National Week of Conversation Kicks Off Today!

Today officially kicks off the National Week of Conversation, an unprecedented week of connecting conversations that will run until next Saturday, April 28th!

The last few years have been hard on conversations. 75% of Americans now believe our inability to engage civilly with one another has reached a crisis level. We have not been this divided since the 1850s.  And the way we use technology tends to separate us even more.

The National Week of Conversation is about bringing Americans together to talk it out. Organizations can sign up to partner and host affiliated events (you can even add them to our calendar!). Individuals can sign up to participate both in person and online (individuals are welcome to host their own events too).

We strongly encourage you to check out the National Week of Conversation’s site here and see how this effort is happening all across the US. For those interested in starting your own event there are many supporting conversation guides, background information on a variety of subjects, and other resources. To facilitate these conversations even more, NWOC offers resources specifically designed for schools, libraries, and faith communities – which we have lifted up in the post below and you can find on NWOC’s site here.


Schools for NWOC: Resource Guide

Why? With the advent of social media algorithms and increasingly biased news pushing us into our own individualized filter bubbles, the country is reaching levels of division that in some ways is the worst we’ve seen since the 1850s. This is why it’s more important than ever to teach the next generation how to reach beyond their own bubbles and have civil conversations with people who disagree with them or have different backgrounds and perspectives.

Are you an educator interested in NWOC but can’t participate this year? Please still sign up your school to receive resources and updates about the next National Week of Conversation.

Free Services and Resources that can help

  • AllSides for Schools provides tools, lesson plans and resources from across the web for teachers and students to understand and discuss news and issues from different perspectives and across differences with civility and respect. Programs available for middle school, high school and college.
  • Bill of Rights Institute provides Bridge the Divide, a program that allows students to weigh in on hot-button political questions in a moderated online forum. Students can add their own opinions as well as up-vote the opinions of other students and see how peers view the important issues. Ideal for high school students.
  • Empatico is a tool for teachers to connect their lower-school students to classrooms around the world using seamless video conferencing technology. Activities are standards-based and designed to promote meaningful interactions and positive perceptions. Students are able to explore their similarities and differences with curiosity and kindness and develop practical communication and leadership skills. Designed for 7-11 year old students.
  • Mismatch connects teachers across the country so they can introduce their students to other students from different regions of the country with contrasting socioeconomic backgrounds and political perspectives. Students then engage in structured, respectful video conversations across differences, gaining mutual understanding and appreciation for one another. Ideal for high schools and colleges. Sign up your class for Mismatch now!

Click here to find Conversation Guides and Lesson Plans for Schools by Topic on:

  • Set the Tone – Getting your classroom started
  • Media Bias, Polarization, and Fake News
  • Free speech
  • Guns and Responsibility
  • Immigration
  • Race & Equity
  • Sexual Assault & Power Relationships
  • Other Topics

Libraries for NWOC: Resource Guide

Why should my library participate? The National Week of Conversation (NWOC) is an opportunity to help your library’s patrons connect with other people in their community and across the country. Libraries are a trusted gathering place in communities across the country, and can help in NWOC’s mission to revitalize our democracy. NWOC will allow your patrons to connect to other people in conversations they normally would not be able to have. Check out our PDF guide for participation.

How Can My Library Participate? There are a number of different ways your library can participate in NWOC!

Host an event, or make your library available for conversations:

  • Book Clubs: Provide space for your local book clubs to discuss a book that brings up important issues. Check out this list of suggestions from the Kansas City Public Library.
  • Living Room Conversations offers self-facilitated conversation guides. Simply provide meeting space and conversation guides to groups of patrons who can meet at your library for conversations.
  • Facilitated Conversations: Send an email to courtney[at]ncdd[dot]org to learn about bringing a facilitator to your library.

Provide computers for your patrons to connect with others across the country:
Mismatch is a service that utilizes free video conferencing systems to connect people across the country for conversations across divides. Simply provide space in your library for people to use computers and participate. Point your patrons to Mismatch.org where they can sign up for a conversation.

These are just a few ideas. We invite you to be creative and register your own event. Perhaps you want to use your own conversation guide or invite an expert speaker to your library? Please register your event and direct any questions to jaymee[at]allsides[dot]com.

Faith Communities for NWOC: Resource Guide

Why should my faith community participate? The National Week of Conversation (NWOC) is an opportunity to help your faith community’s members connect with other people in their community and across the country. Faith traditions share the common value of peace-making. Congregations of all faiths are trusted gathering places for the larger community as well as members of their own community. They also are organized to help people gather in communities across the country. This peace focus, trust and capacity for hospitality can help in NWOC’s mission to revitalize our democracy. NWOC will encourage your members to connect to other people in conversations they normally would not be able to have.

How Can My Congregation Participate? There are a number of different ways
your congregation can participate in NWOC!

Host an event, or make your congregation available for conversations:

  • Create a fellowship event: Invite members to gather for conversations that will help them grow in understanding and deepen relationships. Check out Planning a Community Living Room Conversation.
  • Provide a conversation opportunity for established groups: Most congregations have groups that meet regularly for fellowship, study, governance or service. Commit one meeting time to a conversation that will enrich your time together.
  • Build effective teams: Support congregational teams by offering conversations that give practice in understanding others’ perspectives, building trust and listening respectfully.
  • Living Room Conversations offers self-facilitated conversation guides. Simply provide meeting space and conversation guides to folks from your  larger community who can meet at your site for conversations.
  • Facilitated Conversations: Send an email to our Faith Communities Partner for assistance in hosting a virtual conversation (linda[at]livingroomconversations[dot]org) or locating a facilitator (courtney[at]ncdd[dot]org) who can be present with you.

