February 28, 2004

PCP & Beliefnet Foster Online Dialogue about The Passion of the Christ Film

Mel Gibson's movie The Passion of The Christ has inspired strong feelings about a range of complex - and potentially controversial - questions. The Public Conversations Project is enabling people to seize this opportunity to build bridges rather than walls. Partnering with Beliefnet, a leading multifaith spirituality and religion website, PCP is facilitating a free 2-week online dialogue to help moviegoers explore a range of questions and examine different points of view in a well-organized, constructive environment. www.publicconversations.org/pcp/index.asp?page_id=250

More resources on The Passion of the Christ:

John Abbe recommends this weblog entry covering the film:

And this interesting summary and link list:

And I found this critique about the movie from the New Yorker to be very revealing:

Posted by Sandy at 06:20 PM | Comments (0)

Peaceforce Collecting Stories on the Power of Nonviolent Conflict Transformation

Mel Duncan, the Executive Director of the Nonviolent Peaceforce, invites you to send in your stories and experiences in the power of nonviolent conflict transformation. Your stories will be published in future issues of the Peaceforce?’s e-newsletter. According to Mel, ?“by sharing your wisdom and your perspective, you will enrich our growing network of people who are working together to build the Nonviolent Peaceforce and alternatives to military intervention.?” Email your stories to . The Nonviolent Peaceforce is an international organization dedicated to creating a large-scale peace army of trained, paid civilians from every continent to intervene in conflict situations.

Posted by Sandy at 12:41 PM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2004

CIRCLE Fact Sheet on the Role of Mass Media in Civic Development

A new Fact Sheet from CIRCLE (The Center for Information & Research On Civic Learning & Engagement), entitled "Attention to Media and Trust in Media Sources," examines the role of mass media in the development of young people's civic knowledge and engagement in three countries - Chile, Portugal, and the U.S. The Fact Sheet shows that young people in all three countries use television most often to get information about politics. Newspapers are also used by a fair number of young people, especially in the U.S. In all three countries, students who frequently read newspaper stories about their country had higher average levels of civic knowledge. The Fact Sheet can be found at www.civicyouth.org/research/products/fact_sheets.htm.

Posted by Sandy at 06:51 PM | Comments (0)

New CHOICES Unit for Teachers

?“The U.S. Role in a Changing World?” is one of the newest units published by the Choices for the 21st Century Education Program of Brown University. This new unit helps students reflect on global changes, assess national priorities, and decide for themselves through informed deliberation the role the US should play in the world today. Click below for info about other resources and ordering details.

Other New and Updated Titles
- Confronting Genocide: Never Again? (1st Edition)
- Responding to Terrorism: Challenges for Democracy (3rd Edition)
- The Cuban Missile Crisis: Considering its Place in Cold War History (2nd Edition)
- The Limits of Power: The United States in Vietnam (6th Edition)
- Reluctant Colossus: America Enters the Age of Imperialism (3rd Edition)

Series Available
- U.S. HISTORY SERIES: 11 titles for $150
- WORLD HISTORY SERIES: 4 titles for $50
- CURRENT ISSUES SERIES: 13 titles for $175
- COMPLETE CHOICES SERIES: all 25 titles for $345

Ordering From CHOICES
Units can be ordered ONLINE at http://www.choices.edu/curriculum.cfm, by mailing our PRINTABLE ORDER FORM (with payment), or by calling 401-863-3155. The complete series (25 units) can be ordered at a discount ($345) using the PRINTABLE ORDER FORM http://www.choices.edu/order/classform.pdf

New on TEACHING WITH THE NEWS - our frequently updated area for free resources that address current issues

The U.S. Role in the World:
Includes a lesson plan involving discussion of four distinct alternatives - or Futures - that frame the current debate on the U.S. role in the world. This activity features an online student ballot that allows your students' opinions to be included on a nationally distributed report. The U.S. Role in the World is a great introduction - or conclusion - to many of the international topics covered in curriculum units from The CHOICES Program?Šand it's FREE!

This is a great way to engage your students in one of the key the issues being discussed in the primary campaigns.

Also free from CHOICES
The CHOICES Program has developed curriculum to accompany the Academy Award nominated documentary film, The Fog of War.

If you did not receive your FREE copy of The Fog of War Teacher's Guide, you can download copies from our web site at http://www.choices.edu/fogofwar. Primary sources and additional curriculum resources to accompany the Teacher's Guide are available online at no cost.

Check the CHOICES Program web site for new and updated resources.

Explore the Past - Shape the Future
History and Current Issues for the Classroom

Choices for the 21st Century Education Program
Watson Institute for International Studies
Brown University, Box 1948
Providence, RI 02912
(tel) 401-863-3155, (fax) 401-863-1247
Visit us on the web at: www.choices.edu

Posted by Sandy at 10:13 AM | Comments (0)

July Facilitation & Consensus Course Offered in Northern Italy

The International Institute for Facilitation and Consensus and Ecovillage Torri Superiore are offering a course titled ?“Facilitation and Consensus?” July 2-8, 2004, in Northern Italy. Participants in this course will learn skills that will serve them well in every aspect of their lives, including the impact of rank and privilege on group process, dealing with ?“difficult people,?” avoiding wasted time in meetings, building cohesion among group members, and creating an atmosphere of trust and safety. Other topics will include how to balance participation between the talkative and the timid, handling ?“experts?” and dealing with personal attacks. Less dramatic, but perhaps even more practical tools include agenda planning, meeting site preparation, ground rules meeting evaluation.

Facilitation - a new form of leadership
The facilitator-as-leader is committed to collaboration, consensus and high quality decision-making. The ability to facilitate meetings that are both participatory and productive is a fundamental skill for this new kind of leader. Other key characteristics include knowing how to draw out the best in others, respect for diversity and resourcefulness in the face of conflict.

Consensus ?– a decision-making process that supports visionary change
Consensus process provides a structure for transforming the passion of change-oriented groups into effective action. The intention is to go beyond the traditional push-and-pull of individual egos to forge decisions that incorporate the best thinking of all the participants and produce decisions that everyone can support. Properly used, consensus can be an antidote to the apathy and cynicism that prevent many people from even attempting to work in a group.

Participatory learning
Our teaching method is designed to engage the head, heart and senses. When we present theory, it is supported by colorful graphics and examples drawn from our own experience. Then participants test the concepts in individual and group exercises, challenge them in discussions and apply them in practice sessions. Our goal is to prepare the students in the course to be more confident, participatory leaders who can share power and move toward a common goal .

Minimal Prerequisites
We are looking for people who belong to groups (whether as part of their work or in their personal or civic life) and want to improve the way those groups function. Previous experience with facilitation and/or consensus, while useful, is not necessary. Those who successfully complete the training will receive a certificate from the Institute.

Experienced Trainers
Beatrice Briggs. Since 1992 Beatrice has given dozens of workshops on facilitation and consensus decision-making in Latin America, Europe, the United States and Canada. She is recognized as a dynamic and inspiring teacher. As a facilitator, Beatrice has served groups ranging in size from 3 to 300 people. She is the author of the manual Introduction to Consensus and has written many articles about facilitation, conflict resolution and group process.

Lucilla Borio. A founding member of Ecovillage Torri Superiore, since 1989 she has been involved in community creation and network management. Lucilla served from 1999 to 2003 as the Executive Secretary of the Global Ecovillage Network of Europe (GEN-Europe), and in 2001/2002 as Chair of GEN International. She is a student of Bea Briggs, and has facilitated meeting of intentional communities, ecovillages, permaculture activists and civil groups in general.

Setting ?– Torri Superiore
The medieval village of Torri Superiore is a jewel of popular architecture, built entirely in stone in the Ligurian hinterland near Ventimiglia (Imperia), a few km. from the Riviera and the French border. The ecovillage is at an altitude of 80 meters at the foot of the Ligurian Alps, in a green valley surrounded by olive and lemon trees. The guest centre features common dining rooms and terraces, single, double and shared bedrooms, bathrooms with solar warm water, a separate meditation room. Beautiful walks and swims are available in the vicinity.

Fees and Registration
The fee for the course is Euro 500. It includes accommodation in the medieval village (shared rooms) and full board. The diet is based on local and organic food, prepared with the care and taste of the best Mediterranean cuisine.

For more information:
Ecovillage Torri Superiore
Via Torri Superiore 5 - 18039 Ventimiglia (Imperia) Italy
tel. +39 0184 215504 - fax +39 0184 215914

Posted by Sandy at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)

February 26, 2004

New Higher Ed ?“Community of Practice?” Created on Democratic Dialogue

The American Association for Higher Education (AAHE) just created four new web-based COPs (Communities of Practice) -- on assessment, cognitive development, electronic portfolios, and democratic dialogue. The Society for Values in Higher Education (SVHE) is facilitating the COP on democratic dialogue, and they are inviting academics who are studying and experimenting with various models of discourse (study circles, National Issues Forums, intergroup dialogue, and others) to participate. Newcomers to the field are welcome! The group will convene a few times a year (optional) and exchange resources, ideas, and announcements via the web site.

Joining is easy, free, and membership in AAHE or SVHE is not required. There is no listserv, although you might from time to time receive an email regarding an on-line discussion or gathering (and maybe a request for help).

To join, go to http://webcenter.aahe.org/chef/portal and press the button for creating a new account. You will be given an access name and a password, and then you can explore the site all you want. You can post articles, announcements, and start conversations on your own. If you have any problems, contact Nancy Thomas, Director of the Democracy Project of the Society for Values in Higher Education (860-657-9907 or .

Please note that the Democratic Dialogue COP has two specific activities planned at AAHE's 2004 National Learning to Change Conference in San Diego, California (April 1-4): a preconference workshop (David Schoem and Nancy Thomas are facilitating a session on leadership and deliberative dialogue) AND two COP meetings. The goals of the meetings will be to get to know each other and brainstorm ways to turn this experiment into a successful community of practice.

Posted by Sandy at 10:42 PM | Comments (0)

Newly Published Works of the late Mary Parker Follett

The Mary Parker Follett Foundation announced on February 22 that the past several years have seen the re-issuing of several books by Mary Follett. Two of her important works/collections have recently been reissued. Creative Experience has been re-issued by Thoemmes Continuum as part of a series, and is available in the U.S. through the University of Chicago ($45, ISBN 1843714884). Dynamic Administration, a collection of papers by Follett that was published after her death, has been re-issued by Routledge ($170, ISBN 0415279852).

