NCDD to Present at Public Library Association Conference

NCDD is excited to announce that we will be co-presenting a session at the Public Library Association Conference in Philadelphia, PA on Friday, March 23rd at 2:00pm. Along with our partners at the American Library Association Public Program’s Office, NCDD will be talking with public librarians about the Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change initiative and will help them further explore how libraries can engage their communities through dialogue and deliberation. The session is open to all attendees.

The description for the session, titled Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change is below:

Through Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC), ALA seeks to strengthen communities by giving libraries the tools they need to bring disparate voices together and lead change. Public librarians who have completed LTC: Models for Change training will share real-world experiences with World Café, Future Search and Everyday Democracy’s methods for dialogue and deliberation. Participants will break into triads to try out tools with each other and discuss next steps for taking this learning home.

At the end of this session, participants will:

1: Learn specific context applications for dialogue and deliberation models

2: Gain confidence with facilitation instruments through modeling

3: Learn where to go and how to acquire skills aligned with specific deliberation models (e.g. Everyday Democracy, World Café) following the session

The session will also include an exercise in crafting questions to promote good dialogue and deliberation, as well as sharing updates on the initiative, such as the upcoming opportunities for librarians to learn more about Conversation Cafe and Future Search. More information on the current webinar series now underway for public libraries serving small, mid-sized and rural communities can be found here.

About Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change

This session is offered as part of Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC): Models for Change, an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) and the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD). The initiative seeks to introduce libraries to various dialogue and deliberation approaches, enabling libraries to foster conversation and lead change in their communities.

LTC: Models for Change is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services grant RE-40-16-0137-16.

Updates from the Deliberative Democracy Consortium

Did you see the recent updates from the Deliberative Democracy Consortium? Our board member, Wendy Willis is the Executive Director of the DDC and they recently sent out a fantastic update on some things going on in the D&D network on their radar – including several notable articles, a review of the new book How Democracies Die, the Knight Foundation/Gallup poll’s survey results, and some upcoming events in the field. We encourage you to read the February updates below or find the original version on the DDC’s site here.


DDC February Bulletin

American Democracy at Risk
There is this report detailing risks to American democracy. Though it takes a fairly partisan stance, it has pretty good (and persuasive) list of six markers of a democracy in decline. You can guess what they are–everything from intentionally undermining independent institutions to delegitimizing immigrants and religious minorities.

And this from Ezra Klein in Vox highlighting the new book from Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, How Democracies DieAs Klein puts it: “Of the book’s broad lessons, this is the one of most relevance to the United States in 2018: Democracies fend off challenges when participants value the preservation of the system — its norms and ideals and values — over short-term political gain.”

The Knight Foundation teamed up with Gallup on this report about why Americans’ trust in the media is at an all-time low. (Warning the animations are a little intense and potentially migraine-triggering).

Cake Mix, Economics, & Deliberation
Check out this fascinating critique of the use of focus groups and the “culture of consultation.” It’s a good one.

And there is this from the U.K., describing the Citizens’ Economic Council, a two-year program to engage citizens in deliberations on national economic policy.

Poets & Policy
Read this piece by Canada’s former Poet Laureate on “the constitutional assembly” he convened at University of British Columbia to propose amendments to the Constitution.

Better Late than Never
Somehow I missed David Weinberg’s response to Cass Sunstein’s recently updated book, #Republicin the Los Angeles Review of Books. The heart of Weinberg’s disagreement is here: “It may simply be time to give up on the Enlightenment ideal of discourse as the sole model and measure of human conversation.”  He also compellingly argues: “Most of all, we see a persistently noisy self-organizing and self-complicating mess that refuses to resolve, resulting in a web of inconsistent and simultaneous meanings. But this is not noise. It only sounds like noise outside of our own echo chambers.” The whole thing is worth a ready, though.  (Ditto Sunstein’s book!)

Upcoming
Our friends at George Mason University are hosting an event called Public Journalism & Deliberative Democracy: Exploring the Role of Narrative on March 5, 2018. Our very own Carolyn Lukensmeyer will offer the keynote. The event is all day and open to the public.

