Dialogue & Deliberation Process Leaders
Americans Talk Issues
The ATI Foundation promotes a democratic process that combines repeated large-scale, random polling of Americans with 30-minute deliberations between individual voters and unbiased professional interviewers. The result is a consensus of public opinion, which sometimes includes unexpected positions and solutions. As explained in the book Locating consensus for Democracy, Public Interest Polling provides an inexpensive, practical way to locate a consensus of all Americans on major national issues.
Promoting the founding belief that every citizen has a right to impact the decisions of government, AmericaSpeaks serves as a neutral convener of large-scale public participation forums. Through close consultation with leaders, citizens, the media and others, AmericaSpeaks designs and facilitates deliberative meetings for 500 to 5,000 participants. Its partners have included regional planning groups, local, state, and national government bodies, and national organizations. Issues have ranged from Social Security reform to redevelopment of ground zero in New York.
The Center for Deliberative Democracy
Housed in the Department of Communication at Stanford University and established in 2003, the Center for Deliberative Democracy is devoted to research about democracy and public opinion obtained through Deliberative Polling. Developed by Professor James S. Fishkin, Deliberative Polling is a technique which combines deliberation in small group discussions with scientific random sampling to provide public consultation for public policy and for electoral issues.
The Center for Deliberative Polling
Housed in the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin, The Center for Deliberative Polling - like Stanford's Center for Deliberative Democracy - is devoted to research about democracy and public opinion obtained through Deliberative Polling.
The Center for Nonviolent Communication
CNVC is a nonprofit training and peacemaking organization dedicated to fostering the 'Nonviolent Communication' process. NVC is a method for being heard, hearing others, clearly and confidently expressing our needs and dreams, and for working through conflict with compassion and success. NVC encourages people to reframe how they express themselves and hear others by focusing on what they are observing, feeling, needing, and requesting.
The Rogue Valley (Oregon) Wisdom Council displaying its spirit for democracy in 2003.
The Center for Wise Democratic Processes
The Center assists communities in creating Wisdom Councils - randomly-selected, facilitated "juries," reflecting the larger diversity of the community - which engage in dialogue about the larger system and arrive at creative consensus on shared visions. These visions in turn serve to increase the quality of the dialogue among the larger community.
The Compassionate Listening Project
The Compassionate Listening Project (formerly Mid-East Citizen Diplomacy) is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering individuals to heal polarization and build bridges between people, communities and nations in conflict.
Vicki Robin (right) with NCDD's Sandy Heierbacher at a tea shop in Seattle that regularly hosts Caf?s.
Vicki Robin, a pioneer in the voluntary simplicity movement, came up with the idea of using the "conversation caf?" model in attempts to take her ideas of simpler living to a higher level. Her organization has more than 60 trained caf? hosts and has spread internationally after a tremendous start in Seattle.
Future Search Network
The Future Search Network initiates future search conferences, innovative planning conferences used world-wide by hundreds of communities and organizations. The conferences meet two goals at the same time: helping large diverse groups discover values, purposes and projects they hold in common; and enabling people to create a desired future together and start implementing right away.
Global Dialogue Institute
Temple University's Global Dialogue Institute promotes a process called "Deep-Dialogue" within and among the cultures, religions and other direction-shaping forces of the world. GDI fosters the Three Dimensions of Deep-Dialogue (ethics, globality and spirituality) by organizing and promoting research, publications, and face-to-face Inter-World Encounters in its Twelve-Step Program to Deep-Dialogue.
Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy
Established in 1992, IMTD promotes a systems approach to peacebuilding and facilitates the transformation of deep-rooted social conflict around the world. IMTD is based in Washington D.C. and has 1237 members in 31 countries.
The International Institute for Sustained Dialogue
Directed by Harold Saunders and formed in collaboration with the Kettering Foundation, the Institute promotes the process of sustained dialogue for transforming racial and ethnic conflicts around the world. Sustained dialogue (SD) is a systematic, interactive, open-ended political process to transform conflictual relationships over time. SD focuses on the dynamics of the relationships that underlie conflict and block its resolution.
The Jefferson Center
Since 1974, the Jefferson Center has conducted Citizen Juries at the local, state and national levels. In a Citizens Jury, a randomly selected, demographically representative panel of citizens, which serve as a microcosm of the public, meet to carefully examine an issue of public significance. At the end of their moderated hearings, the members present their recommendations to the public. The Citizens Jury process is a comprehensive tool that allows decision makers to hear thoughtful citizen input. Juries have addressed topics including national health care reform, budget priorities, environmental issues and local school district facility needs.