Posted by Sandy at 07:27 PM | Comments (0)

AAHE Conference on Democratic Transformations, Diversity Redefined and Digital Environments

On April 1-4, the American Association of Higher Education (AAHE) will hold its 2004 National Learning to Change Conference in San Diego, California. ?“Learning 3D: Democratic Transformations, Diversity Redefined, Digital Environments.?” The conference program focuses on the interplay of three major forces that are revolutionizing our global society and our institutions of higher education: the democratization of knowledge, diversity of populations, cultures and perspectives, and information and communication technologies.

A letter from Clara M. Lovett, President of AAHE (found at www.aahe.org/learningtochange/2004/index.htm), included the following additional text:

Together, we will explore exciting questions:

Democratic Transformations
What happens to traditional educational environments when students gain access to multiple sources of information and knowledge and organize their own learning? What happens to traditional academic hierarchies when faculty become primarily facilitators of student learning and when they collaborate with peers from other professional backgrounds?

Diversity Redefined
On the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, and with the Michigan decision and California?’s Prop. 209 and Prop. 54 as background, how do we prepare ourselves and our institutions to address emerging issues and challenges in an increasingly diverse society?

Digital Environments
How can we use information and communication technologies to enable our institutions to respond effectively to society?’s needs? Why has the impact of these technologies on our work been relatively modest thus far, except in some fields of research? Could it be that, as with diversity, we still think of the digital environment as a ?“thing?” to enhance the way we have always taught students, rather than a ?“condition?” of our students?’ lives and expectations?

I encourage you to reflect on these themes and questions and be prepared to engage your colleagues in serious exploration and lively debate. Together, the 3Ds are reshaping the institutional compacts and the academic pecking order that took shape in the 1960s. As higher education leaders we must begin to envision what will take their place and how we can act on our vision.

Posted by Sandy at 02:32 PM | Comments (0)

?‘Family Circles' Build Vital Neighborhoods in Indianapolis

A great article by Gloria F. Mengual outlines how the Study Circles Resource Center and the Annie E. Casey Foundation have helped neighborhoods in Indianapolis, Indiana, solve their problems through dialogue and collaborative action. According to Mengual, ?“Since 2000, 780 residents have participated in the 92 Family Circles held in 30 neighborhoods. Participants identified many action ideas they wanted to pursue, including new playgrounds, mentoring programs, after school programs, safe houses for teens and more.?” Click below for the full article.

Neighborhoods in Indianapolis, Indiana, have become much more than bricks and mortar after participating in a project called ?“Family Circles.?” Residents have built relationships, exchanged ideas and taken action. Working together, individual citizens, local organizations and city officials are using their time and talents to make their shared neighborhood vision a reality.

?“More neighbors now know each other,?” said project coordinator Alicia Barnett. ?“New leaders have emerged. Families have reconnected to nearby services and resources available to them. Residents are discussing issues, exchanging information and resources and ultimately, becoming a driving force within their neighborhood.?”

Part of the ?“Making Connections?” initiative of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Family Circles gave citizens facing ongoing, difficult issues an opportunity to voice their views and solve neighborhood problems. The program brings together neighborhood residents from diverse background for a series of small-group discussions. Everyone has a ?“say,?” and the dialogue leads to action in a variety of ways.

The staff of the Study Circles Resource Center provided training and organizing assistance for the project. The circles used the dialogue guide Building Strong Neighborhoods for Families with Children, developed by SCRC in collaboration with the Casey Foundation.

An advisory board of neighborhood leaders selected neighborhood-based organizations to host the circles. Those organizations were responsible for recruiting facilitators and participants, arranging space for circles, and making arrangements for food and child care.

Since 2000, 780 residents have participated in the 92 Family Circles held in 30 neighborhoods. Participants identified many action ideas they wanted to pursue, including new playgrounds, mentoring programs, after school programs, safe houses for teens and more.

Future plans include continuing the Family Circles, providing leadership development opportunities for emerging grassroots leaders, and continuing to connect residents with city government, planners and funders.

To date, one of those connections has taken place in The Family Strengthening Coalition. The Coalition ?— made up of the Mayor's Office, United Way of Central Indiana, the Central Indiana Community Foundation, the Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center, the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation ?— now has Family Circles representation.

The Indianapolis Family Circles is one of many study circle programs that have been held throughout the country in the last decade. These programs rely on small-group meetings (such as the Family Circles), large-group meetings (sometimes called action forums), and the sense that every citizen can help to solve community problems.

This article can be found at www.studycircles.org/pages/success/indsuccess.php.

Posted by Sandy at 11:57 AM | Comments (0)

February 21, 2004

"Let's Talk America" Featured in Current Utne Magazine

NCDD has been working with the Utne Institute, Conversation Cafe and The World Cafe to organize a nation-wide dialogue called "Let's Talk America." LTA is featured in the March/April Utne that I just received in my mailbox this morning, and I encourage all of you to go out and get this month's Utne if you're not a subscriber.

A very cool 2-page ad (p. 48-49) with a red background encourages people to participate in this "new nationwide movement to revitalize our democracy." And on pages 60-61, a great article by Leif Utne provides background and info on how to get involved. Everyone in the dialogue & deliberation community is invited to participate in this election-year initiative. Go to www.letstalkamerica.org to find out more about the different levels of involvement.

Posted by Sandy at 01:35 PM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2004

Praxis Peace Institute Conference on ?“The Alchemy of Democracy?”

The Alchemy of Democracy: Restoring Soul to Culture will be held June 13-18, 2004 at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, California. Sponsored by Praxis Peace Institute, the conference we will focus on the politics of Hope, Vision, Transformation and Civic Empowerment. As the 2004 election looms before us, Praxis Peace Institute will be an active force in promoting a vital Democracy through informed and transformed citizenship. Unique features of the 2004 Praxis Conference include Café Discussions ?– in-depth small group explorations of conference themes following each plenary session.

Co-Sponsors include the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS), The Association of Humanistic Psychology (AHP), Common Bond Institute, Yes! Magazine, Youth for Environmental Sanity (YES), The Politics of Trust Network, The Institute of Imaginal Studies, EVOLVE, and others.

Our focus is:
?• The Politics of Hope --- emerging stories of partnership, empathy, activism and love
?• The Politics of Vision --- expansion of the imagination (greater possibilities)
?• The Politics of Civic Empowerment --- manifesting our visions
?• The Politics of Transformation --- the alchemy of systemic change
The goal is informed citizenship and a vital Democracy --- leading to sustainable lifestyles, social justice and systemic peace.

The purpose of the 2004 Praxis conference is to provide an environment for
?• Deep Inquiry
?• Skill-building Workshops for personal & social transformation
?• Defining our story and honing our strategies
?• Development of a Praxis Think Tank and research body
?• Networking among fellow participants and speakers
?• Exercises in creative imagination and critical thinking
?• Inspiring, empowering and activating ourselves and fellow citizens.

For more information, go to www.epiphanet.com/~praxispeace/, or contact
Praxis Peace Institute
Georgia Kelly, Executive Director
Carolyn Bloom, Administrative Assistant
P.O. Box 523, Sonoma, CA 95476
Tel: 707-939-2973 * Fax: 707-939-6720

Posted by Sandy at 01:14 PM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2004

Second National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation to be Held this October

NCDD's 2004 conference will take place in Denver, Colorado, October 23-25 at Regis University. We plan to have this conference surpass the groundbreaking 2002 conference in every way - in numbers, in quality, in networking opportunities, in learning and skill-building.

Like our first conference, the 2004 conference will be planned as collaboratively and creatively as possible, and your input and involvement are more than welcome. Go to www.thataway.org/conference/2004/index.html for more info.

Posted by Sandy at 10:02 PM | Comments (0)

NVC/Restorative Justice Conference in Helsinki this June

A conference called ?“Nonviolent Communication (NVC) as a Process in Victim-Offender Mediation and Other Conflict Situations?” will be held June 5-6, 2004 in Helsinki, Finland. The head trainer will be Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of Nonviolent Communication. Participants will hear how NVC-based mediation is used in prisons, in police work and in schools in different countries.

The conference will:

- provide an opportunity for all those new to Nonviolent Communication (NVC) to hear what it is
- offer an in-depth exploration of how the NVC-based Mediation can be used: 1) in victim-offender mediation, 2) in police work, 3) with prison staff, 4) with prisoners, 5) in schools, 6) in family dispute situations like divorces and custody cases, 7) in other situations where people are experiencing conflict
- provide an opportunity to meet and to share experiences with people interested and active in the same fields as you
- let us hear how restorative justice is progressing in Finland
- discuss how Nonviolent Communication can influence healing
- enable us to share experiences and get more clarity about how we might use Nonviolent Communication to influence crime prevention work.

The invitation, program and other info can be found at www.savannaconnexions.fi.

Posted by Sandy at 09:56 PM | Comments (0)

Opportunity to Attend AU?’s Summer Peacebuilding & Development Institute 2004

American University?’s Peacebuilding and Development Summer Institute provides knowledge, practical experience and skills for practitioners, teachers and students involved in conflict resolution, peacebuilding, humanitarian assistance and development. Held on AU's campus in Washington, DC, the Summer Institute will focus on various approaches to mediation, negotiation, facilitation, reconciliation and dialogue, particularly in conflict-torn and developing regions.

Participants will explore innovative methods of promoting cultural diversity with respect to public policy, community and religion, war and post-conflict environments, while expanding their knowledge and skills in a participatory and interactive learning environment. Participants in the Summer Institute will be exposed to leading national and international professionals in the fields of public policy, peacebuilding and development.

The summer 2003 Institute welcomed 106 participants from 26 countries. The participants came from varying backgrounds ranging from international agencies such as UNDP, CARE, USAID, UNHCR, oil companies, teachers, an official from a State police agency, to a representative from the American Bar Association, and small non-governmental organizations. They were joined by Master?’s degree students from the International Peace & Conflict Resolution division and the International Development division within the School of International Service.

Three courses will be offered each week for three weeks and participants will have to choose one class each week. The courses are:

Week I - June 28 - July 2, 2004
Religion & Culture in Conflict Resolution, with Mohammed Abu -Nimer, Bridging Human Rights Conflict Resolution & Development with Diana Chigas,

Political Negotiation in Latin America with Graciela (Gachi) Tapia

Week II - July 5-9
Development in Conflict: Practical Approaches to Recovery with Kimberly Maynard, Training for Trainers in Peacebuilding & Development with Mohammed Abu-Nimer, Applied Conflict Analysis and Resolution with Ronald Fisher and Brian Mandell,

Week III - July 12-16
Gender & Peacebuilding in a Development Context with Julie Mertus, Positive Approaches to Peacebuilding & Development with Claudia Liebler, Arts Approaches to Peacebuilding with Babu Ayindo.

For further information and the summer 2004 application kindly refer to www.american.edu/sis/peacebuilding or e-mail .