The peerless Frontiers of Democracy Conference will be held at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts on June 21-23, 2018. Head over to propose a session or reserve your spot!

You can find the original version of this bulletin on the DDC’s site at www.deliberative-democracy.net/2018/02/15/february-bulletin/.

Apply for the 2018 Summer Institute of Civic Studies

We wanted to make sure folks in our network saw that the Summer Institute for Civic Studies is now accepting applications until March 16th, and we encourage you to read more about it in the post below. The Summer Institute will run from June 11 to June 21, 2018 at Tufts University in Medford, MA. Participants will then be expected to stay for the Frontiers of Democracy conference in Boston, immediately following the Institute from the evening of June 21st to June 23rd. You can read the announcement below or find the original version on Peter Levine’s blog here.


Apply for the 2018 Summer Institute of Civic Studies

The eleventh annual Summer Institute of Civic Studies will take place from June 11 to June 21, 2018 at Tufts University. It will be an intensive, two-week, interdisciplinary seminar that brings together faculty, advanced graduate students, and practitioners from many countries and diverse fields of study. Please consider applying or forward to others who may be interested.

The Summer Institute was founded and co-taught from 2009-17 by Peter Levine, Associate Dean of Research at Tisch College, and Karol Soltan, Associate Professor in the Department of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland. In 2018, it will be taught by Peter Levine with Tufts colleagues. It features guest seminars by distinguished colleagues from various institutions and engages participants in challenging discussions such as:

  • How can people work together to improve the world?
  • How can people reason together about what is right to do?
  • What practices and institutional structures promote these kinds of citizenship?
  • How should empirical evidence, ethics, and strategy relate?

The daily sessions take place on the Tufts campus in Medford, MA. The seminar concludes with a public conference, Frontiers of Democracy, and participants in the Institute are expected to stay for the conference.

A draft syllabus for the 2018 summer institute (subject to change) is here. This is a 16-minute video introduction to Civic Studies. You can read more about the motivation for the Institute in the “Framing Statement” by Harry Boyte, University of Minnesota; Stephen Elkin, University of Maryland; Peter Levine, Tufts; Jane Mansbridge, Harvard; Elinor Ostrom, Indiana University; Karol Soltan, University of Maryland; and Rogers Smith, University of Pennsylvania.

To apply: please email your resume, an electronic copy of your graduate transcript (if applicable), and a cover email about your interests to Peter Levine at Peter.Levine@Tufts.edu.  For best consideration, apply no later than March 16, 2018.

You can also sign up here to receive occasional emails about the Summer Institute if you’re interested, but perhaps not for 2018.

European Institute: Applicants from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Germany, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Poland, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan are invited to apply to the European Institute of Civic Studies to be held in Herrsching, near Munich, Germany, from July 15 to July 28, 2018. Their costs are covered thanks to a grant from DAAD.

Practicalities 

Tuition for the Institute is free, but participants are responsible for their own housing and transportation. One option is a Tufts University dormitory room, which can be rented from $69/night for a single or $85/night for a double. Credit is not automatically offered, but special arrangements for graduate credit may be possible.

The seminar will be followed (from June 21, evening, until June 23) by a public conference–”Frontiers of Democracy 2018″–in downtown Boston. Participants in the institute are expected to stay for the public conference. See information on the conference here.

You can find the original version of this resource on Peter Levine’s blog at http://peterlevine.ws/?p=19472.

Winter Updates from AASCU’s American Democracy Project

For those working with civic engagement and higher ed, we wanted to share these recent updates from AASCU’s the American Democracy Project about several exciting opportunities! Coming up this Wednesday, February 28th from 1-2pm Eastern, is a free webinar on assessing civic competency and engagement, and how these efforts translate to student learning. Second, there are three different national ADP awards nominations that are now open and are due by March 30. Finally, check out the upcoming 2018 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting (#CLDE18) on June 6-9, hosted by the American Democracy Project (ADP), The Democracy Commitment (TDC), and the NASPA Lead Initiative. You can read the announcement below or find the original on ADP’s site here.


