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The 2008 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation    

ncdd2008_guidebook_pic.jpgThe 2008 NCDD conference took place in Austin, Texas October 3-5, 2008, with pre-conference trainings on Thursday, October 2nd.  You can find the conference’s schedule, program, supporters and staff (along with a whole lot more info) in the conference guidebook.

More About NCDD Austin

NCDD conferences provide people who are committed to helping dialogue and deliberation flourish in the world with the opportunity to increase their skills and knowledge in these processes, share their own learnings and innovations with others, and develop supportive, collaborative relationships with their peers. Perhaps most importantly, NCDD conferences leave you feeling more motivated, energized, supported and prepared to do this vital work.

NCDD conferences are chock-full of opportunities to network with colleagues, learn about and experience innovative group methods, explore key issues together, and hear from leaders in the field. Our conferences are not your typical panel/keynote-riddled conventions that leave you wandering the lobby. Some people say they’ve never attended better conferences.

At NCDD Austin, participants experienced…

Highly participative plenary sessions that allowed participants to experience large-group dialogue and deliberation methods while enabling the community to explore issues relevant to the field. Our Reflective Panel, for example, featured figureheads in our field (David Campt, Bill Isaacs, Carolyn Lukensmeyer and Najeeba Syeed-Miller) engaging in dialogue with each other about our field’s greatest challenges and what needs to be done to address them.NCDD 2006

In our D&D Marketplace, conference-goers visited with dozens of the most exciting tools, programs, and new innovations in the field, and meet the people behind them.

They also got to choose from dozens of innovative workshops offered by leaders in dialogue and deliberation, addressing the issues, challenges and questions most relevant to your work; Learned how War on Terror veterans are using dialogue for healing and empowerment. Help the U.S. Institute of Environmental Conflict Resolution design a long-range citizen engagement process to restore the ecosystem of one of America’s great rivers;  Learned how to attract more conservatives to dialogue events; Explored with change experts how D&D contributes to social change; Learned about Deaf Culture and how to work with interpreters and Deaf participants.

There were numerous opportunities to network with some of the most accomplished, innovative, and inspiring people in the field - NCDD attendees! We offered structured networking sessions that enable you to meet others who share your interests, as well as plenty of time and space for informal networking.

Our participants enjoyed experiencing how the arts can enhance dialogue and deliberation, by watching and interacting with our graphic facilitators, listening to slam poetry performed by local young people, and taking part in a conference-wide experiment to compose a musical composition based on what we’re learning and experiencing.

NCDD conferences provide participants with the opportunity to hear the stories and insights of some of the most prominent leaders in public engagement, change management and conflict resolution. We were excited that a phenomenal group of figureheads in our field committed to play a speaking role at NCDD Austin.  On Saturday (day 2), David Campt, Bill Isaacs, Carolyn Lukensmeyer and Najeeba Syeed-Miller served on this year’s Reflective Panel, where they engaged in dialogue with each other about some of the most challenging issues facing our field.

Featured Speakers at NCDD Austin

David W. Campt, PhD

Dr. David Campt currently provides consultation about race relations and diversity issues with U.S. congressional representatives, the foundation community, and national community organizations. David is also a Senior Associate with AmericaSpeaks, serving leading roles in a number of AmericaSpeaks projects. To name a few, he was the co-facilitator and co-designer of Citizen Summits III and IV for the Mayor of Washington, D.C., and played a similar role in the multi-site Unified New Orleans Plan Community Congresses II and III. David is the co-author of the recently published book, The Little Book of Dialogue for Difficult Subjects.

Campt worked as a senior policy associate with President Clinton’s Initiative on Race at the White House from September 1997 until the end of 1998. Campt led an effort by the Initiative to bring together the best diversity trainers to produce a general-purpose guide for racial dialogue that was promoted by the President. In addition, Campt used his extensive background in program evaluation to design criteria from which diversity efforts would be evaluated for potential recognition by the White House.

Before joining the Initiative, Campt completed his doctoral dissertation in City Planning at the University of California at Berkeley. His work focused on cultural competency, which concerns the challenges to institutions that attempt to become more reflective of the populations they serve. He has provided technical assistance to numerous state, county, and non-profit agencies interested in increasing their cultural competence. His co-authored article, “Cultural Competency in Human Service Systems” was the lead article in a monograph on cultural competency published by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Abandoned Infant Assistance Resource Center.

Learn more about David and his work at

Jim Fishkin

James S. Fishkin holds the Janet M. Peck Chair in International Communication at Stanford University, where he is Professor of Communication and Professor of Political Science. He is also Director of Stanford’s new Center for Deliberative Democracy and Chair of the Dept of Communication.

Fishkin is best known for developing Deliberative Polling® - a practice of public consultation that employs random samples of the citizenry to explore how opinions would change if they were more informed. Professor Fishkin and his collaborators have conducted Deliberative Polls in the US, Britain, Australia, Denmark, Bulgaria, China, Greece and other countries.