Posted by Sandy at 12:14 PM | Comments (0)

February 18, 2004

New Case Study on Arts-Based Civic Dialogue Experiences

A case study on Perseverance Theatre has been posted on the Animating Democracy website. A statewide tour of the Theatre?’s adaptation of ?“Moby Dick?” in Barrow, Fairbanks, and Anchorage engaged a diverse citizenry in dialogue about contentious issues of subsistence rights and the urban-rural divide in Alaska. The case study is adapted from reflective analysis by Perseverance's executive director Jeffrey Herrmann, former artistic director Peter DuBois, and dialogue coordinator Susan McInnis. They recount their commitment to bolstering a nonofficial level of public engagement after experiences with the "gatekeepers" of civic discourse. They describe a shift from envisioning civic dialogue in terms of large public gatherings that address policy to valuing more intimate gatherings in which personal story is a potent motivation and a stepping stone to civic deliberation.

Posted by Sandy at 09:14 PM | Comments (0)

February 17, 2004

Fascinating Review of a Recent Gathering of Artists, Educators & Activists

Andrea Assaf of the Animating Democracy Initiative has written up a fascinating, inspiring review of the January 2004 National Convergence of Artists, Educators, and Activists. Inspired by Grace Lee Boggs and conversations on art and social change at the Animating Democracy National Exchange on Art & Civic Dialogue (October 2003), the National Convergence attracted more than 200 people to New Orleans last month. In her article, Assaf reflects on the impetus, unfolding, and impacts of this convening. To read the article and additional reflections by participants, visit the Community Arts Network (CAN) website.

Posted by Sandy at 09:21 PM | Comments (0)

New Book about Fishkin & Ackerman?’s National ?“Deliberation Day?” Idea

Bruce Ackerman and James Fishkin argue that Americans can revitalize their democracy and break the cycle of cynical media manipulation that is crippling public life. They propose a new national holiday?—Deliberation Day?—for each presidential election year. On this day people throughout the country will meet in public spaces and engage in structured debates about issues that divide the candidates in the upcoming presidential election. Order from http://yale.edu/yup/books/101015.htm or amazon.com.

Deliberation Day is a bold new proposal, but it builds on a host of smaller experiments. Over the past decade, Fishkin has initiated Deliberative Polling events in the United States and elsewhere that bring random and representative samples of voters together for discussion of key political issues. In these events, participants greatly increase their understanding of the issues and often change their minds on the best course of action.

Deliberation Day is not merely a novel idea but a feasible reform. Ackerman and Fishkin consider the economic, organizational, and political questions raised by their proposal and explore its relationship to the larger ideals of liberal democracy.

"Ackerman and Fishkin, two of America?’s most thoughtful democracy scholars, argue powerfully for making democracy deliberative and deliberation democratic. Calling for a national holiday on which citizens might engage in deliberative practices, they offer a pragmatic and appealing case for a brand of deliberation that has gone missing in America?’s media and polling circus that passes today for democracy."?—Benjamin Barber, author of Jihad v. McWorld

An article in the January-February Legal Affairs publication highlighted Deliberation Day. The new holiday would be held two weeks before major elections and would bring registered voters together to discuss the issues. Voters would gather at local schools and government buildings to watch a live, televised debate, then divide into small discussion groups that would agree on questions to put to local party leaders in a larger session. After a lunch break, participants would gather again in small and large groups to discuss issues and reflect on the day's events.

"There will also be lots of hubbub during and after the holiday: exit polls, countless conversations, media commentary," the authors write. Deliberation Day would "provide tens of millions with the opportunity to take the great phantom of 'public opinion' away from the pollsters" and replace it with genuine voices of informed citizens, they say.

The cost of carrying out such a plan would be high. Each participant would be paid $150 for the day of civic work. That's in addition to the cost of organizing and supporting the meetings, providing lunch to the participants, and cleaning up afterward. But the financial sacrifice would be worth it, insist Mr. Ackerman and Mr. Fishkin, who has made similar proposals before.

"If Deliberation Day succeeded, everything else would change: the candidates, the media, the activists, the interest groups, the spin doctors, the advertisers, the pollsters, the fund raisers, the lobbyists, and the political parties," they write. "All would have no choice but to adapt to a more attentive and informed public."

The article, "Righting the Ship of Democracy," is available online at www.legalaffairs.org/ - specifically www.legalaffairs.org/issues/January-February-2004/feature_ackerman_janfeb04.html

Posted by Sandy at 06:42 PM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2004

Lamppost Art Demonstrations Highlight Democracy

?“We the People?” seeks city hosts for lamppost art exhibitions www.republicart.org ?“We the People,?” a lamppost banner series based on the theme of democracy, is seeking city hosts. The show, currently debuting on the streets of New Haven, Connecticut, with 35 lampposts displaying 50 different works by local artists, plans to be in Boston during the Democratic National Convention in July. The exhibit intends to increase public awareness and participation in our political process. As part of its tour, rePublicArt.org offers the banner exhibition or can send artists to conduct local workshops to create local banners.

Posted by Sandy at 08:52 PM | Comments (0)

Fellowship Opportunity for NYC Innovators

The Open Society Institute established the Community Fellowships Program to encourage and support individuals who are creating innovative public-interest projects that address critical social issues. The goal of the program is to provide individuals with an opportunity to apply their leadership in community-led projects that empower and improve the quality of public life. The program seeks to identify and support social-change agents who will work to remove social barriers by creating new opportunities for disadvantaged and marginalized communities. Fellows have created projects in such diverse areas as civic participation, education, the arts, and economic justice.

Each year the program enables up to ten individuals to develop their projects in New York City over an eighteen-month period. The fellowship award includes a $48,750 stipend, which may be used to support the project and/or fellow. Fellows are strongly encouraged to seek other contributions to support their work during the fellowship period. Fellows also become part of a network of service leaders exchanging ideas and resources to stimulate public discourse on progressive social issues.

OSI encourages applicants from a range of community experiences and disadvantaged communities, as well as recent graduates and professionals in the later stages of their careers. Applicants may come from any field; may chose to create a public-interest project in any social issue area; need not be from New York City but must perform their fellowship project in New York City; and must be legally able to work in the United States in order to accept the fellowship offer. Applicants are not required to have a hosting organization in order to apply.

Deadline: April 16, 2004. For complete program and application information, as well as details on proposal workshops for applicants, see the Open Society Institute Web site. http://soros.org/initiatives/cf/focus_areas/nyc_fellowships.

Posted by Sandy at 08:37 PM | Comments (2)

February 15, 2004

Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra Facilitates Jewish-Palestinian Dialogue in New York

The Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra, in partnership with the Dialogue Project, hosted a series of dialogues among Jewish-Palestinian groups in New York through their presentation of the John Adams opera ?“The Death of Klinghoffer.?” The Klinghoffer Dialogue Project, led by Ted Wiprud--Animating Democracy veteran through the American Composers Orchestra project ?“Coming to America?”--consisted of three pre-production dialogue sessions, each focusing on one aspect of the production: the words, the staging, and the music of the opera; and one postproduction dialogue offering an opportunity for participants to reflect and discuss related issues. In addition, as part of the ongoing Open Rehearsal Initiative, classes at three diverse Brooklyn high schools studied ?“The Death of Klinghoffer.?” Animating Democracy supported this project; a profile of the project is being developed for our website. www.brooklynphilharmonic.org/2003_2004/KlinghofferDP.htm

Posted by Sandy at 07:53 PM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2004

San Diego Repertory Theatre Awarded for its Arts-Based Dialogue Efforts

In January, the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle awarded the 2003 Outstanding New Play Award to playwrights Bernardo Solano and Allan Havis, and director Sam Woodhouse for ?“Nuevo California,?” the Rep?’s Animating Democracy project. The world premier of this multilingual theatre work explores physical and cultural boundaries along the United States/Mexico border. The play and its development process engaged citizens on both sides of the border in dialogue about reducing or increasing cross-border economic, cultural, transportation, and employment exchange. San Diego critics chose ?“Nuevo California?” from over 100 productions produced in San Diego last year.

Posted by Sandy at 08:43 PM | Comments (0)

Public Deliberation Required in New Nanotechnology Bill

In a January 18, 2004 email, Colleen Cordes of the Loka Institute wrote ?“Congratulations and sincere thanks to all of you who signed the letter to Congress and the White House last summer urging a strong provision for public participation -- especially through citizen panels or consensus conferences -- in the big nanotech R&D bill that Congress was then considering: THE BILL HAS PASSED AND HAS BEEN SIGNED INTO LAW WITH A PROVISION THAT DOES MUCH OF WHAT WE JOINTLY REQUESTED.?” NCDD supported this provision and is excited about this development.

Colleen?’s email continued:

?“Your personal willingness to go on the record in support of this innovative public policy helped make it the law of the land. We believe the outcome is unprecedented. To our knowledge, this is the first time the government will be required, by law, to convene public discussions such as citizen panels as a "regular and ongoing" part of the policymaking process for a major technology. It is especially heartening that this democratic innovation is to be applied so early on in the development of a major new technology. Below we include 1) The pertinent language in the new law, and 2)The full list of our broad, diverse coalition of signers.

?“The Loka Institute encourages you to let your elected representatives and federal officials know of your interest in seeing that this provision is implemented in a timely and thorough way. We also thank our able partner in this effort, the International Center for Technology Assessment.

Again, our sincere thanks and congratulations to all,

Colleen Cordes for the Loka Institute Board of Trustees.

The pertinent sections of the new law, P.L. 108-153, are shown below. Note (D) especially.



. . . (b) PROGRAM ACTIVITIES.?—The activities of the Program shall include?—

. . . (10) ensuring that ethical, legal, environmental, and other appropriate societal concerns, including the potential use of nanotechnology in enhancing human intelligence and in developing artificial intelligence which exceeds human capacity, are considered during the development of nanotechnology by?—

(A) establishing a research program to identify ethical, legal, environmental, and other appropriate societal concerns related to nanotechnology, and ensuring that the results of such research re widely disseminated;

(B) requiring that interdisciplinary nanotechnology research centers established under paragraph (4) include activities that address societal, ethical, and environmental concerns;

(C) insofar as possible, integrating research on societal, ethical, and environmental concerns with nanotechnology research and development, and ensuring that advances in nanotechnology bring about improvements in quality of life for all Americans; and

(D) providing, through the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office established in section 3, for public input and outreach to be integrated into the Program by the convening of regular and ongoing public discussions, through mechanisms such as citizens?’ panels, consensus conferences, and educational events, as appropriate; and . . . .