ADP Winter 2018 Updates & Announcements

With our recent effort to significantly increase our ADP programming, you might be interested in some of the upcoming ADP activities, including opportunities to get national recognition for deserving folks on your campuses.  Please pass along to those who might be interested as well.  Thank you in advance for your support

Free Webinar Featuring Assessment of Civic Competency and Engagement
Wednesday, February 28 | 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. EST
Register now

Walking our Talk: Converting Civic-Focused Mission Statements to Student Learning
Many higher education institutions include complex civic concepts as part of their missions, but how do we know if we are translating these lofty goals into student learning? Assessment is often viewed as a secondary or even bureaucratic institutional practice but done well it supports learning improvement processes that prioritize student development, organize institutional efforts, and direct change. This session will discuss recent ETS research initiatives focused on national trends in the assessment of civic competency and engagement as well as an institutional perspective on assessing and addressing these skills in students.

Presenters: Ross Markle, Senior Assessment Strategist for Higher Education, ETS; and Kara Owens, Special Assistant to the President for Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment, Salisbury University (Md.)

Nominations for Three ADP National Civic Engagement Awards Due March 30, 2018

  • The William M. Plater Award for Leadership in Civic Engagement is given each year to an AASCU chief academic officer in recognition of his or her leadership in advancing the civic mission of the campus. Chief academic officers may be nominated by anyone. The president or chancellor must endorse the nomination. Nomination materials for the 2018 Plater Award must be submitted electronically by March 30, 2018. For information and cover sheet: http://www.aascu.org/programs/adp/awards/WilliamPlater/
  • The John Saltmarsh Award for Emerging Leaders in Civic Engagement is presented annually to an emerging leader (e.g., early career faculty/staff) in the civic engagement field from an AASCU institution. Emerging Leaders may be nominated by anyone. Nomination materials for the 2018 Saltmarsh Award must be submitted electronically by March 30, 2018. For information and cover sheet: http://www.aascu.org/programs/adp/awards/JohnSaltmarsh/
  • The Barbara Burch Award for Faculty Leadership in Civic Engagement is presented annually to a senior faculty member in the civic engagement field from an AASCU institution. Senior ADP faculty members may be nominated by anyone. The provost or chief academic officer must endorse the nomination. Nomination materials for the 2018 Burch Award must be submitted electronically by March 30, 2018. For information and cover sheet: http://www.aascu.org/programs/adp/awards/BarbaraBurch/

Participate in ADP’s National Conference: The 2018 Civic Learning & Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Meeting
Wednesday, June 6, 2018 to Saturday, June 9, 2018
Hyatt Regency Orange County • Anaheim, California

The American Democracy Project (ADP), The Democracy Commitment (TDC), and NASPA are committed to advancing the civic engagement movement in higher education. Join us in Anaheim, California for our annual conference which brings together faculty, student affairs professionals, senior campus administrators, students and community partners. Together we will ensure that students graduate from our colleges and universities–both public and private–prepared to be the informed, engaged citizens that our communities and our democracy need.

Learn more about ADP and how to be engaged during our ADP Organizing Meeting on Thursday, June 7 from 9 a.m. – Noon. Annual awards will be presented during this meeting.

For more information: http://www.aascu.org/meetings/clde18/
Register now for the best rates.

You can find the original version of this ADP blog post at: https://adpaascu.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/adp-winter-2018-updates-announcements/.

Digital Engagement Census Deadline Extended to Mon. 2/26

Shared with us by NCDD member, Tim Bonnemann on our Main Discussion listserv, the ParticipateDB 2018 Digital Engagement Census deadline has been extended until this coming Monday, February 26th. The survey, hosted by several international partner organizations, seeks to identify the digital engagement tools that people have been using and for folks to provide feedback on their experience using the tools. You can read more about the survey in the post below or find the original on ParticipateDB’s site here.


ParticipateDB 2018 Digital Engagement Census

Today, after extensive prep work since we first floated the idea back in 2016, we are excited to launch the ParticipateDB 2018 Digital Engagement Census, a global practitioner survey aimed at improving our understanding of how technology is shaping community engagement today.

