims to contribute to the improvement of mutual understanding between opposing sides of conflict throughout the world. Produced by the Japan Center for Preventive Diplomacy.
Heartland Institute? www.thoughtleadergathering.com
The Heartland Institute based in the Twin Cities sponsors public forums called "Thought Leader Gatherings" in which a speaker primes a group of about 200 with suggestions and ideas to move them to think about the "integration of personal growth with what we do in the world." After small group discussion, the audience reunites in the final hour.
Beginning with the premise that democracy is a conversation, e-thePeople describes itself as "the digital town hall for the nation." In cooperation with over 1000 sites around the internet, e-thePeople promotes intelligent and diverse discussion and political action.
The Faith & Politics Institute? www.faith-and-politics.org
The Faith and Politics Institute is a non-partisan, interfaith organization which fosters community and conscience in and among U.S. political leaders. The Institute works with members of Congress who want to involve citizens in discussion and action on race in their home districts.
Future Search Network? www.futuresearch.net
The Future Search Network initiates future search conferences, innovative planning conferences used world-wide by hundreds of communities and organizations. The conferences meet two goals at the same time: helping large diverse groups discover values, purposes and projects they hold in common; and enabling people to create a desired future together and start implementing right away.
Global Dialogue Institute? www.global-dialogue.com
GDI promotes a process called "Deep-Dialogue" within and among the cultures, religions and other direction-shaping forces of the world. GDI fosters the Three Dimensions of Deep-Dialogue (ethics, globality and spirituality) by organizing and promoting research, publications, and face-to-face Inter-World Encounters in its Twelve-Step Program to Deep-Dialogue.
Hope in the Cities? www.hopeinthecities.org
Launched in 1990 in an effort to bring political, business and community leaders together in Richmond Virginia to address racial healing, Hope in the Cities has sponsored conferences drawing international participation, has developed dialogue guides to foster conversation in communities and has spawned reconciliation efforts in several other cities.
Images and Voices of Hope www.ivofhope.org
Images and Voices of Hope is an international conversation about the impact of images and stories on people, families, communities, cultures and the world. Convening partners of the initiative are the Institute for Advanced Appreciative Inquiry, The Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual Organization, and the Visions of a Better World Foundation. IV of Hope seeks to strengthen the role of media as agents of world benefit, expanding awareness of the choices those in media make that raise public trust, generate constructive meaning, and amplify human hope, thus enhancing humanity's capacity for life-promoting action.
The Intentional Living Institute, Inc. www.theili.com
The ILI offers cutting edge programs in dialogue and negotiation facilitation, Intentional Heart Centered leadership and advanced self-development. The ILI uses a personalized coaching approach that teaches essential philosophical ideas about leadership as well as practical everyday tools. The ILI is passionately committed to coaching and supporting individuals toward achieving significant breakthroughs in the areas of their professional life, family life, relationships, and community life as well as spiritual life.
Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy? www.imtd.org
Established in 1992, IMTD promotes a systems approach to peacebuilding and facilitates the transformation of deep-rooted social conflict around the world. IMTD is based in Washington D.C. and has 1237 members in 31 countries.
The Jefferson Center? www.jefferson-center.org
Since 1974, the Jefferson Center has conducted Citizen Juries at the local, state and national levels. In a Citizens Jury, a randomly selected, demographically representative panel of citizens, which serve as a microcosm of the public, meet to carefully examine an issue of public significance. At the end of their moderated hearings, the members present their recommendations to the public. The Citizens Jury process is a comprehensive tool that allows decision makers to hear thoughtful citizen input. Juries have addressed topics including national health care reform, budget priorities, environmental issues and local school district facility needs.
Kettering Foundation? www.kettering.org
The central question behind the foundation's research is currently this: What does it take to make democracy work as it should? The Kettering Foundation produces low-cost publications of interest to dialogue leaders. A few examples are: Making Choices Together: The Power of Public Deliberation; Community Leadership: Community Change through Public Action; and How the Community Works: Officeholder Perspectives on Democratic Self-Government and the Community. The Kettering Foundation spawned the National Issues Forum.
National Civic League? www.ncl.org
NCL is dedicated to strengthening citizen democracy by transforming democratic institutions. NCL accomplishes its mission through technical assistance, training, publishing, research and the All-America City Awards, the nation's oldest and most prestigious community recognition program.
National Conference for Community and Justice? www.nccj.org
With more than 60 regional offices in 34 states and Washington D.C., NCCJ facilitates community and interfaith dialogues, provides workplace consultations, youth leadership development, seminar and educator training. Its nationally recognized research in the study of intergroup relations reflects the organization's abiding commitment to help to build an inclusive society.
National Issues Forum? www.nifi.org
NIF is a nationwide network of educational and community organizations that deliberate about nationwide issues. NIF publishes deliberation guides on such topics as Racial and Ethnic Tensions: What Should We Do?; Money and Politics: Who Owns Democracy?; and Violent Kids: Can We Change The Trend?
Paulo Freire Institute? www.paulofreire.org
Established in 1992 as an international non-profit institution, the Paulo Freire Institute now has members from twenty-four countries, including the US. The Institute is dedicated to the work of Paulo Freire, who promoted a kind of citizen action research in which disempowered people (poor, illiterate, homeless) learn the reasons for their lack of power and learn how to address it through this critical education.