If you're interested in seeing the law in its entirety, go to: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:SN00189:|TOM:/bss/d108query.html (which is on the website of Congress). Click on "text" or "PDF" at the upper left. The extracted text above starts on p. 1, but is mostly near the bottom of p. 2.


Katherine Albrecht, Ed.M., Founder and Director, CASPIAN Consumer Advocacy, New Hampshire

Tom Atlee, President, Co-Intelligence Institute, Eugene, Oregon

Miguel F. Aznar, Executive Director, KnowledgeContext, Santa Cruz, California

Davis Baird, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy, University of South Carolina; and Principal Investigator, NSF NIRT, ?“From Laboratory to Society: Developing an Informed Approach to Nanoscale Science and Technology?”

Robert G. Best, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology and Director, Division of Genetics, University of South Carolina School of Medicine

David E. Blockstein, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, National Council for Science and the Environment*

Twila Brase, R.N., P.H.N., President, Citizens?’ Council on Health Care, St. Paul, Minnesota

Louis L. Bucciarelli, Professor of Engineering and Technology Studies, Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology*

Beth Burrows, Director, The Edmonds Institute, Edmonds, Washington

Carol Chetkovich, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University*

L. Wallace Clausen, M.B.A., Principal, Clausen Associates, Weston, Massachusetts

Colleen Cordes, Coordinator, Technology Task Force of the Alliance for Childhood,* Maryland

Andrea M. Contreras, Student, University of California at Los Angeles*

Susan Cozzens, Ph.D., Professor and Director, Technology Policy and Assessment Center, Georgia Institute of Technology

Michael M. Crow, President, Arizona State University

Lynne Fessenden, Ph.D., Eugene, Oregon, Administrative Director and Staff Scientist, The Science and Environmental Health Network

Miguel A. Guajardo, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, The University of Texas-Pan American;* and Co- Chair of the Loka Institute Board of Trustees

David H. Guston, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Public Policy, Rutgers University

Peter Haas, Ph.D., Technical Information Manager, Center for Neighborhood Technology, Chicago, Illinois

Patrick W. Hamlett, Associate Professor and former Director of the Program on Science, Technology, and Society, North Carolina State University*

Joya Heart, M.D., Physician and President, Joya Heart, MD, Inc., Stockton, California

Sandy Heierbacher, Director, The National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation, Brattleboro, Vermont

Douglas B. Hunt, M.S., M.Th., Ph.D., Director, New Technologies Forum for the International Center for Technology Assessment in Washington, D.C.

Wes Jackson, Ph.D., Founder and President, The Land Institute, Salina, Kansas

Peter and Trudy Johnson-Lenz of Awakening Technology, Lake Oswego, Oregon

Shirley J. Jones, D.S.W., Distinguished Service Professor, School of Social Welfare, University at Albany, State University of New York*

Barry Joseph, Human Rights and Internet Specialist, Global Kids,* New York, New York

Andrew Kimbrell, Esq., Virginia, Executive Director, International Center for Technology Assessment

Ann M. Kleinschmidt, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology, Allegheny College, Pennsylvania

Neal Lane, Ph.D., University Professor, Rice University, Texas

Michael A. McCormick, M.S.W., Program Director, Study Circles Resource Center,* Pomfret, Connecticut

Michael McDonald, Vice President and Executive Director, NanoComputer Dream Team, Inc.,* Houston, Texas

Art McGee, Technology Consultant, Oakland, California, and Advisory Board Member, the Loka Institute

Mary Elizabeth Merritt, Ph.D., Four winds, Inc., Institute for Living Learning, Great Barrington, Massachusetts

Erika Mittag, M.S., Cedar Park, Texas, Information Specialist, 3M Company*

Alden Meyer, M.S., Director of Government Relations, Union of Concerned Scientists*

Mary H. O?’Brien, Ph.D., Oregon, Author, Making Better Environmental Decisions: An Alternative to Risk Assessment (MIT Press 2000)

Todd Paddock, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Nebraska Wesleyan University,* Lincoln, Nebraska

David Pelletier, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Cornell University,* New York

Anne C. Petersen, Ph.D., Kalamazoo, Michigan, Scientist and Philanthropist

Carolyn Raffensperger, M.A., J.D., Iowa, Founding Executive Director, The Science and Environmental Health Network

Colin Rognlie, CISSP, Information Security Officer, Alacrity Networks, Santa Cruz, California

Adin Rogovin, Oregon, Project Director of The Low Income People?’s Wisdom Council* of Lane County, Oregon

Richard Sclove, Ph.D., M.S., Amherst, Massachusetts, Founder, the Loka Institute, Massachusetts

Peggy M. Shepard, Executive Director, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, New York, New York

Elaine Slaton, Program Director, Federation of Families for Children?’s Mental Health,* Alexandria, Virginia

Roderick Sprattling, Sarasota Springs, New York, Cofounder, Solentas, LLC*

Kali Tal, Ph.D., Professor of Humanities, The University of Arizona*

David Tebaldi, Ph.D., Executive Director, Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities*

Tomas Ursula, Executive Director, Pomona Valley Center for Community Development, Pomona, California

Frank N. von Hippel, Ph.D., Professor of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University; and Chairman of the Board, Federation of American Scientists*

Langdon Winner, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, Department of Science and Technology Studies, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute;* and President, the Loka Institute

Candie C. Wilderman, Founder and Director of ALLARM (Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring)* and Professor of Environmental Science, Dickinson College,* Pennsylvania

Michelle Wilson, Executive Assistant, Pomona Inland Valley Council of Churches,* Upland, California

Edward Woodhouse, Associate Professor, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York

Richard Worthington, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Politics at Pomona College, Chair of the Program on Science, Technology, and Society of the Claremont Colleges,* California; and Co-Chair of the Loka Institute Board of Trustees

*Organization Listed For Identification Purposes Only

Feel free to pass this news on to others who might be interested and visit Loka at www.loka.org.

Posted by Sandy at 07:47 PM | Comments (0)

Tom Atlee Writes About Use of Hi-Tech Games to Help Citizens Deliberate

In a February 6, 2004 message to his email list, Tom Atlee of the Co-Intelligence Institute wrote about how citizens can use games - computer simulations and other scenario-based games - to learn about the trade-offs involved in making decisions about public issues. When combined with deliberation, he says, this can greatly improve the sophistication of citizen recommendations and the level of public buy-in for whatever fair policies are approved.

Tom?’s message continues:

Dear friends,

Frances Moore Lappe sent the intriguing article below about a new form of citizen deliberation -- a game about health benefits. The game is described on the CHAT Project link at www.sachealthdecisions.org as follows:
_ _ _

"CHAT is a computer simulation game developed by physician ethicists at the National Institutes of Health and the University of Michigan, whereby participants are faced with making decisions about health plan benefits packages when there are more choices than resources to pay for them.

"This stimulating and educational process takes place in a 2 1/2 hour discussion group where 10-12 participants design a healthcare benefits package for themselves, their company and their state.

"The CHAT game is conducted using individual laptop computers combined with group discussion that involves negotiation, compromise and consensus-building."
_ _ _

This makes me wonder how many other games could be developed to explore trade-offs in other issues -- war and peace, educational choices, what is national security, global trade policy.... In particular, citizens should be able to work over city, county, state, and national budgets like this. It would be very interesting to see what different decisions -- and similar decisions -- were made by different groups. Results could be combined in various ways to constitute policy recommendations.

It is interesting to note that in high quality deliberation -- which scenario games could stimulate or augment -- citizens come to understand more about how the money they pay in taxes or premiums is (or could be) connected to services they and their community receive. They usually become more willing to pay more taxes AND more selective about how those taxes are used AND more tolerant of belt-tightening measures when they're really necessary. It only makes sense.

If I let my imagination be brave, I can see a society where every issue has its game(s) and every coffee shop, church and library has people playing them, talking animatedly, and, at the press of a button, sending their conclusions off to be integrated into policy recommendations.

Along these lines, subscriber Cynthia Cutting wrote me: "As I ponder the implications of this global warming situation I am thinking that it's time for some conversation about how to address this matter. One thing that came to me is rather fun, actually - maybe a board game could be developed to help people get the hang of what the challenges will be. I'm not sure there is any way of avoiding this phenomenon at this point. Might as well face it head on and be creative about it."

Perhaps it is an idea whose time has come. Perhaps a whole new profession will be born to create these games. People might start to feel involved in the decisions, aware of what trade-offs were made and why....

Public policy might start to make sense...

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


Health Benefits Game Yields Surprising Results
by Kathy Robertson

November 24, 2003

Getting people to agree about group health insurance has never been
an easy task. And these days, it seems the only point not in dispute
is that the economics of providing coverage are becoming more and
more painful. Weary employers find themselves facing another year of
rate hikes; anxious workers are preparing to shoulder a bigger share
of the cost. Neither side is happy.

Traditionally, the process of calculating who gets what goes
something like this: Businesses settle for the best deal they can
afford, which is often much less than employees want or expect.
Managers are then faced with the prospect of selling the new plan to
skeptical unions and wary workers, many of whom have no idea what
their health care benefits really cost.

So what happens when employees are asked to design a benefit plan for
themselves? Turns out, they do a pretty good job.

Over the past year, nearly 750 people from more than 40 private
business, public agencies, and other organizations in the Sacramento
area have learned how and why some of their health care benefits are
determined by participating in a computer game called Choosing
Healthplans All Together, or CHAT. The game, available through
Sacramento Healthcare Decisions, shows players how different
combinations of health care benefits might work in the real world-and
at what cost.

There were some surprising results. According to a final report
released last month, almost three-quarters of those who played agreed
that it's reasonable to have limits on health care coverage. Most
changed their minds about what types of coverage their employer
should offer after talking to others in their group. And a whopping
85 percent said they were willing to accept the benefits package they
had a role in creating.

"The fact so many people said they would abide by the decision of the
group speaks volumes about having a role and acceptance of group
process," said Marge Ginsburg, executive director of Sacramento
Healthcare Decisions. "Particularly at this time, when there's so
much tension, so much anger, and so much lack of understanding about
why people have to pay so much when they hardly use anything at all."

Make It a Game

The object of CHAT is to develop a hypothetical group health plan by
confronting players with real-world trade-offs. Each player is issued
50 markers to "spend" on a menu of 99 health care services
distributed among 16 categories ranging from primary care to "last
chance" treatments such as organ transplants. This approach forces
participants to make tough choices, balancing the needs of
individuals against those of the group. They then test the resulting
plan against a series of random health events representing a wide
variety of potential illnesses and accidents; some grave, others

A board game adapted for easy use on laptop computers, CHAT is played
in three or four rounds that last a total of about two hours. First,
players pick a benefit plan for their own family, then one for their
business or organization. As a final exercise, players are asked to
decide what elements should go into a model universal coverage plan
that would provide health insurance to everyone in the state. Some
groups then go back and revise their own health plan.

