News, New Stuff and Thank You's...

2004 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation

The dust is just starting to settle from the second National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation, which was held October 23th through 26th. Over 300 of us came together to share our resources, knowledge and hopes, network with our colleagues in this emerging field, and talk about where we should go from here.

Overall, it was a very successful event (at least that's what people have told me; it whizzed by too fast and furiously for me to take it all in). It re-energized us, inspired us, surfaced issues and questions for us to explore, and encouraged all of us to think and act collectively as those who are midwifing a community, a field, and possibly a movement, into being.

A snapshot of some of the participants in Priya Parker and Hal Saunders' post-conference training on sustained dialogue.

So many people were involved in the planning and implementation of this event, and I want to thank some of you here.

First of all, thank you to my amazing husband and partner Andy Fluke, who designed the gorgeous conference guidebooks in record time and kept the conference web pages up to date and easily navigable.

Thank you to the dozens of active members of the conference Planning Team, who collaborated for nearly a year over email and phone calls to make decisions and coordinate plans for such things as our conflict resolution process, our networking sessions, our plenaries, our bookstore, our meals and, well, everything!

Thank you to the facilitators of the five teams: Leilani Rashida Henry, who facilitated the Design Team with incredible competence, openness and thoughtfulness (and who brought us the much-loved Playback Theatre plenary). Najeeba Syeed-Miller, who facilitated the Diversity Team while, amazingly, taking the bar exam, starting a new Executive Director position and buying and selling a house (!). Polly Riddims, who facilitated the Logistics Team, coordinating dozens of volunteers at the conference while keeping track of everything that was going on around us all and never ceasing to be incredibly calm and calming. Miriam Wyman, who facilitated the Assessment Team, leading the design of workshop evaluation forms, notetaker forms and the overall conference satisfaction survey, despite not being able to join us at the conference. And Scott Russell, who facilitated the Public Relations Team, which managed to spread the word about the conference and training widely and effectively, despite a meager budget. You were all a delight to work with, and I hope we have many more opportunities to work together!

I'd also like to say a special thank-you to two Planning Team members who, because of their competence and spirit of service, we ended up depending on much more at the conference than we could ever have anticipated. Miki Kashtan (Co-Founder of the Bay Area Nonviolent Communication), thank you for playing such a visible facilitation role at the conference - especially during the Integration Groups and the closing. Your ability to weave everything together and to meet the needs of a huge group of diverse people was astounding! And Katie Howard (Manager of Civic Engagement & Facilitation Programs at the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center) - although I'm sure you didn't realize what you were getting yourself into when you offered to take on the "conference bookstore" task, you organized and managed a bookstore that was beyond all of our expectations, and maintained an aura of confident togetherness that I can only strive to achieve myself!

There are so many more people to thank. Regis University's Esther Ray Mills is at the top of the list. Esther coordinated our use of Regis space and equipment before and during the conference with breathtaking grace and skill. Regis' catering, facilities and conference services staff made sure that our food, water, tables and a million other things were there when and where we needed them. And, of course, I would like to thank Paul Alexander (Director of Regis University's Institute on the Common Good), who made it possible for us to have the conference at Regis in the first place, and helped us leap over dozens of hurdles along the way, without ever losing his sense of cool.

I'd also like to thank the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation for supporting this conference again - and for making it possible for the FIRST National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation to take place in 2002. And I'd like to thank the Rockefeller Brothers Fund for helping us bring a significant number of young people to the conference - young people whose presence enhanced every aspect of the conference and who will undoubtedly be indispensible in moving things forward that started at the event. Thank you, especially, Terry Amsler at Hewlett and Ben Shute at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

Thank you, planning team members, funders, sponsors, partners, contributors, volunteers, conference participants, Regis staff and others, for making the 2004 NCDD conference a success!

- Sandy Heierbacher, NCDD Convenor

Participate in NCDD's Thataway Forum

Thataway.org invites you to participate in our new forum, the “Thataway Forum.” Please take a minute to visit the forum, and consider registering and writing about your work or providing or asking for advice from your peers. The forum is already abuzz with over 100 compelling posts and exchanges written by dozens of your colleagues.

The De-Polarization of America

Learn about five programs that are using dialogue, deliberation, and D&D principles to tackle the intense polarization that is currently dividing America. NCDD is involved in each of these efforts to various degrees: The September Project, Let's Talk America, PBS Deliberation Day, Calling the Question, and the “We the People” National Convention.

The NCDD Wiki - A Space for Collaboration

Wikis are the posterchildren for online collaboration, NCDD members are using NCDD's wiki to work on several projects together. YOU'RE INVITED to (1) participate in some exciting collaborative projects that D&D leader Tom Atlee is spearheading or (2) initiate your own topic or project.

The Sortable, Searchable NCDD Members Database

Search our new members database, or look over a complete but abbreviated list of members. Not sure if you're a member? Search for yourself - if you're not listed, please consider joining NCDD!

NCDD Photo-Commentary - August 01, 2004

NCDD: Bringing Big Cats and People Together

Submitted by Nancy Polk, League of Women Voters Education Fund

"I'm attaching my favorite picture from South Africa. We took an extra week after the conference to go to South Africa after the Civicus World Assembly which I never would have known about if you had not sent out the announcement."

Note: We checked with Nancy, the leopard is alive and well in this photo (we had our suspicions). According to Nancy, it had just fed and was a little sleepy.

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NCDD's commentaries share the work and activities of NCDD members with thousands of site visitors. View past commentaries by NCDD members and staff. Submit your commentary to [email protected].

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