He is the author of a number of books including Democracy and Deliberation: New Directions for Democratic Reform (1991), The Dialogue of Justice (1992), and The Voice of the People: Public Opinion and Democracy (1995). With Bruce Ackerman he is co-author most recently of Deliberation Day (Yale Press, 2004).

Fishkin has been a Visiting Fellow Commoner at Trinity College, Cambridge as well as a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, a Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and a Guggenheim Fellow. Fishkin received his B.A. from Yale in 1970 and holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale as well as a second Ph.D. in Philosophy from Cambridge.

Bill Isaacs

Dr. William Isaacs is Founder and president of Dialogos, a consulting and leadership development firm based in Cambridge, MA and a Senior Lecturer at the Sloan School of Management. He is a leading authority on collective leadership, dialogue, and the design and implementation of organizational learning. He is also Chairman of the Board of the Dialogos Institute, a not-for-profit action research organization.

His book, Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together (Doubleday), has been translated into seven languages, including Swedish, Chinese, and German. It was featured in Fast Company as a guide to “the secret of good informal conversation,” and has been acclaimed by a variety of reviewers as the definitive guide to profound change through speaking and listening. Change Management Monitor, a publication of reviews of management books, included Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together in its list of the twelve most significant business books. Isaacs’ has published widely. His articles have appeared in The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook by Peter Senge et al. (1994, Doubleday), in The Dance of Change by Peter Senge et al. (1999, Doubleday), and in numerous articles and journals.

In 1990, Isaacs co-founded (with Peter Senge) the Center for Organizational Learning at MIT, a consortium of 25 leading companies dedicated to cross-organizational learning and change. He received a major grant from the Kellogg Foundation to found and run the MIT Dialogue Project, which initiated a decade of cross-boundary conversational experiments around the world.

For the past 20 years, Isaac

s has consulted to senior leaders of prominent organizations around the world assisting them in creating visionary transitions and maturing the collective leadership of their systems. His work focuses on producing generative change that can engage large numbers of people, leading to “learning at scale.” He has also focused on the integration of functional and technical organizations into business leadership, the transformation of management union relationships, and the means to produce “organic growth” by creating cross-boundary and cross-functional
transformation and action. Some recent clients include BP, the International Finance Corporation (and the World Bank Group), W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Royal Bank of Scotland, NASA, Shell, Motorola, the Institute for Liberty and Democracy, and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Joint Strike Fighter Program.

Isaacs received an A.B. in policy studies from Dartmouth College, an M.Sc. in political philosophy from the London School of Economics, and an M.Phil. and D. Phil from Oxford University in organizational behavior, social theory, and applied social psychology. He lives with his family in the Boston area.

Carolyn Lukensmeyer

Dr. Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, Founder and President of AmericaSpeaks, has made her mark as an innovator in deliberative democracy, public administration, and organizational development. Concerns about the deep partisan divide in Washington and the growing disconnection between citizens and government across the country led Carolyn to launch AmericaSpeaks in 1995. Her goal is to develop new democratic practices that will strengthen citizen voice in public decision-making.

Under Carolyn’s leadership, AmericaSpeaks has earned a national reputation as a leader in the field of deliberative democracy and democratic renewal. She and AmericaSpeaks have won a number of awards, including two from the International Association for Public Participation (2001 and 2003), the Organizational Development Network’s Sharing the Wealth Award (2006), Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for best practices, a Distinguish

ed Service Award from the Federal Managers Association for Outstanding Leadership (1994) and a Best Practice Award from the National Training Laboratories Institute in 1993.

Prior to founding AmericaSpeaks, Carolyn served as Consultant to the White House Chief of Staff from November 1993 through June 1994. In this capacity she ensured that systematic thinking was part of the White House’s work on internal management issues and on government-wide reform. She also served as the Deputy Project Director for Management of the National Performance Review (NPR), Vice President Al Gore’s reinventing government task force. From 1986 to 1991, Carolyn served as Chief of Staff to Governor Richard F. Celeste of Ohio. She was both the first woman to serve in this capacity and, at the time of her appointment, the only Chief of Staff recruited from the professional management field.

An avid traveler and outdoors adventurer, Carolyn has led a rafting expedition down the Colorado River, tracked panda bears in the remote Sichuan Province of China, and trekked in major mountain ranges all over the world. She currently lives in Washington, D.C.

Hans-Peter Meister

Dr. Hans-Peter Meister is a German entrepreneur and a leader in change management. Following a career in business and politics, he founded IFOK, one of Germany’s le

ading political consulting firms, and Meister Consultants Group, a newly established American subsidiary based in Newburyport, MA. Deeply convinced that change can only be achieved successfully by involving those affected, Hans-Peter and his team innovated change management by approaching political, environmental and social challenges with the expertise of a think tank and the professionalism of a business consultancy.