The game has no right or wrong answers, but choices have some
unexpected consequences. Suppose you pick the most basic pharmacy
benefit, and then develop severe allergy problems that require an
expensive drug? How about if you bypassed dental care, only to come
home and find that your child's tooth had been knocked out at school?
Or what if a family member is diagnosed with breast cancer and your
benefits won't pay for the genetic test that would indicate whether
you yourself are likely to get the disease?

The game was developed by two physician ethicists: Dr. Marion Danis
at the National Institutes of Health and Dr. Susan Goold at the
University of Michigan Medical School. The goal is to make health
insurance more "patient-centered," help consumers understand how
group coverage works, and give health policymakers a better idea of
what people want in their health plans. "It's based on the idea that
people should have some voice in what's happening to them," said
Goold. "Problem is, it's really complicated."

CHAT was adapted for use in California by Sacramento Healthcare
Decisions, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that seeks to
involve the public in health care policy issues. The project was
funded by a $250,000 grant from the California HealthCare Foundation.
Other versions have been distributed in North Carolina and Minnesota.
A test version of an online product is in the works.

Get as Much as You Can

Overall, those who played the game in Sacramento opted for a
statewide plan that offered the widest possible range of benefit
categories. They sacrificed provider choice in order to include
"something for everyone." Most players expressed the belief that the
average person shouldn't have to pay out-of-pocket for routine health
care services unless the insurance picked up a good portion of the

The typical plan designed by participants included primary, hospital,
and specialty care, along with pharmacy benefits, scans and x-rays,
lab tests, mental health services, dental care, rehabilitation
services, vision care, and "last chance" treatments. Quality-of-life
services such as weight-loss remedies and hair-growth products were
quickly dropped, along with complementary services such as
acupuncture and chiropractic. There was more discussion of
infertility treatment and support for the uninsured, but in the end
both of these categories generally fell by the wayside, as well.

A survey tool included in the game revealed that only 45 percent of
participants knew the total cost of their own monthly insurance
premium, and most regarded health insurance as guaranteed services
rather than pooled resources that have to serve a diverse group of

Topping the list of the three most important factors in considering
health care coverage-a question asked before and after the game-was
the ability to get a doctor's appointment quickly. Sixty-four percent
of the players picked this at the outset and the percentage dropped
only six points, to 58 percent, by the end of the game.

Benefits selection in three categories increased substantially as the
game progressed. The proportion of people who chose to include mental
health services jumped to 61 percent, although this category was
initially picked by just 39 percent of the participants. The number
who picked "last chance" treatments grew to 60 percent from 38
percent, while rehab climbed to 68 percent from 46 percent.

"People were so surprised when they had to make choices for everybody
in the state," Ginsburg said. "For folks who've only looked at this
personally before, this was revolutionary."

Taking the Guesswork out of Contract Negotiations

Faced with a $6 million increase in health care benefit costs for its
5,000 eligible employees, the Elk Grove Unified School District
invited a cross section of all employee groups to participate in one
of four CHAT sessions.

"We knew we were looking at tough bargaining this year and that
health benefits would be a major issue," said Jeffrey Markov, manager
of compensation and benefits for the district. "We thought, 'Hey,
this might be a good way to educate employees.' "

It worked. Employees learned about rising costs and possible
trade-offs. Their choices helped management decide what to keep in
and what to throw out when they headed for the bargaining table.

Take vision care for example. The benefit costs the district $1
million per year. Management figured not everybody needed it, so why
not make it optional? "Oh man, they protected vision," Markov said.
"We figured we'd better not bring that up in negotiations."

On the flip side, management expected mental health services to be
important to workers, but discovered many bypassed this benefit in
initial rounds of the game. They changed their minds, however, when a
peer pointed out that it could help a teenager with a drug problem or
provide valuable counseling following a death in the family.

"CHAT was a really valuable tool," Markov said. "The entire team went
through the process. It's usually just people in administration. They
now understood how health insurance is purchased and what decisions
have to be made. The bargaining process was much easier."

Teichert Inc. is just starting a second round with the game, this
time for real. Five groups of employees at the Sacramento-based
construction company have already played. Now, a new version is being
designed specifically for the firm.

"It was a good eye-opener for people who don't pay attention to the
rising costs of benefits," said employee benefits manager Kelly
Cleveland. "They got an idea of the trade-offs." Teichert plans to
hold additional sessions in December, and use the information to make
appropriate changes in benefits when renewal time comes up in April,
she said.

Staff at Golden State Donor Services, an organ procurement and
transplant company in Sacramento, can't really do much to change
their health care benefits at the local level. They're owned by a big
corporate office in Nashville. Still, the CHAT game helped local
employees understand how difficult it is to make choices about what
to offer, said Janet Kappes, executive director. Asked to
participate, workers were initially skeptical but ended up having a
good time.

"Our staff constantly complains about bad benefits," Kappes said.
"After CHAT, they realized they are not that bad-and could be worse."

A Tool for Brokers, Policymakers

CHAT offers a valuable tool for insurance brokers who want to educate
supervisors, managers, or all employees about the compromises
inherent in health insurance, said Sacramento broker Linda Hunter.
"It's a valuable eye-opener, probably one of the best educational
tools out in the field of employee benefits," she said.

Looking ahead, CHAT proponents see several ways to make more use of
the game. There's talk of a Medi-Cal CHAT to learn which benefits
low-income people value most. The prototype could also be used to
design a basic benefits package for workers who will get covered by a
statewide pool under the California Health Insurance Act of 2003 (SB
2), a new law that requires businesses to provide health insurance
for their workers or pay a fee so that the state can cover them.

A version of the game could help policymakers find out which pharmacy
services seniors want if Congress decides to fund a Medicare
prescription benefit. CHAT could also be adapted for use in poor
countries, Goold suggests.

"It's a universal problem: Our expectation of what we can get from
health care is costlier than we are willing to afford," said
co-author Danis. "We designed this game with the specific intent of
getting the public to participate in priority-setting efforts."

More on the Web

Get information about Sacramento Healthcare Decisions and the CHAT
report, or sign up to play the game at www.sachealthdecisions.org.

The Department of Clinical Bioethics at National Institutes of Health
will be placing material related to CHAT on its website (www.bioethics.nih.gov/chat/index.html).

Additional information about the CHAT project will be available at
the University of Michigan website (www.med.umich.edu/bioethics/chatpics.htm).

The program can also be contacted at .

Email Tom Atlee at to join his email list.

Posted by Sandy at 07:29 PM | Comments (0)

Creative America Launches New Website

Creative America, a new project developed to encourage creative workers to contribute to transforming American civic life, launched its new site in January 2004. The project invites creative workers to access the site and upload their personal vision for what a Creative America looks like. As a result, Creative America will present the major presidential candidates, with a collective statement about what a Creative America looks like and needs for every citizen to express their creative potential. www.creativeamerica.us

Posted by Sandy at 06:47 PM | Comments (0)

Update on America?’s Role in the World Deliberations

In January 2003, MacNeil/Lehrer Productions (MLP) held a national dialogue, with 344 randomly selected citizens from across the country, on America's role in the world. (More information on the National Issues Convention is available at www.by-the-people.org). The gathering demonstrated the power of informed public deliberation to spur serious reflection on complex policy choices. To extend and sustain this conversation, By the People held follow-up conversations in January 2004 in cities around the country, in partnership with local public television stations, community foundations, newspapers, universities, and civic organizations. A second phase, scheduled for October 2004, will extend the conversation to thirty communities.

The initial round of conversations took place on January 24, 2004, at the start of the presidential election year. By the People Citizen Deliberations brought 1000 citizens together, in their own communities, to explore the foreign policy choices confronting the nation and to articulate the values and beliefs underlying different options. The two topics explored were America's role and interest in global security (in the context of nation-building in Iraq) and global economics (in the context of the debate about free trade). In October 2004, just before the election, the conversation will be expanded to include an additional 20 communities. MLP will produce national broadcasts in January and October.

The goals of the initiative include: to engage a diverse group of citizens (1000 in January, 3000 in October) in informed discussion about the challenges currently facing our country; to develop a sustainable mechanism for and local commitment to regular, ongoing civic problem-solving in 30 communities; and to spark a more reflective and informed national debate about foreign policy (at the beginning and towards the end of the presidential election year) through local and national coverage of these dialogues.

The Citizen Deliberation is a new and distinctive kind of public consultation that seeks to help citizens answer two basic questions:

- Why should I care?
- Who cares what I think?

People from all walks of life are able to meet on common ground and talk about the most pressing challenges of the day. Their views are heard and registered both locally and nationally. The Deliberation gives citizens a chance to participate in the conversation about this country's future and the future of the world, and to hold leaders accountable to explain their decisions to an informed, engaged, and vocal electorate.

The metropolitan areas that participated in the January deliberations included Seattle, Pittsburgh, Rochester, Baton Rouge, Kansas City, Green Bay Wisconsin, Sarasota County Florida, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and San Diego. A rural deliberation was held in Nebraska. Criteria for selection included the presence of a proactive public television station committed to serving as a catalyst for civic dialogue in its community and local stakeholders who can promote the event and involve the wider community in similar informed and reflective discussions about significant policy questions.

Each local Citizen Deliberation included: (1) the gathering of a representative sample of citizens from the local station's community; (2) identical video and print background briefing material used in each local community; (3) small group discussions about America in the World; and (4) an opinion survey questionnaire answered by participants at the conclusion of the event. By the People provided a template for the discussions, basic background materials and the survey questionnaire, and organized national coverage of the process. Though the bulk of the survey questions were the same in each community, PBS stations and/or local newspapers were invited to add local issues to their particular questionnaire. At the end of the Deliberation, participants registered their views on a survey. The results of the survey -- and a comparison with the participants' pre-deliberation views and with the views of a local control group -- will be made available to local and national press.

The Citizen Deliberations were an opportunity to engage not only the participants but also the wider community in dialogue about America's role in the world. Citizen Deliberations created a high visibility vehicle to spark local interest in the issues and in civic dialogue. Community groups will be able to respond to this interest through distribution of the surveys and the background briefing materials to their membership and by sponsoring concurrent, parallel discussions.