Over the next ten days, we hope to hear from people working in community engagement and public participation in places all around the world to answer two basic questions:

  • Which digital engagement tools or services have you used in your work lately?
  • What were your experiences and lessons learned?

Respondents who leave us their contact information will:

  • be among first to get their hands on the interim report (to be issued later this month),
  • receive an invitation to our exclusive follow-up event, and
  • receive an electronic copy of the final report free of charge (to be issued later in March).

We are exceptionally pleased to be partnering with a group of renowned international organizations and practitioner networks in this field. This project wouldn’t be possible without their support and guidance. Thank you!

Please head to the project page for more details. When you get a chance, please take a few minutes to complete the online survey and share it with your colleagues near and far: ParticipateDB 2018 Digital Engagement Census

You can find the original version of this article at http://blog.participatedb.com/2018/02/09/welcome-to-the-participatedb-2018-digital-engagement-census/.

Recap on our Tech Tues Feat Iceland’s Citizens Foundation

NCDD hosted another one of our informative and exciting TechTues calls earlier this week! We were joined by around 100 participants from across the world to learn more about Citizens Foundation, their digital democracy solutions, and how they are working to strengthen civic engagement in Iceland and internationally.

We recommend you listen to the recording if you weren’t able to make it because it was a great call!

On the call, Robert Bjarnason of Citizens Foundation walked participants through a brief history of how democracy has evolved throughout the last millennium in Iceland and set the stage for the work they are doing today. Founded in the aftermath of Iceland’s economic collapse in 2008, Citizens Foundation sought to improve public participation in government and policy change, by creating open source tools and implementing more democratic processes. They specialize in participatory budgeting, policy crowdsourcing, and other open source projects spanning several countries in Europe and in Australia.

Some of our favorite quotes from Robert during the Tech Tuesday:

  • “A key factor is to make participation fun. Make it informational and educational, but it can’t be boring. People have too many other options, there’s competition for attention, so make it an enjoyable experience”
  • “Lower the barrier to reach more people and not just the usual suspects”
  • “It’s key to let people know about the effort, they can’t participate if they don’t know about it.”
  • “If you listen to the people, the people will listen to you.”
  • [In response to a question on how do you make participation fun?] “Complicated is how you kill fun, make it simple and use pictures!”

If you were unable to join us on the call, never fear! We recorded the webinar which can be found on the archives page here. Access to the archives is a benefit of being an NCDD member, so make sure your membership is up-to-date (or click here to join).  We had an active chat discussion which raised some really interesting questions and examples, and you can check out the transcript of this chat by clicking here. Robert also shared the slides from his presentation, which you can find by clicking here, in case you wanted to scroll through them.

Tech_Tuesday_BadgeBig thank you to Robert and everyone who participated on the call to make it engaging and informative! We encourage you to check out the TechTues recording and learn more about Citizens Foundation’s ongoing work at https://citizens.is/. To learn more about NCDD’s Tech Tuesday series and hear recordings of past calls, please visit www.ncdd.org/tech-tuesdays.

Finally, we love holding these events and we want to continue to elevate the work of our field with Tech Tuesdays and Confab Calls. It is through your generous contributions to NCDD that we can keep doing this work! That’s why we want to encourage you to support NCDD by making a donation or becoming an NCDD member today (you can also renew your membership by clicking here).

MetroQuest Webinar on Finding Common Ground, Feb. 28th

Coming up at the end of February, NCDD member org MetroQuest will be hosting the webinar, How to Design Public Engagement to Find Common Ground; co-sponsored by NCDD, IAP2, and the American Planning Association (APA).  This webinar will be an opportunity to learn more on how to design public engagement efforts that uplift the common ground amongst the community and create solutions that demonstrate these shared ideals. You can read the announcement below or find the original on MetroQuest’s site here.


MetroQuest Webinar: How to Design Public Engagement to Find Common Ground

A 5-star recipe for public engagement – how to find common desires and build a winning plan!