Among IFOK’s signature projects are the Regional Dialogue Forum Frankfurt Airport, a comprehensive political mediation process on the future and enlargement of Frankfurt Airport as well as a highly successful energy saving program, by now implemented in 80 German cities. IFOK’s clients include the Office of the Federal Chancellor; the European Commission and Parliament; the German Council of Sustainable Development; the City of Heidelberg; BMW Group; Deutsche Lufthansa; EnBW Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG; Vattenfall Europe Mining Corporation; the Bertelsmann Foundation, Chemical and Energy Industrial Union (IG BCE); Chamber of Commerce and Industry Rhine-Neckar among many others. IFOK recently led a Europe-wide group of leaders in public engagement to launch the European Dialogue Consortium — a network inspired, in part, by NCDD.

Prior to founding IFOK, Hans-Peter served as t

he Head of Political Communications and Environmental Public Affairs at the international chemical company, BASF AG, and as the Spokesperson of former German Federal Minister for the Environment, Klaus Töpfer. Currently Hans-Peter advises the German Federal Government as well as several State governments on energy and climate change issues, and counsels international companies on how to move towards a low-carbon economy.

Hans-Peter is the author of numerous books and articles, his most recent book is Beteiligung - ein Programm für Politik, Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft (Participation - a Program for Politics, Business and Society). Since 2005, he teaches Political Communication as an adjunct professor at the Public Policy Institute at Georgetown University in Washington DC. He studied Biology in Darmstadt, Wuerzburg, Los Angeles and Lisbon, and holds a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Wuerzburg.

Najeeba Syeed-Miller

Najeeba Syeed-Miller is currently the Executive Directo

r of the Western Justice Center Foundation (, a conflict resolution and dialogue based organization that works with communities, children and courts to increase the opportunity for peaceful conflict resolution and displace the power of violence in our society.

She oversaw a tripling of the organization’s budget a

nd staffing and the development of environmental conflict resolution programs, violence prevention and interracial relations training throughout LA County for parents, expansion and creation of a gang intervention program in the San Gabriel Valley, technical assistance to over 30 clients such as the LA County Mental Health Commission on the development of school based curricula and leadership for community leaders, innovative dialogue programs between Latino/African American communities that reduced the incidences of hate crimes, development of an award winning mediation and dialogue program between community and police (the only one in Southern California), crisis response intervention in community and school settings, instruction and curriculum development for educators in the area of conflict resolution, partnerships with institutions such as the Art Center College of Design on instructing arts based university students in the area of conflict resolution. She has traveled to and trained relief workers, students, faculty and crisis intervention NGO’s in the areas of mediating and designing dialogue processes for complex historical conflicts in various locations around the United States, India, Latin America, Africa, Afghanistan and Guam.

More About Our Events

NCDD gatherings are not your run-of-the-mill conferences. Instead of parading endless speakers in front of you in the hope that you will absorb some of their knowledge, we acknowledge and tap into every participant’s expertise and unique perspectives, and ask you to play an active role in shaping the future of this burgeoning field. At NCDD Austin, we had the opportunity to help make progress on 5 major challenges facing our field identified by participants at previous NCDD conferences…

  1. How can we make the values and practices of D&D integral to our public and private systems (government, schools, organizations, etc.)?
  2. How can we frame this work in a more accessible and compelling way, so that people of all income levels, education levels and political perspectives are drawn to D&D?
  3. How can we demonstrate to powerholders that dialogue and deliberation really do work?
  4. How can we strengthen the link between D&D and community action and policy change?
  5. How can we address issues of oppression and bias both within the D&D community itself, and throughout society through the use of dialogue and deliberation?

NCDD conferences are known for being innovative and highly participatory. Here is what Dave Joseph, Director of Project Development at the Public Conversations Project, wrote to us after he attended the 2006 NCDD conference:

“I have gone to many, many, many conferences, workshops etc. over the past 30 years. NCDD was by far the best conference I have ever attended. It was 100% isomorphic and congruent with our practices, with a focus on developing a sense of relationship, connection and community. The activities all contributed to making it extremely easy for participants to get to know each other by focusing on shared purposes, interests and goals. Plus, you had a wonderful mix of people, of course. The structure really contributed greatly to getting to meet a large number of very diverse people and have fun doing it.”

And Avril Orloff, Project Manager for Canada’s Philia Dialogue on Caring Citizenship, had these kind words for us:

“I’m still coming back to earth after the amazing NCDD conference! It was packed so full of wonderful information, ideas, resources and people that I came away utterly inspired and energized. My heartiest congratulations to your team for pulling it off.

What a monumental effort - and what tremendous results! Thank you for every minute…. You’ve created something that’s going to leave a big legacy, and whose effects will just keep rippling further and further out into the world. To say nothing of a great community of practice - one that I’m honoured to associate myself with.”

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