National Contacts:

Dan Werner, President, MacNeil/Lehrer Productions

Cynthia Farrar,
Coordinator of the Citizen Deliberations Project, Yale Institution for Social and Policy Studies

Posted by Sandy at 05:52 PM | Comments (7)

Planetwork Interactive Brings Together Activists & Innovators in Info Technology

Join innovators from the world of information technology, peace and social justice activists, environmental visionaries, independent media pioneers and many others to explore how social networks, information technologies and the Internet can play a key role in the 2004 election and beyond, to support emerging global democracy everywhere, including Florida. Planetwork InterActive will be held at the Golden Gate Club in the San Francisco Presidio
June 5-6, 2004. www.planetwork.net/2004conf/

Our next annual event, The Planetwork Interactive, will provide an opportunity for the extended Planetwork community to meet, interact and work on a number of themes. In addition to an extensive Open Source Open Space process spanning two days, there will be a number of other thematic tracks:
- InterActivism: Online Organizing Strategies,

Opportunities & Lessons
- Environmental: Proactive Responses to
Global Warming & the 6th Extinction
- Digital Identity: Social Networking Software
for Civil Society and Planetary Citizens
- The Real-World Game: Bucky's SpaceShip Earth meets
Sim Earth and morphs into a Digital Earth MUDD

Come participate in two days of intensive interactivity at the Planetwork InterActive

- Expand your networks and share resources
- Forge new models; implement creative solutions
- Renew your energy and commitment in an atmosphere of hope and empowerment
- Build a peaceful and sustainable future

Registration is $100 each day.

Posted by Sandy at 05:41 PM | Comments (6)

NewzCrew Helps High Schoolers Discuss Tomorrow?’s News

Do you work with high school-aged youth? Are you looking for online projects to help them learn about current events, improve communication skills, think about global issues, and spend time online? Then maybe NewzCrew (www.NewzCrew.org) is the project for you, where today's youth discuss tomorrow's news. For those who would like to see what a NewzCrew dialogue will look like, check out "Everything After 9.11" at www.ea911.org and go to the section called FEATURED DISCUSSIONS.

On Tuesday, January 20th, NewzCrew?’s beta version launched, giving educators the opportunity to be the "first in the door" before it goes public. The site officially launched during the first week of February, offering youth small groups of their own that last for three weeks (with the option to endlessly renew).

Each dialogue group is assigned its own news article, provided by the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and is monitored by Global Kids Leaders - high schools students in Global Kids' (www.globalkids.org) youth leadership program.

The site will offer a Teacher's Lounge, where educators can download news-related lesson plans for incorporating the NewzCrew into their curriculum, as well as monitoring tools to track the youth's activities.

If you are interested in signing up you and your youth, email Barry Joseph at .

Posted by Sandy at 05:29 PM | Comments (7)

February 13, 2004

New Resource on Media Coverage of the War in Iraq

The Institute for Philosophy & Public Policy publishes a quarterly journal to stimulate and inform debate about important current issues. Members of the Institute recently created a special website (www.puaf.umd.edu/IPPP/iraq/) about one particular issue of major international importance: media coverage of the war in Iraq. The website poses fundamental questions about the role of the press in wartime. As background, it collects and organizes some of the best relevant writing from philosophy, political science, and journalism. It also provides an opportunity for you to speak out. There is a discussion forum, and your comments and questions are welcome. If you would like to send additional references for the site or ask any questions, please contact Institute Research Scholar Peter Levine at .

Posted by Sandy at 07:57 PM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2004

Proceedings Online from "Public Deliberation in an Adversarial World"

Conference proceedings are available from the November 27, 2003 conference on "Public Deliberation in an Adversarial World" held at Simon Fraser University's Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue. This one-day dialogue forum focusing on John Forester's work brought together urban and regional planners, community activists, government officials and others concerned with the question "What should planners and other public decision-makers know about inclusive and effective decision-making processes?" www.sfu.ca/dialogue/proceedings.htm

Posted by Sandy at 07:44 PM | Comments (0)

February 11, 2004

Bauen Camp 2004 to Focus on Arts-Based Civic Dialogue

Located in the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming, the Bauen Camp teaches young people ages 13?–18 how arts can be used to build social creativity and responsibility. The camp will focus on arts-based civic dialogue during this summer's sessions, July 2?–August 9, 2004. The artist staff will include Animating Democracy staff member Andrea Assaf; scholar Ferdinand Lewis, who participated as a writer in Animating Democracy?’s Critical Perspectives project; and Community Art Network's co-director, artist Bob Leonard. Professionals are invited to select outstanding young people from their projects and communities to be a part of the 2004 program. Applications are due May 15, 2004. Scholarships and internships will be offered.

Posted by Sandy at 08:47 PM | Comments (0)

Wosk Center for Dialogue offers Dialogue Capacity-Building Workshops

Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue offers a one-day, customized dialogue capacity-building workshop that introduces groups to the study and practice of dialogue within various contexts - organizational change, workplace conflict, difficult conversations, as a preamble to decision-making, and healing rifts between individuals. Custom workshops for off-site groups can be created for groups of 20 or more. Call 604-268-7925 or email [email protected] for more details.

Posted by Sandy at 07:55 PM | Comments (0)

February 10, 2004

May Certification Course in Charrette Planning Offered

In May 2004, for the first time, the National Charrette Institute is offering the "Introduction to Dynamic Planning: The Charrette in Context" half-day seminar in conjunction with the "Continuing Dynamic Planning: Professional Tools and Techniques" 2-day intensive course. These courses will teach you how to plan a Charrette using NCI's time-tested methods. Taught in Portland, Oregon, on the Portland State University campus. Online registration is available here: www.charretteinstitute.org/programs.html.

Posted by Sandy at 09:49 PM | Comments (0)

EPA?’s Community Involvement Conference to be held in June

The 2004 Community Involvement Conference and Training sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be in Denver, Colorado, June 15-18, 2004. In its 7th year, this conference has proven itself to be an excellent opportunity to share lessons learned and to establish and monitor EPA?’s standards for community involvement. It's a great event for representatives of federal agencies, states, local government, NGOs and private practitioners of citizen engagement to showcase their successes, compare notes about best practices and network, network, network. The conference covers the entire scope of public participation, community involvement, partnership building, and outreach and education related to all aspects of environmental protection. To learn more, please go to www.epancic.org/2004.

Posted by Sandy at 07:40 PM | Comments (0)

February 09, 2004

ACR?’s 2004 Conference to be Held September 29 ?– October 2

The Association for Conflict Resolution will hold its large annual conference this year in Sacramento, California, Sept. 29 ?– Oct. 2, 2004. The conference theme will be ?“Valuing Peace in the 21st Century: Expanding the Art and Practice of Conflict Resolution.?” www.acrnet.org

Posted by Sandy at 06:04 PM | Comments (0)

February 08, 2004

Follett Conversation on Creative Democracy Set for October

The Second International Mary Parker Follett Conversation on Creative Democracy is scheduled to be held October 21-24, 2004 at Boise State University in Boise, Idaho. The Follett Foundation (www.follettfoundation.org) has issued a call for participants and themes addressing the following question: How can we fulfill the promise of democracy as a creative experience, one that releases both personal and social potential, from the local to the global level?

Named after the Progressive Era visionary in the field of democratic thought and practice, this conference will bring together people from all disciplines whose approach to human relations, community building, public affairs and management are based on integrated diversity and continuous creativity among stakeholders. The team-based conversation format will provide an enriching participatory experience that will produce new knowledge, new goals, initiatives and impetus.

- community development specialists
- social activists with grassroots, integrative philosophies
- conflict management and dispute resolution practitioners
- scholars in political science, sociology, public administration and management
- progressive managers in the public, private, and non-profit sectors
- systems thinkers
- organizational consultants

Unlike workshop-based conferences or those focused on the presentation of papers, the Follett Conversation would use a team-based, disciplined conversation format. The format works as follows:
1. Individuals or groups propose themes to pursue. These are circulated to the body of people who?’ve expressed interest in attending, and teams begin to self-organize.
2. Teams of participants interested in exploring topics together begin their dialogue several months prior to the conference, via e-mail. Papers may be exchanged during this preparatory phase.
3. At the conference event itself, participants engage in dialogue for several days and present their findings, ideas, or initiatives in a plenary session at the close of the conference. Presentations can be formal or technical, but creative and artistic presentations are encouraged as well.
4. Teams may continue through to the next year, with original or new participants, or they conclude their work.
5. Several months after the conference, final team and individual papers will be published online in Follett Conversation Proceedings. Selected papers may also be published in a cooperating journal or journals.
This approach ?– modeled after the experience of the Asilomar and Fuschl Conversations on Social Systems Design ?– is a desirable alternative to the conventional conference format because it supports integrated diversity, produces much more mutual learning and new knowledge, and builds long-lasting networks. It also represents a recognition that the most interesting part of typical conferences has been the conversations that occur in doorways, in hallways, and over coffee and meals between presentations.

THEMES OF INQUIRY- The integrating theme of the Conversation is creative democracy. Conversation teams can self-organize around any concern or issue of common interest, in any context, within this theme. Themes must, however, be non-partisan and non-commercial.
- Teams must design their inquiry around a "triggering question" that is intended to lead them to new knowledge, new understanding, new ideas or initiatives in their chosen area of shared concern.
- In order to build a common ground upon which to work, teams may wish to choose a set of shared readings, and they may exchange "input papers" prior to the conference event.

Inquiry themes might involve, but are not limited to, any of the following:
- Organizational Culture
- Neighborhood Life
- Leadership
- Diversity
- Education
- Social Systems Design
- Technology
- Peace as an Active Principle
- Globalization and Democratization
- Dialogue Practices

Themes for 2002, the year of the first Follett Conversation, included:
- Designing a Community Learning System for Learning Democracy
- Post-Hierarchical Leadership
- Understanding Community Learning

See the 2002 Proceedings for more details on these teams.

To provide you with some sense of earlier themes, the following are the titles of teams that were proposed and/or organized in 2002 and 2003 (note that the 2003 event was canceled):

- Community-Based Non-Profits as the Vehicles for Follettian/Pragmatic Democracy
- Designing a Community Learning System for Creative Democracy
- Visualising Post-Hierarchical Leadership
- The Perpetuation of Creativity for Creative Democracy
- Creative Democracy through Virtual Interaction?
- Fostering Democratic Leadership in Emerging and Challenged Democracies
- Understanding Community Learning
- Addressing Power Dynamics and Inequities in Democratic Dialogue
- Metropolitan Democracy through Neighborhood Organization
- Developing a Community-Wide Curriculum for Civil Awareness and Reciprocity
- Empowering Citizens through the Social Planetarium
- Envisioning an Iraqi Model of Democracy
- No Future Left Behind: Promoting the Participatory Redesign of Public Education
- US National Interests and their Impact on Democracy in Pakistan
- Globalization and its Role in Reshaping Individual?’s Perception of Life


April 15: Theme Proposals deadline. Theme proposals must include a description of the concept, an initial Triggering Question, and an idea of what the originator would like to see regarding preparatory work by participants. Teams can consist of as few as two people, or as many as desired. Those who propose teams do not need to bring their own team. They do need to be willing to help organize those who are attracted to their team idea. The proposer must specify how long the team will remain open to new participants. They also need to be prepared to attend the Follett Conversation itself.