National Issues Forum
NIF is a nationwide network of educational and community organizations that deliberate about nationwide issues. NIF publishes deliberation guides on such topics as Racial and Ethnic Tensions: What Should We Do?; Money and Politics: Who Owns Democracy?; and Violent Kids: Can We Change The Trend?
Open Space Institute - U.S.
A participant at an Open Space conference peruses the morning's session offerings.
The Open Space Institute - US is one of many Open Space Institutes worldwide, all born and raised by the efforts of volunteer members. The Institute is an inclusive learning community that provides access to resources on Open Space and connects individuals and groups to inform, inspire, mentor, and sustain each other in opening and holding space. Open Space Technology is one way to enable all kinds of people, in any kind of organization, to create inspired, self-organized meetings and events. In Open Space meetings, events and organizations, participants create and manage their own agenda of parallel working sessions around a central theme of strategic importance.
Paulo Freire Institute
Established in 1992 as an international non-profit institution, the Paulo Freire Institute now has members from twenty-four countries, including the US. The Institute is dedicated to the work of Paulo Freire, who promoted a kind of citizen action research in which disempowered people (poor, illiterate, homeless) learn the reasons for their lack of power and learn how to address it through this critical education.
Public Conversations Project
In addition to their groundbreaking grassroots dialogue work, PCP provides trainings, presentations, and workshops on such things as the power of dialogue, inquiry as intervention, and the architecture of dialogue. PCP's website offers a variety of great tools and downloadable resources to help you organize and facilitate a dialogue.
Libby and Len Traubman checking out the exhibits at NCDD's 2002 conference.
The San Mateo Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group
Len and Libby Traubman have been organizing Jewish-Palestinian dialogue in the San Francisco area for over a decade as part of a larger public peace process. Their website features a 'how to' page on initiating Jewish-Palestinian dialogue groups, as well as many great articles and links. The Traubmans have spawned many similar, yet diverse groups in the Bay area, and their ideas and methods have spread into new cities and onto campuses.
The Society for Philosophical Inquiry
SPI is a grassroots nonprofit organization comprised of philosophical inquirers of all ages and walks of life who form "communities of philosophical inquiry," through Socrates Caf?s. Caf?s take place at coffee houses, libraries, hospices, senior centers, prisons, bookstores, homeless shelters, schools and more. SPI's diverse members are devoted to resuscitating the once time-honored art and skill of Socratic philosophical inquiry. The Socrates Caf? method of dialogue (based on Socrates' ways of facilitating learning through continuous questioning) is spontaneous yet rigorous, and inspires participants to articulate and discover their unique philosophical perspectives and worldview. The Caf?s encourage participants to become more autonomous thinkers and more engaged and empathetic citizens.
Study Circles Resource Center
SCRC promotes and supports study circles (small-group, democratic, peer-led deliberative dialogues on important social and political issues). Their website provides downloadable copies of many of their top-notch dialogue guides and other resources.
The University of Michigan's Program on Intergroup Relations (IGR)
IGR is a social justice education program which works proactively to promote understanding of intergroup relations throughout the student community. It assists students as they explore models of intergroup understanding and cooperation while acknowledging differences between and within groups. IGR provides students with opportunities to learn, experience, and work constructively with one another through structured dialogues and experiential activities across social group boundaries and through social conflict. A number of other universities have used IGR as a model for developing similar programs.
Utne Magazine and the Caf? Utne
In 1991, Utne Reader, an alternative press magazine, led with an article on Salons, online and face-to-face forums which foster conversation, connection, engagement, and community involvement. The organization was bombarded with interest from readers to start salons and 10 years and 500 salons later, they continue to sponsor neighborhood face-to-face conversations, as well as online conversations.
This non-profit organization is dedicated to developing innovative Web-based projects that bring fresh perspectives and new voices to the discussion of public issues. The goal of the organization is to use the Web as a positive, transformative force in people's lives and in society at large.
Juanita Brown and David Isaacs from Whole Systems Associates use the model of the caf? setting to create a warm, inviting environment in which people can converse. Participants gather informally at small tables and are encouraged to map out the ideas generated from conversation onto the paper table cloths covering the tables.