Wednesday, February 28th
11 am Pacific | 12 pm Mountain | 1 pm Central | 2 pm Eastern (1 hour)
Educational Credit Available (CM APA AICP)
Complimentary (FREE)

REGISTER HERE

When it comes to urban and transportation planning, motivated groups with competing demands often emerge in community outreach efforts. On February 28th, learn how online community engagement can help find common ground to build a plan citizens will support.

Mark Evans from BartonPartners and Mary Young with the Town of Westport will share their success in engaging the public to inform the Saugatuck Transit Oriented Design Master Plan. Find out how online engagement provided a fun and safe way for citizens to provide input without fear of reprisal from local insurgent groups. The result? A master plan that meets the common desires of the local community.

Register for this complimentary 1-hour live webinar to learn how to …

  • Create a public engagement process to find common goals
  • Ensure privacy in the process to uncover the true priorities
  • Optimize citizen engagement to go beyond motivated groups
  • Collect informed, constructive input from all demographics
  • Find the balance between livability, character, and transportation
  • Gain transparency with actionable data to support your plan

You can find the original version of this announcement on MetroQuest’s site at http://go.metroquest.com/Westport-City-Plan-Barton-Partners

NIFI Deliberation Day Coming up Monday, February 19th

NCDD member org – the National Issues Forums Institute, will be hosting Deliberation Day on Monday February 19th, where folks will have five back-to-back opportunities to participate in an online deliberative forum on immigration. Participants will have a chance to use NIFI’s Common Ground for Action online forum, where the results will then be part of A Public Voice 2018; an annual event hosted by Kettering Foundation and NIFI that bring Congressional and agency staffers together in a working meeting to discuss results from the deliberative forums (learn about APV 2017 here). NIFI is offering complimentary copies of their issue guide, Coming to America, before April 11th and have a free recorded webinar available on moderating these deliberative forums. We encourage you to read the announcement below or you can find the original here.


Join Us for Deliberation Day – Monday, February 19, 2018

Five Back-to-Back Online Forums about Immigration

Moderators and conveners around the country are planning and holding public deliberative forums about the issue of immigration to help kick off the 2018 A Public Voice forum series. At least 40 forums are already being scheduled, and more are in the works. A notable feature of this year’s forums, Deliberation Day, scheduled for Monday, February 19th, will include five, back-to-back Common Ground for Action online forums.

You are invited to choose a time that works best for you and participate in one of the online forums on February 19th. And you can help by sharing this invitation and the registration links below with your friends, family, and communities. All forums will use the brand-new Coming to America: Who Should We Welcome, What Should We Do? issue framework.

All forums will be held on Monday, February 19th (Presidents’ Day)

Click on a link to register:

Forum 1: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm EST
Forum 2: 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST
Forum 3:  3:30 pm – 5:30 pm EST
Forum 4:  6:30 pm –   8:30 pm EST
Forum 5:  9:00 pm – 11:00 pm EST

If You’re Planning to Hold a Forum – FREE Materials Offer

For a limited time, the National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI) is offering complimentary sets of 20 Coming to America issue guides and questionnaires to conveners holding forums before April 1, 2018. Click here or contact Darla Minnich at dminnich@nifi.org to sign up to receive your free materials.

Please let us know about your forums. When you’ve scheduled your forum (either before or after April 1, 2018), please let us know about it by posting your information on the NIFI web site in the Events section. You must log in to submit an event; or send your forum details (contact name and email address, date, time, location, city, state, zip code) to Patty Dineen at dineenp@msn.com.

Watch a Webinar about Moderating Coming to America Forums

On January 30, 2018, Kara Dillard presented a one-hour webinar about convening and moderating forums using the new National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI) issue guide titled, Coming to America: Who Should We Welcome, What Should We Do? The webinar, Moderating the Coming to America Deliberative Forums, was recorded and has been archived. Click here to watch the webinar.

You can find the original version of this blog post from NIFI at http://conta.cc/2G94kX4.