Theme proposals should be sent to Matthew Shapiro, Conversation Coordinator, at or by mail to the Mary Parker Follett Foundation, P.O. Box 573, Boise, ID 83701.

May 1: Conversation Themes Bulletin sent out to all persons interested in attending the Conversation.
June: Teams formed and distance-based inquiry begins.
July 1: Non-refundable Conference Fee deposit due ($50).
August 1: Conference Fee balance due ($175). Checks should be made out to The Mary Parker Follett Foundation - Conversation
September: Final Conversation Bulletin sent out.
October 21-24: Conference event.
December, 2004: Team and individual (optional) output papers due for Proceedings
January, 2005: Individual papers due for journal review (optional).
January, 2005: Proceedings published.

Note: While it is preferred that participants find a team that they are most interested in and join that team well in advance of the conference event, participants are not required to commit to a team. Some teams may also remain open to newcomers up until the start of the Conversation itself.

The Conference Fee is $225. Conference Fee does not include lodging or transportation.

The Mary Parker Follett Foundation was founded in 1995 as the Idaho Systems Institute. Its early focus was participatory, community-based social systems design, with projects directed toward educational change. The Foundation (then Institute) was also instrumental in seeing Follett's seminal work The New State reissued by Penn State Press in 1998. The organization was re-named in 2001 as the Mary Parker Follett Foundation to honor Follett more directly, and has been organized with a global scope and the following mission:

To help foster the development of core competencies for the 21st Century that will engender a democratic and just society, create healthy and authentic communities, and build the capacity for all people to actively participate in the evolution of their selves, their lives and their world.

Four program areas are:
- Learning Democracy
- Participatory Design of Social Systems
- Dialogue as Community Reflection
- Evolutionary Inquiry

For further information about the Follett Conversation, please contact Matthew A. Shapiro, Foundation President and Conversation Coordinator, at or (208) 343-3042.

Written material and conference fees may be sent to the Foundation at the following address:

The Mary Parker Follett Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 573
Boise, Idaho 83701

Posted by Sandy at 08:07 PM | Comments (0)

February 07, 2004

Warhol Museum Fosters Dialogue About Capital Punishment

A recent exhibit at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was designed to foster reflection and dialogue about capital punishment. ?“Andy Warhol's Electric Chairs: Reflecting on Capital Punishment in America?” presented Warhol's Electric Chair series of paintings and prints together with diverse audio and written points of view as a catalyst to generate dialogue around the various sides of the capital punishment debate. Go to www.warhol.org/education/electric_chair.html for images from the exhibition, contextual material, audio points of view, visitor responses and more.

Posted by Sandy at 08:26 PM | Comments (0)

February 06, 2004

Community-Police Partnership Awards Available

The Community-Police Partnership Awards program, a collaboration between the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (www.liscnet.org) (LISC) and the MetLife Foundation, is designed to recognize innovative collaborations between community groups and police departments. In particular, the selection committee seeks to celebrate the integration of law enforcement and community building to reduce crime, spur investment, reduce blight, develop positive alternatives for at-risk populations, and enhance other indicators of community vibrancy.

The award is for past accomplishments and is not a funding opportunity for groups in start-up mode. The program ultimately will select six to eight winners this year and award $130,000 in unrestricted funds.

Eligible applicants must be member organizations of partnerships that include, but need not be limited to, community organizations and local police.

Case studies documenting the strategy and accomplishments of last year's winners can be viewed on the MetLife Awards page. Applicants are encouraged to read these accounts to learn what the program considers to be award-quality partnerships.

The complete RFP can be downloaded from the MetLife page of the Community Safety Initiatives section of the LISC website. Deadline: February 27, 2004 (first-round proposals). http://liscnet.org/whatwedo/programs/csi/MetLifeAwards.shtml

Posted by Sandy at 08:30 PM | Comments (0)

February 05, 2004

Conference on Community-Based Research Partnerships to be Held in June

The Institute for Community Research (ICR) in Hartford, Connecticut, is sponsoring "Crossroads: Critical Issues in Community-Based Research Partnerships," a national conference that will critically explore issues related to community-based research partnerships, methodology, and methods of dissemination. Recognizing that community-based collaborative research (CBCR) is a growing field, the conference is aimed at developing a critical analysis of current approaches that move us to the next level in improving our relationships and methods. The conference will be held in Hartford June 10-13, 2004.

The conference will explore and critique core dimensions of CBCR in the following areas: theory, ethics, methods, skills, use of research results, and topical issues.

ICR is also currently accepting applications for workshop and panel discussion proposals that address how class, ethnicity, race, gender, culture, and power impact research partnerships; gaps between communities and the institutions that serve them (e.g., schools, clinics, after-school programs, political representatives); and ways that participatory or collaborative research partnerships can remedy these and other cultural, health, environmental, and economic policy-oriented problems. www.incommunityresearch.org/news/crossroads.htm

Posted by Sandy at 09:41 PM | Comments (0)

February 03, 2004

Call for Nominations for 3rd Annual CCPH Award

The Community-Campus Partnerships for Health Award recognizes exemplary partnerships between communities and health professional schools that build on each other's strengths to improve health professional education, civic responsibility, and the overall health of communities. Nominations are due by March 31, 2004. Partnerships may nominate themselves and need not be members of CCPH. We welcome nominations from any country or nation. For further details and submission guidelines, visit the CCPH website at http://futurehealth.ucsf.edu/ccph/awards.html.

Posted by Sandy at 08:18 PM | Comments (0)

February 01, 2004

Community/Health Partnerships Conference Seeks Abstracts

The Call for Abstracts and Registration Brochure is now available for the international conference "Overcoming Health Disparities: Global Experiences from Partnerships Between Communities, Health Services and Health Professional Schools," October 6 - 10, 2004 - Atlanta, Georgia. The conference is cosponsored by Community-Campus Partnerships for Health and The Network: Towards Unity for Health. The Call for Abstracts and Registration Brochure is available at www.futurehealth.ucsf.edu/ccph/nationalconference.html.

Posted by Sandy at 08:23 PM | Comments (0)

Update on the U.S. Consensus Council

Rob Fersh sent us an update on the USCC on January 8, 2004. Despite Congress' approval of a $1 million appropriation for establishment of the USCC, we are still waiting for the authorizing legislation to pass. When legislation is passed - and I'm confident that it will be! - the USCC will serve Congress in promoting consensus-based solutions to important national legislative policy issues. The USCC's role will be to convene diverse stakeholders on a particular issue and build agreements among them that reflect "win/win", highest common denominator solutions. Click the link below for Rob's full email.

Dear Friends of the USCC,

Best wishes for the new year.

This is the first update to our friends in many months, delayed in part because we thought good news that never quite arrived was imminent. Here is a brief status report.

Authorizing Legislation
We continue to work hard for passage of legislation to authorize the USCC. The bill, S. 908, currently is pending on the Senate floor, where we hope it will be considered this year on the unanimous consent calendar. S. 908 was unanimously reported out of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs on July 22, 2003. In early November, working closely with the staff of our lead sponsor Senator Susan Collins, we resolved concerns of Senate Budget Committee Chairman Don Nickles. We continue to work now to schedule the bill for consideration by the full Senate and from there will work for passage of the House companion bill, H.R. 2459. We remain optimistic legislation will pass this year.

Earlier in 2003, Congress approved a $1 million appropriation for the USCC as part of the conference report to the FY 2003 omnibus appropriations bill. This funding was subject to the passage of authorizing legislation, which has not yet occurred.

USCC Task Force
The U.S. Consensus Council Task Force, co-chaired by Marc Racicot and Dan Glickman, continues to be actively advocate for the establishment of the USCC. We are in regular consultation with many members of the Task Force, who have assisted with legislative strategy, fundraising, and media promotion.

Through the efforts of Task Force member Chris Harte, a highly favorable editorial on the USCC appeared in the Maine Press Herald on November 30, 2003. A copy is attached. Earlier this year, the USCC was featured in an hour-long public television program This is America with Dennis Wholey. That show provides a wonderful explanation of the USCC and its potential. Tapes of the entire show and 10 minutes of highlights are available.

We are nearing completion of a set of draft policies and procedures designed to guide the operation of the USCC once authorized by law. Project Deputy Director Steve Lee has capably spearheaded this work, relying heavily upon input from our Policy Consensus Professionals Advisory Committee (PCPAC). The PCPAC last met as group in April 2003.

Pro bono legal assistance
The Washington office of the law firm Blank Rome has formally agreed to provide pro bono assistance with the processes of incorporation and establishing tax exempt status once authorizing legislation for the USCC is approved. We continue to receive generous pro bono assistance on other aspects of this project from the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld.

The USCC was featured in several presentations at the Association for Conflict Resolution Conference in Orlando, Florida this past October. We remain grateful for the widespread support for the USCC from the conflict resolution community generally and from ACR in particular.

We are grateful to have had generous support for this project in the past year from the Hewlett Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Stephen Distler and Roxanne Kendall, and the Spicewood Fund of the Maine Community Foundation. Prior funders of the project include the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation, Dennis Berman, the Microsoft Corporation, and the Liz Claiborne/Art Ortenberg Foundation. We currently are raising funds to support our work in 2004.

We hope 2004 will be the year when the USCC is finally established. We have made every effort to advocate for the USCC in a manner consistent with our underlying values and beliefs, and we will continue to do so. It has been a fascinating process, since we are stakeholders who are advocating a particular position (creation of the USCC), yet also pursuing our goals in as non-adversarial a way as possible. We hope that in the coming months the very establishment of the USCC can serve as a model for the successful use of cooperative approaches to public policy.

Thank you for your continued interest in this project. We welcome your ideas, assistance and encouragement.



Robert J. Fersh
Director, National Consensus Initiative
Search for Common Ground
1601 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Suite 201
Washington, D.C. 20009
+1 (202) 777-2229


Posted by Sandy at 07:06 PM | Comments (0)

Petra Fellow Awards to Honor Individuals for Human and Civil Rights Work

Through the Petra Fellow Awards program, the New York City-based Petra Foundation (http://petrafoundation.org/) seeks to honor individuals for their distinctive contributions to the human and civil rights, autonomy, and dignity of others. In addition to awarding fellows a modest financial stipend, the organization seeks to amplify their voices, publicize innovative models for change, foster collaborations, and build a network of emerging and experienced leaders who cross the lines of age, race, class, and issue to work together to build a more just society. The deadline for nominations is February 12, 2004.

