Friday, August 20, 2010

What is going on elsewhere - Learning from others

Learning from others is critical to personal, institutional, professional, and business growth. In the field of 'building community' we are certainly ahead of many others here in Silver Spring; yet, we can still learn much from what is going on in other places... It is in that spirit that I share with you the following...

This blog posting is an "e-Bulletin" from the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, a group devoted to fermenting constructive dialogue in communities throughout the world... Comb it carefully; there's something here for everybody!...enJoy.

For a copy of The Next Form of Democracy, see
View the DDC Channel at


**DDC, NLC release Civic Engagement and Recent Immigrant Communities**

The DDC has worked with the National League of Cities (NLC) to develop a guide for public officials and other local leaders about developing strategies to engage recent immigrants. "Civic Engagement and Recent Immigrant Communities" is a planning guide to help leaders (including leaders who are themselves recent immigrants) set goals, agree on expectations, and decide what kinds of engagement will work best for their community. While it looks at public engagement through the lens of immigration, the planning recommendations and meeting agendas may be useful for leaders working on a variety of issues. Supported by a grant from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the guide will be used as part of NLC's Municipal Action for Immigrant Integration project. The guide is available on the DDC Resources page.

**“Our Budget, Our Economy” links 3,500 people in budget deliberations **

Over 3,500 people gathered together at 57 sites across the country to deliberate about our nation’s fiscal future on Saturday, June 26, 2010. “Our Budget, Our Economy,” which was organized by AmericaSpeaks with support from the Peterson, Kellogg, and MacArthur Foundations, was one of the largest and most high-profile public deliberations in the U.S. to date. One session was even held in the virtual world Second Life. The sites were connected by live streaming video and keypad polling. At you can download the interim report to Congress, and a slideshow summarizing the report, to learn about how the process worked and what preferences were expressed by participants. The event generated a lively debate, including criticisms from both left and right and equally spirited commentary from proponents of public deliberation. Read Archon Fung’s “The Left Should Learn to Trust Americans” at and Carolyn Lukensmeyer’s “America Speaks on Long-Term Deficit Reduction” at

**CDC’s pioneering National Conversation reaches a crescendo**

The National Conversation on Public Health and Chemical Exposures was launched earlier this year by a coalition led by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As part of this effort, more than 1000 people participated in 52 community conversations during May and June. Input from these discussions is now being incorporated into an action agenda with recommendations that can help government agencies and other organizations strengthen their efforts to protect the public from harmful chemical exposures. Reports from the Community Conversations are now available; an overall summary highlighting key themes, issues, and ideas will soon be released. You can view a map with information on each conversation and links to the reports that conveners submitted. More information is available at

**Thanking Becker, welcoming Procter and Steffensmeier as new editors of JPD**

A major transition is underway at the Journal of Public Deliberation, the flagship publication in its field and an important catalyst for the rapid growth of interest in democracy, citizenship, and participation. The JPD was initiated through DDC seed grants in 2003, 2005, and 2007, supported in part by Auburn University, and sustained by the energy of its founding editor, Dr. Ted Becker. After five years of leading the journal, Becker is moving on to other pursuits, notably his new e-book The Last, Lost Empire. After an extensive search, the DDC executive committee is thrilled to announce that David Procter and Tim Steffensmeier will be taking the helm of JPD. Procter and Steffensmeier lead the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy at Kansas State University (see ). They will be working on a number of priorities, including raising the JPD rate of publication to two issues a year, and finding new venues for broadening the readership of the journal. Over the five years since JPD began publishing, the download rate for the journal’s articles has risen from 234 in 2005 to almost 7,000 in 2010. Visit JPD at

**Kettering: Participate in national conversation on economic security**

The Kettering Foundation, in partnership with the National Issues Forums Institute, is seeking innovative ways to communicate the results of forums to policy makers. The public thinking that emerges from forums can provide valuable insights to policy makers about the kinds of things the public is ready to act on, and where the public might need further thinking. The results of forums might be more useful to state policy makers if they are analyzed regionally. This year, Kettering is promoting a national conversation on economic security, with national, state and local implications. Five regional coordinators are working to encourage forums, analyze the results, and share their insights with each region and with Washington, D.C. policy makers at events in the spring, 2011. They are focusing on how ready the public is to act on various aspects of this issue. The guide and questionnaire, available at , are both intended to encourage moderators and participants to emphasize a strong focus on the tensions the public wrestles with, and the tensions where the public has decided.