Attend the 2018 IAP2 USA Skills Symposium in Austin, Texas

Are you looking to brush up on your IAP2 skills or really want to dive deep into learning public participation tools and techniques? We wanted to give folks in our network a heads up about the 2018 IAP2 USA Skills Symposium hosted by NCDD member org IAP2, happening in Austin from February 26 – March 2. This will be a great chance to take some of the classic courses from IAP2, as well as, several more recent training opportunities which you can read about below. They will also be hosting a National Dialogue event on February 28th exploring “How and why should the public be engaged in highly technical and complex projects?”. You can read the announcement below and find more information on the IAP2 site here.


Join us at the 2018 IAP2 USA Skills Symposium in Austin, Texas!

You’re invited! This year’s IAP2 USA Skills Symposium will feature a wide range of courses of varying duration and topics exploring skills, tools, and techniques that support effective public participation. This training will be undertaken in a rich learning environment, with activities building a creative and supportive space for participants whether they spend a day or the week at the event!

We will also be hosting a National Dialogue event on February 28, 2018 at the University of Texas at Austin talking about “How and why should the public be engaged in highly technical and complex projects?” See attached flyer for more details or register now!

Courses include but are not limited to…

Social Media And P2: How to design and host effective online engagement –  We know that online tools reach new participants and enable different kinds of conversation. But, it’s an emerging field and there is still much trial and error, so this course will give you a leg up by examining what’s worked and what’s failed. This interactive course will teach you to create social media campaigns that gather input creatively, enable collaborative online interactions, and sustain participation over time. You’ll also learn how to use social media for participant recruitment, and how to integrate mobile communication into your participation strategy. Bring your computer; this course gives you an opportunity to experience both the host and participant sides of online participation.

Evaluating & Measuring P2 – Evaluation should always be useful, and this introductory course will cover theories and practical strategies to help you evaluate your public participation efforts. In this hands-on course, you will apply foundational tools like logic models, examine the differences between process and impact evaluation, and review the components of an evaluation plan. You will craft evaluation questions, and identify indicators and sources of information to help you answer those questions. Overall, you will learn how to employ evaluative thinking as a learning strategy, in order to strengthen your work and achieve greater impact.

When Things Go Sideways: How to embrace emotion & outrage, and change results – Building on EOP2 (but not a pre-requisite) this highly participatory course will have participants uncover what’s driving emotion and outrage in P2 processes and discover what triggers these natural responses. Through exercises, discussion and multi-media presentation, participants will learn about AND PRACTICE highly effective, collaborative strategies to transform conflict and outrage and create an environment for constructive engagement.

Toolz For Tough Conversations – This conflict de-escalation and civil discourse training program prepares individuals, organizations, and communities for difficult discussions, cross-sector deliberations and collaborative decision-making. The unique, multi-track engagement framework, body-based mindfulness strategies, and powerful conflict communication skills are useful throughout all phases of creating dynamic, inclusive, community engagement programs. This highly-experiential training demonstrates mindfulness strategies and provides time to apply key concepts in all phases of project design: scoping, invitation, implementation, evaluation, and continuous improvement and shared leadership.

That’s not all! See our online Schedule to about the other courses that we have to offer! Spaces are limited. Check out our website for more information.

Courses are offered at $300/person/day for IAP2 members and $375/person/day for non-members with the following exceptions: IAP2 Foundations and “Strategies for Dealing with Opposition & Outrage in P2” courses are offered at $350/person/day for IAP2 members and $425/person/day for non-members. There will be a special rate for full-time students, see the website. The daily rate includes mid-morning beverages and lunch.

We hope to see you in Austin! Feel free to email us at info@iap2usa.org.

You can find this information on the IAP2 site at www.iap2usa.org/2018symposium.

NCDD Orgs Team up for Utah Civic Engagement Fellowship

For Utah folks in our network, there is an exciting endeavor underway that we wanted to share with you! Several NCDD member orgs – Essential Partners, Village Square, and Living Room Conversations – in partnership with Salt Lake Civil Network and Utah Humanities, have teamed for a year-long Civic Engagement Fellowship, with a focus on further building Utah as a hub for civil discourse. The fellowship will kick off with two-day training in dialogue facilitation by Essential Partners on March 2 & 3, then the following year will be dedicated to designing and implementing a civic engagement plan and facilitating civil dialogues. The deadline to apply is February 23rd, so make sure you apply ASAP! We encourage you to read the announcement below or find the original on EP’s site here.