Individuals nominated for a Petra Foundation Award should display a combination of activism and thought, force of character, independence of judgment, and clarity of expression. The nominee's activities should be devoted either to the cause of racial equality, with special emphasis on Native Americans and people of color; or to the autonomy of persons, groups, families, and communities; or to freedom of speech, expression, and thought. The nominee should be someone who is not widely recognized; who does not have personal privilege or a strong institutional base of support; and who has demonstrated a capacity to grow, overcome obstacles, and make a significant contribution to human freedom by leading, teaching, or otherwise helping others.

Nominations should be submitted without the knowledge of the nominees. Most Petra Fellows work in the U.S. Nominators considering a foreign nominee should contact the foundation before submitting a nomination.

See the foundation's Web site for complete program guidelines and/or to download a nomination form.

Posted by Sandy at 06:11 PM | Comments (0)

Applications Invited for Fleishman Civil Society Fellows Program

Through its Joel L. Fleishman Fellows in Civil Society program, the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy at Duke University provides a select group of leaders from domestic nonprofit organizations, international NGOs, foundations, government, socially responsible businesses, and other civil society groups in the U.S. and internationally with the opportunity to come together in residence at the Sanford Institute for a four-week mini-sabbatical. While at Duke, fellows perform research and work with institute faculty and other Duke affiliates on issues related to the development of civil society. As part of the fellowship, housing and program expenses are covered. Fellows also receive a $6,000 stipend. Deadline: May 1, 2004. www.pubpol.duke.edu/centers/civil/

Posted by Sandy at 06:06 PM | Comments (8)

PCP & Beliefnet.com to Hold Online Dialogues on Passion of Christ Film

The Public Conversations Project is working with Beliefnet.com to host a series of closed online dialogues about Mel Gibson?’s controversial new film, The Passion of Christ. PCP is currently looking identifying volunteers who 1) have taken PCP's Power of Dialogue training, 2) have significant experience facilitating face to face dialogue, 3) could facilitate a balanced and respectful conversation about the issues likely to be raised by the film, 4) are comfortable and clear online writers, and 5) have the time and energy to make the significant time investment involved. Facilitators will follow the guidelines Beliefnet developed in comparable dialogues following 9/11 and at the start of the war on Iraq. Meenakshi Chakraverti () is coordinating PCP's participation in this pilot project. Connect with her before February 6 if you are interested in this learning opportunity and meet the qualifications.

Posted by Sandy at 05:45 PM | Comments (1)

Policy Analyst Position Opening at Demos

Demos, a national research and advocacy organization, seeks a qualified applicant for a Policy Analyst position in the Democracy Program. Demos provides state and national advocates and policy makers with applied research, policy analysis and organizing assistance in support of progressive new measures for expanding political participation. Lead reforms include election day registration, voting rights restoration for citizens with felony convictions, and expansive state implementation of the Help America Vote Act. Resumes are due February 19, 2004.

The Policy Analyst is responsible for undertaking research and analysis in support of various democracy reform measures.

Duties include: ?• Collection, analysis and dissemination of information on democracy reform developments in the fifty states and Congress.
?• Research for and co-production of Democracy Dispatches, Demos' bi-weekly electronic digest of democracy developments across the country.
?• Drafting research memos, reports, fact sheets and other documents on select democracy reform issues.
?• Co-planning and -organizing various conferences, workshops and meetings sponsored by the Democracy Program and other Demos departments.
?• Contributing to the development of a democracy reform agenda and strategies.

?• B.A. in related field.
?• Manifest experience in advancing democracy reform or other areas of progressive social change.
?• Outstanding research ability and written communication skills.
?• Team player with good interpersonal skills and sense of humor.

To apply:
Please send cover letter and resume by February 19, 2003 to:
Demos: A Network of Ideas and Action, 220 Fifth Ave., 5th Fl., New York, NY 10001 Attention: Democracy Opening

- Or -
Send an Email to:

No phone calls please.
Please also view www.demos-usa.org.

Demos is an equal opportunity employer, and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women and LGBT applicants.

Posted by Sandy at 05:42 PM | Comments (2)

The Peace Company Celebrates the Season for Nonviolence

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi are the 20th century saints of nonviolence. They showed us that the moral force of love is indeed stronger than the coercive force of oppression. Every year, for 64 days between the anniversaries of the deaths of these two great men (January 30 and April 4), we celebrate the Season for Nonviolence, when individuals and groups all over the world are encouraged to re-commit themselves to nonviolence as a way of life and as a road to peace and social change.

Dr. King said, ?“Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love.?” I believe that violence arises from ignorance. Only if we believe we are truly separate from one another can we hate (and fear), and therefore hurt, one another. Once we remember the truth ?– that we are one; deeply and inherently inter-connected ?– love blossoms naturally as respect for all living beings with whom we share a place in the vast web of life.

In this 2004 Season for Nonviolence, we at The Peace Company hope you will remember this core unity of being, and engage yourself in the study and practice of nonviolence ?– whether at the personal, local, national, or global level. As more and more of us remember, and act on this knowledge, we can and will change the world.

Gandhi says, ?“Nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.?” To help you do your part in unleashing this force, The Peace Company has gathered a variety of resources relating to King, Gandhi, and nonviolence.

If you already have a copy of The Peace Book: 108 Simple Ways to Make a More Peaceful World, we invite you to read chapter nine: ?‘Peace and Nonviolence.?’ If you don?’t have a copy of the book, you can order it now. In that chapter you will find a Self-Test on Nonviolence and a Nonviolence Inventory of Your Home and Family. Click here to download Chapter Nine of The Peace Book, 'Peace and Nonviolence' and access these simple tools, so you can start your Season for Nonviolence from where you are today, and move forward with clear intention and commitment.

Gandhi tells us: ?“We are constantly being astonished these days at the amazing discoveries in the field of violence. But I maintain that far more undreamt of and seemingly impossible discoveries will be made in the field of nonviolence.?” It is up to each of us to make these discoveries, and to use them to build a world where Dr. King?’s ?‘Beloved Community?’ is not a dream but an everyday reality. Thank you for doing your part.

In peace,
Louise Diamond
CEO, The Peace Company

Posted by Sandy at 05:35 PM | Comments (2)

IAF's 2004 North American conference

The International Association of Facilitators?’ North American 2004 conference, The Art and Mastery of Facilitation, will be held June 17-20 in Scottsdale, Arizona. This is the 10th anniversary conference. For more info, go to www.iaf-world.org.

Posted by Sandy at 05:30 PM | Comments (1)

Results Available for CIRCLE?’s 2004 National Youth Survey

The 2004 National Youth survey provides the latest polling data on Americans between the ages of 15-25, including the issues they care about, their levels of trust and volunteering, and their attitudes toward government. The survey also reveals that while the Internet does not currently pull many otherwise disengaged youth into politics, it does seem to hold some promise for mobilizing partisan, ideological, and engaged young people. In particular, the most effective online campaign techniques were online chat rooms, e-mails on issues, "blogs" geared to youth, and candidate events like those organized by Meetup.org. The survey was sponsored by CIRCLE (The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement) and the Center for Democracy and Citizenship at The Council for Excellence in Government. Go to www.civicyouth.org/research/products/national_youth_survey2004.htm

Posted by Sandy at 05:27 PM | Comments (7)

RESOLVE President Serves on Environmental Panel

RESOLVE?’s President, Gail Bingham, has been appointed to a National Research Council panel on ?“Public Participation in Environmental Assessment and Decision-Making?” and is serving on a federal advisory committee convened by the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution on how collaborative approaches can enhance the goals described in Section 101 of the National Environmental Policy Act. Contact Gail Bingham at to learn more.

Posted by Sandy at 05:24 PM | Comments (6)

CIRCLE RFP for Youth-Led Research

The deadline for letters of inquiry for CIRCLE's youth-led research proposal is approaching. Letters of inquiry are due February 18, 2004. CIRCLE (The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement) will consider requests for research on civic engagement that is conducted by youth. Research teams that include youth and adults working together, or research teams of youth and adult mentors are welcome to apply. The RFP can be found here: www.civicyouth.org/grants/applying/index.htm

Posted by Sandy at 05:12 PM | Comments (8)

WorldLink Engages 700 High School Students

WorldLink is a program that thinks big: it stimulates discussion among young people, leaders and other activists about the international dynamics and challenges that shape global policies and economics. NCDD learned about WorldLink?’s efforts from the Public Conversations Project (PCP). PCP Associate Meenaskshi Chakraverti recently participated in a WorldLink event for nearly 700 high school students sponsored by the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice at the University of San Diego. By providing these types of forums, Worldlink encourages students to assume the role of responsible global citizens and joint problem solvers. For more information, visit www.youthworldlink.org or http://peace.sandiego.edu

Posted by Sandy at 05:09 PM | Comments (4)

PCP offers Power of Dialogue training in Vancouver this March

The Public Conversations Project will offer its training ?“The Power of Dialogue: Constructive Conversations on Divisive Issues?” March 25-27, 2004 in Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada). During this hands-on workshop, participants will explore ways to promote the type of meaningful dialogue that has the power to shift communication and relationships. Through the process of designing and facilitating an extended dialogue simulation, participants will learn the key elements of PCP dialogues. For a full description and registration information, visit: www.publicconversations.org/pcp/index.asp?page_id=123

Posted by Sandy at 05:06 PM | Comments (9)

Administrative Position opening at PCP in Watertown, Mass

The Public Conversations Project will soon post an opening for an administrative job at their office in Watertown, Massachusetts. If you are or know of an exceptionally well-organized person who thrives in an office environment, please help them to connect with PCP. Go to www.publicconversations.org for details.

Posted by Sandy at 05:04 PM | Comments (9)

Service-Learning Gathering Engages Participants in Learning Circles

The Educators for Community Engagement?’s 2004 National Gathering will be held at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky from June 17-20, 2004. This 10th anniversary gathering will center around serious discussions between people who are truly dedicated to the concept of service-learning. National Gatherings differ from the usual academic conference in that you will join in a learning circle of your choice and remain there for the duration of the gathering - usually two days. During this time you will not only engage in amazingly in-depth discussions of extremely varied topics, but you will come to know others in your circle in a way not possible at an ordinary conference. In fact, you will develop some of the most meaningful and useful personal contacts imaginable. These people will continue to provide guidance, advice, and support (as will you yourself) throughout the year until the next gathering. www.e4ce.org

Posted by Sandy at 05:00 PM | Comments (8)