**2010 All-America City Award Winners announced by National Civic League**

The National Civic League announced the winners of the 61st annual All-America City award in July. The 2010 All-America Cities are: Chandler, Arizona; Lynwood, California; Rancho Cordova, California; North Miami, Florida; Acworth, Georgia; Des Moines, Iowa; Salisbury, Maryland; Gastonia, North Carolina; Mount Pleasant, South Carolina; and El Paso, Texas. The awards program recognizes neighborhoods, villages, towns, cities, counties and metro regions for outstanding civic accomplishments. To win, communities have to demonstrate an ability to address serious challenges with innovative, grassroots strategies that promote civic engagement and cooperation between the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Underwriting the All-America City Awards this year was the Sprint Foundation. “These All-America Cities represent what is working in American communities,” said National Civic League President Gloria Rubio Cortйs. “They are taking on challenging issues and finding innovative ways of creating a better future. We are inspired by their stories every year.” To qualify for the award, communities submit a detailed application listing three examples of successful community-based problem-solving. This year’s winners addressed such issues as homelessness, obesity, economic development, low-income housing, improving schools and diversity and inclusion. For more information, see

**Common Sense California creates Davenport Institute, launches new seminars**

Common Sense California has joined with the School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University to create the new Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership. Pete Peterson will assume the role of executive director of the Institute, which will continue and expand the three roles assumed originally by Common Sense California in supporting public participation in local policy-making: consulting on projects; funding them through grant programs and relationships with concerned foundations; and promoting the ever-growing field of public engagement through training, writing, and public speaking. “If these last few years have taught us anything,” said Peterson, “it is that local and regional leaders throughout California are confronting more and more difficult policy decisions in new and creative ways, reaching out to their residents for ideas and actual participation in ‘common sense’ solutions. Through the new Davenport Institute we will continue to support them as they lead in the ‘new normal’ of tight budgets and tough land use decisions.”

As part of this support, Peterson and former Redwood City (CA) city manager Ed Everett have developed a new public engagement training seminar geared towards local residents and civic leaders. The "Public Engagement: The Vital Leadership Skill in Difficult Times" seminar will be held on:
September 30: City of Fremont (lunch included)
October 16: ICMA University @ ICMA Conference, San Jose
October 17: ICMA University @ ICMA Conference, San Jose

**Transition from Ashworth to Lang at Wosk Centre for Dialogue**

After eight rewarding years as the Director of Dialogue Programs at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University, Dr. Joanna Ashworth is excited to be moving to a Research Associate appointment at the university’s Centre for Sustainable Community Development. "It has been a huge adventure and an honour to be part of the 'Dialogue' community at Simon Fraser University and to have met and worked with so many incredibly talented and inspired people within the university and in the community who care so much about creating a culture of dialogue. My experience here will continue to be woven into my professional and personal life." Dr. Amy Lang will be managing the Certificate in Dialogue and Engagement and the Diploma in Dialogue in Negotiation during this time of transition.

**Friday is deadline to nominate participation projects for Mohn Prize**

The search for a winner of the Reinhard Mohn Prize 2011 is in full swing. 20,000 people from all around the world have visited the website and submitted more than 50 projects from 22 different countries so-far. On the 22nd of August the submissions phase will end! In just 3 brief months more than 50 nominations for the Reinhard Mohn Prize 2011 have been submitted. Not only can you take part in the selection process by nominating projects – you are also invited to rate projects and help determine which ones make it through to the next stage. After the submission phase has ended, the 20 leading projects will be selected based on your ratings, comments and additional information. The 5-7 finalists will be presented to 10,000 representatively selected citizens – citizens who will then select the ultimate winner of the Reinhard Mohn Prize 2011. For more, see