Announcing the Utah Civic Engagement Fellowship

In partnership with Village SquareLiving Room ConversationsSalt Lake Civil Network, and Utah Humanities, we are building a statewide network in Utah for citizens seeking to become skilled leaders in designing and facilitating civil dialogues in their communities.

The year-long Civic Engagement Fellowship for Utah begins with a comprehensive two-day training in dialogue facilitation, provided by Essential Partners, from March 2-3 in Salt Lake City (venue TBD). Over the following year, Fellows will be connected to a larger collective impact initiative focused specifically on Utah as an ideal hub for shifting the culture of civic discourse. With support from skilled practitioners and a network of other trainees, Fellows will develop and implement community engagement plans centered on civil, connective dialogues.

To apply, please complete and submit the form at this link by no later than February 23, 2018.

About the 2-day Fellowship Training:

The Fellowship builds on a foundational two-day comprehensive training, Facilitating Dialogue Across Divides, provided by Essential Partners.

Are you witnessing an increase in divisiveness in your community? Do you see the need for us to talk across our divides? Do you want to be able to help your community have the difficult conversations it needs to have to move forward together? Facilitating Dialogue Across Divides is designed to help you build skills to facilitate tough conversations, whether in your daily life or in formal dialogues. This workshop is intended to be an introductory workshop for those new to facilitation, or to Essential Partners’ model.

Community is an act of courage. We believe that behind every belief is a person with a story. 27 years ago, Essential Partners created a unique approach to dialogue that promotes connection and curiosity between those who see one another as enemies. Our approach, Reflective Structure Dialogue (RSD), has transformed conflicts across the country and the world, and is widely applicable to the vital conversations that communities need to have to do the work they need to do. An intentional communication process can help individuals, groups, and communities rebuild trust, enhance resilience, address challenging issues, and have constructive conversations with people from different perspectives or those they otherwise would avoid or fight with.

Beginning with this training, Fellows will embark on a rigorous program to cultivate facilitation skills through practice and direct engagement of their communities in Utah.

Benefits of Fellowship:

  • Two-day training in facilitating civic dialogues
  • Monthly webinars and support gatherings
  • Updates about opportunities to facilitate
  • One-on-one coaching for community projects
  • Training for facilitating Village Square forums and smaller Living Room Conversations

Fellowship requirements:

We encourage candidates to come with a connection to a community, institution, or group in which they could use these skills. Because this work involves collaboration, we strongly encourage candidates to apply with partners, working together to help facilitate conversations. We can help pair people who do not have partners. Teams may be as large as 4. Call with questions.

This Fellowship requires:

  • Training completion and monthly webinars
  • Design/execution of a plan for using this work in each team’s home community or group
  • Facilitating at least one civic dialogue
  • Participating in a Village Square event
  • Hosting a Living Room Conversation
  • Supporting other Fellows in their work
  • A refundable $100/person deposit

Skills taught in the training:

  • Designing & structuring conversations for civic engagement: focusing on curiosity, community, and connection across difference
  • Achieving clarity of purpose & expectations
  • Utilizing agreements, structures, preparation, and inquiry
  • Practicing competence and confidence in facilitating through challenging moments

As a result of training, Fellows will be able to:

  • Create a context for people to communicate with self-confidence about difficult or divisive topics
  • Break destructive communication habits (e.g., avoidance, silence, or reactive responses, enabling people to feel heard
  • Design conversations, dialogues, or meetings with clear purpose, full participation, and a structure for moving forward together
  • Introduce a dialogue circle
  • Intervene to support a group through rough spots

Who might be a Fellow?

  • Community or nonprofit leaders, clergy
  • Gov’t officials seeking to drive collaboration
  • School administrators, professors, teachers
  • Directors of community engagement, diversity, and inclusion

To learn more about the Fellowship (application, requirements, program elements and expectations), please download the program description here.

You can find the original announcement on Essential Partner’s site at www.whatisessential.org/utah