Penn National Commission on Society, Culture and Community? www.upenn.edu/pnc
From 1996 to 1999, the Penn National Commission sought to understand the problems of contemporary public discussion and behavior and to foster more engaged and thoughtful conversations about social issues. With the research phase of the Commission's work completed, the Penn Public Talk Project is now engaged in the programmatic phase, working to improve the practice of robust public discourse in ways that lead to stronger, more inclusive communities.
Public Agenda? www.publicagenda.org
Founded in 1975 by social scientist Daniel Yankelovich and former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, Public Agenda pursues a two-part mission. Drawing on its own research, Public Agenda prepares educational materials that help explain policy to the public in a balanced and easily understood way. Citizens use this information to weigh various choices and make educated decisions. Public Agenda has addressed such issues as school and health care reform, national security, AIDS, crime, economic competitiveness and the environment.
Public Conversations Project? www.publicconversations.org
In addition to their groundbreaking grassroots dialogue work, PCP provides trainings, presentations, and workshops on such things as the power of dialogue, inquiry as intervention, and the architecture of dialogue. PCP's website offers a variety of great tools and downloadable resources to help you organize and facilitate a dialogue.
Roundtable, Inc.? www.roundtablemedia.com
Roundtable, Inc. is a production company that focuses on building "social capital." Roundtable produces public engagement projects in several media (television, radio, web, print, books) and partners with other production companies to help increase the impact of their work. They form regional coalitions for each project and provide training for facilitators.
The San Mateo Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group? www.igc.org/traubman/faq.htm
Len and Libby Traubman have been organizing Jewish-Palestinian dialogue in the San Francisco area for over a decade as part of a larger public peace process. Their website features a 'how to' page on initiating Jewish-Palestinian dialogue groups, as well as many great articles and links. The Traubmans have spawned a number of similar, yet diverse groups in the Bay area, and their ideas and methods are spreading into new cities and onto campuses.
Search for Common Ground? www.sfcg.org
Search for Common Ground is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization devoted to conflict prevention and resolution. Based in Washington, DC, with programs in fourteen countries, SFCG works in partnership with the European Centre for Common Ground in Brussels. SFGC is the organization spearheading the movement to establish a U.S. Consensus Council.
The Society for Philosophical Inquiry www.philosopher.org
SPI is a grassroots nonprofit organization?comprised of philosophical inquirers of all ages and walks of life who form "communities of philosophical inquiry," through Socrates Cafés. Cafés take place at coffee houses, libraries, hospices, senior centers, prisons, bookstores, homeless shelters, schools and more. SPI's diverse members are devoted to resuscitating the once time-honored art and skill of Socratic philosophical inquiry. The Socrates Café method of dialogue (based on Socrates? ways of facilitating learning through continuous questioning) is spontaneous yet rigorous, and inspires participants to articulate and discover their unique philosophical perspectives and worldview. The Cafés encourage participants to become more autonomous thinkers and more engaged and empathetic citizens.
Students Talk About Race (STAR)? www.csulb.edu/centers/mcc/page7.html
STAR is a signature project of the Multicultural Center (MCC) at California State University, Long Beach.?? Since its inception in November, 1992, with just 15 CSULB students, STAR has trained over 400 students per semester drawn from CSULB as well as other Los Angeles area campuses (including UCLA, USC, Pepperdine, and Loyola). STAR has recruited over 1,500 college volunteers, training them to become facilitators in cross-cultural communication and placing them into 76 middle school and high schools (serving some 18,000 students).? The 8-week STAR experience has proven itself to be a compassionate and candid forum, addressing difficult issues of diversity with vulnerability and humor.
Study Circles Resource Center? www.studycircles.org
SCRC promotes and supports study circles (small-group, democratic, peer-led deliberative dialogues on important social and political issues). Their website provides downloadable copies of many of their top-notch dialogue guides and other resources.
The University of Michigan's Dialogues on Diversity? www.dialogues.umich.edu
This University of Michigan campus-wide initiative provides opportunities for the open exchange of views about the value of diversity. It supports programs that encourage all members of the University community to explore the concept of diversity, find out what being part of a diverse community means, consider the perspectives of others - and let others know what they think.
The University of Michigan's Program on Intergroup Relations (IGR)? www.umich.edu/~igrc
IGR is a social justice education program which works proactively to promote understanding of intergroup relations throughout the student community. It assists students as they explore models of intergroup understanding and cooperation while acknowledging differences between and within groups. IGR provides students with opportunities to learn, experience, and work constructively with one another through structured dialogues and experiential activities across social group boundaries and through social conflict. A number of other universities have used IGR as a model for developing similar programs.
This non-profit organization is dedicated to developing innovative Web-based projects that bring fresh perspectives and new voices to the discussion of public issues. The goal of the organization is to use the Web as a positive, transformative force in people's lives and in society at large.
World Caf?? www.theworldcafe.com
Juanita Brown and David Isaacs from Whole Systems Associates use the model of the caf? setting to create a warm, inviting environment in which people can converse. Participants gather informally at small tables and are encouraged to map out the ideas generated from conversation onto the paper table cloths covering the tables.