**New Australian project to use public deliberation on sustainability issues**

A team of Australian practitioners and researchers led by Dr. Janette Hartz-Karp has won a grant from the Australian Research Council for a project on “Co-creating sustainability through civic deliberation and social media.” Over the next four years, the project will (i) collaboratively design, implement, and assess inclusive deliberations; (ii) develop an innovative social media platform that can assist informed public deliberation, translating scientific findings into easy-to-understand formats; (iii) research the transformative effects of this deliberation on individual, community and city-wide carbon footprints. For more information, email Dr. Hartz-Karp at

**Portland city council adopts public involvement principles**

The City Council of Portland, Oregon, one of the leading American cities for innovation in democratic governance, unanimously adopted principles to guide the City’s public involvement processes on August 4, 2010. The principles are designed to explain what the public can expect from City government. Principles include partnership, early involvement, building relationships and community capacity, inclusiveness and equity, good quality process design and implementation, transparency, and accountability. Mayor Sam Adams commented that the principles would “allow for a higher quality and more consistent level of public outreach.” Portland City Council also adopted an initiative to create a public involvement report that will be submitted each time a measure is considered at City Council. In addition, City Council agreed to conduct a baseline assessment of public involvement across City bureaus. The principles were developed by the City’s Public Involvement Advisory Council (PIAC). This 34-member advisory council includes both community members from a broad diversity of backgrounds as well as City staff members, representing thirteen different City bureaus. Commissioner Amanda Fritz commented that she is “very pleased with how diligently the PIAC has worked together and that so many bureaus and community members working together exemplifies the principles of citizen involvement we want to carry forward.” The public involvement principles and accompanying documents can be viewed at:

**McCoy: “Strengthening democracy is URGENT and DOABLE”**

Martha McCoy of Everyday Democracy was on a Governance Reform panel at the Brookings Institution on June 1, 2010, as part of a half-day conference entitled “How Broken is Our Democracy? And How Should We Fix It?” McCoy provided perspectives on the place of participation and collaboration in a strong democracy. Her remarks are available at

**Mansbridge, Fishkin, Rheingold on “Government as if listening mattered”**

At the recent Personal Democracy Forum, one of the keynote sessions was a conversation among Stanford communications professor James Fishkin, Harvard public policy professor Jane Mansbridge, Internet theorist Howard Rheingold, and moderator David Weinberger entitled “Government as if listening mattered." Video of the full session is available at

**Participatory Budgeting having a positive impact in the United Kingdom**

Ten years ago, some British community activists went to Porto Alegre in Brazil to find out about Participatory Budgeting (PB) and adapt the model for the UK. Today, there are over 120 projects in England, more than 20 in Wales and six in Scotland. Over Ј23million has been allocated through PB processes by thousands of people across the country. The Participatory Budgeting Unit, a project of Church Action on Poverty, has produced a paper demonstrating the impacts that PB has been having on community cohesion, empowering citizens and improving relationships. PB initiatives in the UK range from small grant processes designed to involve the community in allocating funds to the local third sector, to ward-based projects led by ward councilors, to police-led initiatives on community safety and antisocial behaviour, to local authority-wide projects allocating mainstream budgets for mainstream services. To download the paper, see;


**“BIG Citizenship: Citizens as Catalysts and Innovators” at NCoC**

The 65th Annual National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) will be held September 17, 2010 at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. NCoC brings together 400 civic leaders, educators, CEOs, and representatives from each of the three branches of government to address issues related to our nation’s civic health. Entitled "BIG Citizenship: Citizens as Catalysts and Innovators,” this year’s conference will explore the powerful role civic innovators are playing in fostering societies that are informed, engaged, giving and trusting. Speakers will include Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Time editor Rick Stengel. The “Civic Health Assessment,” produced for the first time in partnership between NCoC and the Corporation for National and Community Service, will highlight progress and challenges facing our country’s civic life. Registration is complimentary; go to

**Reinventing Governance conference in Boulder in October 2010**

Reinventing Governance: Breaking Down Silos, Building Up Relations” is a conference to promote new forms of collaboration among community, business, and governmental leaders through engaged dialogue and case-study analysis. Held at the University of Colorado on October 8-10, 2010, the conference will bring together professionals in conflict studies, collaborative processes, public deliberation, and community planning with business and community leaders. “Reinventing Governance” will explore issues of community planning, environmental management, sustainable business growth, international development, and global politics. For details, see

**Participation or Deliberation? Strasbourg, France in September 2011**

In describing the theme for the 2011 French Political Science Association conference, conveners Paula Cossart and Julien Delpin argue that “The last two decades have been marked by the proliferation of political and scientific discourses on the virtues of deliberative and participatory democracy. In parallel, procedures and devices sharing the ambition to intensify or enlarge the participation of the citizenry in the collective discussion of public issues have spread and been institutionalized. They are often seen as a remedy to the crisis representative government is undergoing. While not coined participatory or deliberative democracy at the time, we can find in the past discourses and experiences praising public and reasoned exchanges of arguments among citizens aiming at building a consensus on the common good. This workshop is devoted to these discourses and experiences. Who promoted them? What did they become? Our aim is to track down the common grounds between the questions raised by the deliberative arenas of the past and present times.” Send paper proposals for “Participation or Deliberation? Towards a historical sociology of citizens inclusion in democracy” to


**Report from John Gaventa maps outcomes of citizen engagement in 20 countries**

So What Difference Does it Make? Mapping the Outcomes of Citizen Engagement presents the results from a meta-case study analysis of a non-randomised sample of 100 research studies of citizen engagement in 20 countries. It is based on the work of the Development Research Centre on Citizenship, Participation and Accountability, and was written by John Gaventa and Gregory Barrett. The authors find that “Citizen engagement can be linked positively in a number of instances to achieving development outcomes, such as health, water, sanitation and education, as well as to democratic outcomes, such as building accountable institutions and making real national and international human rights frameworks.” Gaventa and Barrett also list negative consequences of participation, and conclude that “A large percentage of the negative outcomes observed [had] to do as much with state behaviour as the ability of citizens to engage.” And perhaps surprisingly, the research shows that “engagement can make positive differences, even in the least democratic settings – a proposition that challenges those who would argue for building states or institutions in these settings first and leaving the support of citizen engagement until later.” The full report, and a 4-page Executive Summary, can be downloaded at

**Empathy and Democracy: Thinking, Feeling, and Deliberation – Michael Morell**

Democracy harbors within it fundamental tensions between the ideal of giving everyone equal consideration and the reality of having to make legitimate, binding collective decisions. Democracies have granted political rights to more groups of people, but formal rights have not always guaranteed equal consideration or democratic legitimacy. It is Michael Morrell’s argument in this book that empathy plays a crucial role in enabling democratic deliberation to function the way it should. Drawing on empirical studies of empathy, including his own, Morrell offers a “process model of empathy” that incorporates both affect and cognition. He shows how this model can help democratic theorists who emphasize the importance of deliberation answer their critics. See

**Pearce and Pearce on Aligning the Work of Government and Citizens**

Written by Barnett and Kim Pearce of the Public Dialogue Consortium, a new Kettering Foundation report focuses on “Aligning the Work of Government to Strengthen the Work of Citizens: A Study of Public Administrators in Local and Regional Government.” The report surveys California administrative leaders from cities and counties, noting their changing views of “public engagement.” Among the conclusions:

• Public administrators question the public’s will or ability to communicate responsibly in civic engagement.

• Public administrators think of civic engagement in the context of their professional responsibilities.

• Public administrators are reassured by the experience of their peers and adaptable examples.

• Civic engagement involves “culture change” and “authenticity.”

• Public administrators have powerful motivations to support civic engagement.

• Public administrators know that they need to develop new skills for supporting civic engagement, but are not sure what those skills are.
Find it on the NCDD Resource Page at

**New NLC-YEF report on Authentic Youth Civic Engagement**

A new publication provides a step-by-step guide for local leaders who want to create meaningful opportunities for youth participation in local government. Authentic Youth Civic Engagement: A Guide for Municipal Leaders was produced by the Institute for Youth, Education and Families of the National League of Cities, with support from the Surdna Foundation. It includes examples from communities with robust youth civic engagement initiatives, along with a broad array of tools and resources to help cities and towns engage young people in local policy, planning and decision-making. Written by Cindy Carlson, longtime leader of public engagement efforts in Hampton, Virginia, the report was informed by a year-long process in which the YEF Institute gathered and synthesized the knowledge and expertise of more than 300 youth development experts, academics, municipal leaders, community organization partners and young adult and youth leaders from across the nation through a series of focus groups, surveys and interviews conducted in 2008-09. For more information, contact Leon Andrews at; download the guide at

**“When the Watering Hole Dries Up” – conversation with school superintendents**

From the Santa Rita Collaborative, “When the Watering Hole Dries Up” reports on a meeting of Ohio school superintendents. The financial crisis facing school districts, the superintendents conclude, only reinforces the need to create “networks of civic-minded citizens.” Download it at


**Alberta Climate Dialogue seeking a project manager and postdoctoral fellow**

The Alberta Climate Dialogue (ABCD) is working with municipalities across Alberta and partners at the provincial level to engage citizens in climate change policy and planning, using tools of deliberative democracy. ABCD, which was initiated with a seed grant from the DDC, is premised on the conviction that well-designed citizen deliberations can play a pivotal role in transforming the politics of climate change in Alberta. Citizens taking part in ABCD-partnered deliberations will become informed, hear each other's perspectives, work through tough decisions with each other and their elected officials, and to use democratic processes to figure out how to solve the problems that face us. Provincial and municipal elected officials and municipal administrators will learn which tough choices and policy directions the public is willing to support, build public ownership for action, and uncover new solutions for complex problems. The Project Manager will work closely with interdisciplinary researchers and practitioners to support this community-university research initiative (with current funding of $990K from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, with over $3 million in matching cash and in-kind funding from partners). The Project Manager position is based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. See for more information on the project, and for the job announcement.

ABCD is also seeking candidates to apply for a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship, a new two-year award from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). The ABCD research team is highly interdisciplinary, so we would welcome candidates from diverse research backgrounds so long as their work dovetailed with our project. The Fellowship is open to Canadian and international candidates who complete doctoral degrees between November 2007 and December 2010. The SSHRC deadline for Banting applications (with referee assessments) is November 3, 2010, but the University of Alberta's internal deadline is end of September. Contact Dr. David Kahane, the Principal Investigator for ABCD, at

**Sustained Dialogue Campus Network seeking research partners**

The Sustained Dialogue Campus Network ( is looking for an experienced researcher to assist with data analysis. Projects include both analyzing data that has recently been collected and designing future evaluation measures. If you are interested in learning more about the projects, please contact Amy Lazarus (SDCN Executive Director): Compensation is available.

**Public Agenda seeking Public and Stakeholder Engagement Associate**

Public Agenda, a national non-profit, non-partisan research and civic engagement organization, is seeking a public & stakeholder engagement associate. Public Agenda’s engagement methodologies and practices include issue framing, community forums, leadership dialogues, and on-line engagement strategies. Current projects involve work with community-based organizations and leaders at all levels across the United States to build capacity for engaging critical stakeholders in problem solving on issues around K-12 and higher education reform, economic development/regional planning, the environment/energy use, health care and others. The associate will work on a variety of research and writing tasks, on field-based work on diverse projects, and will assist with organizational tasks in support of a busy department. The job description calls for a highly motivated, collaborative fully bi-lingual (Spanish/English) individual for a New York City-based position. More info at


Matt Leighninger
Executive Director
Deliberative Democracy Consortium (Washington, DC)
131 Chedoke Avenue
Hamilton, ON
L8P 4P2

For a copy of The Next Form of Democracy, see
View the DDC Channel at

1 comment:

tony hausner said...

would be helpful if there was a summary of the key takeaways from this material.

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