Provide computers for your members to connect with others across the country:
Mismatch is a service that utilizes free video conferencing systems to connect people across the country for conversations across divides. Simply provide space in your congregation for people to use computers and participate. Point your patrons to Mismatch.org where they can sign up for a conversation.

These are just a few ideas. We invite you to be creative and register your own event. Perhaps you want to use your own conversation guide or invite an expert speaker to your faith community? Please register your event and direct any questions to linda[at]livingroomconversations[dot]org.

Join Us at the Boston Public Library for April 24th Dialogues

For those of you in and around Boston, consider joining us next Tuesday (April 24th) for seven dialogue events at the Boston Public Library as part of the National Week of Conversation.

NCDD has been working with the Boston Public Library and Big Tent Nation to offer these dialogues supported by highly skilled facilitators, and we encourage you to attend or to just help spread the word!

All dialogues will take place in BPL’s beautiful Central Library in Copley Square at 700 Boylston Street in Boston.

Here’s the rundown for next Tuesday…

3:00 – 4:30 pm

Immigration
a Conversation Cafe facilitated by Paul Weisman and Michele Simos of SMART Conversations (Register here)

Bridging Divides
a World Cafe facilitated by Kirsten Olson of Old Sow Coaching and Consulting (Register here)

Sexual Assault & Power Relationships
a Conversation Cafe facilitated by Heang Ly, Director of Consulting and Training at TeenEmpowerment.org (Register here)

5:00 – 6:30 pm

Race and Ethnicity
a Living Room Conversation facilitated by Vicky Peterson of CollabAction (Register here)

Guns and Responsibility
a Living Room Conversation led by professional facilitator Hilary Marcus (Register here)

7:00 – 8:30 pm

Safety and Justice
a National Issues Forum led by Mette Kreutzmann and Sara Cohen of the Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration (MOPC) (Register here)

Bridging Divides
a Living Room Conversation led by professional facilitator Claudia Lach (Register here)

Lessons from our Confab Call with Community Rights US

Last week we held our April Confab call about the Community Rights movement here in the US and its implications for our democracy. We were joined by two dozen participants to learn more about how this movement has helped people to be more participatory, exercise truer democratic practices, and work to protect the well-being of communities. It was an informative call and we encourage you to check out the recording!

On the call, NCDD member Linda Ellinor interviewed Paul Cienfuegos who works in the Community Rights movement. Paul set the stage for how things are the way they currently are, by sharing the history of corporate influence in the US, how it has taken sovereignty away from the American people, and some of its effect on the way our democracy operates. He emphasized how, “we the people need to rediscover who we are and this history of corporate influence, in order for us to have the legal authority to create the society we want”.

We learned that the Community Rights movement has passed ordinances in 200 communities, over 9 states; and that by doing so makes it possible for a municipality to push back on laws that protect corporations and violate the welfare of the community. The Community Rights movement offers an important reflection on how to have civic engagement that doesn’t just pay lip-service to reinforce the current structures and corporate rule but instead empowers people to take back our democratic republic. Paul provided a resource doc for those interested in learning more about the Community Rights movement, which you can find here.

We recorded the whole presentation in case you weren’t able to join us, which you can access on the archives page by clicking here. We had several insightful contributions to the chat, which you can find the transcript of 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).

Confab bubble image

We want to thank Paul, Linda, and all the Confab participants for contributing to this important conversation! To learn more about NCDD’s Confab Calls and hear recordings of others, visit www.ncdd.org/events/confabs.

Finally, we love holding these events and we want to continue to elevate the work of our field with Confab Calls and Tech Tuesdays. 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). Thank you!

MetroQuest Webinar on TxDOT Innovative Engagement

Next week, NCDD member org MetroQuest will be hosting the webinar, Public Involvement – How TxDOT Engages Beyond Meetings; co-sponsored by NCDD, IAP2, and the American Planning Association (APA). The webinar on Tuesday, April 17th will feature speakers from the Texas Dept of Transportation on their innovative outreach approaches and how online engagement input is informing transportation decisions in Texas. You can read the announcement below or find the original on MetroQuest’s site here.


MetroQuest Webinar: Public Involvement – How TxDOT Engages Beyond Meetings

Join TxDOT as we explore how the agency extends its public involvement mission via interactive engagement.

Tuesday, April 17th
11 am Pacific | 12 pm Mountain | 1 pm Central | 2 pm Eastern (1 hour)
Educational Credit Available (APA AICP CM)
Complimentary (FREE)

REGISTER HERE

Getting meaningful public involvement on transportation projects is challenging. The public are not planners … yet they care about local congestion, mobility, and safety. Learn how TxDOT embraces innovation to successfully educate and engage residents on projects at any scale.

Join Jefferson Grimes, Director of Public Involvement, with Amy Redmond and Julie Jerome from TxDOT as they share innovative approaches to reaching an exceedingly busy and diverse public to collect meaningful input on transportation projects. From broader, long-term corridor studies to smaller, more specific projects, input from online engagement is informing transportation decisions in Texas. This team will share strategies and techniques that encourage participation and provides meaningful data in project planning.

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

  • Educate the public about the planning process
  • Collect informed input to help in decision making
  • Gather input beyond public meetings
  • Engage diverse populations
  • Seating is limited – save your spot today!

Speakers
Jefferson Grimes – Director of Public Involvement, Texas Department of Transportation
Jefferson and his staff serve as the central focus point in ensuring that agency public involvement efforts are meaningful and results-oriented. He is charged with establishing agency policies and procedures governing outreach and the involvement of the public in agency decisions on projects. Jefferson has been solving transportation issues for TxDOT for nearly 30 years in a variety of capacities.

Julie Jerome – Public Involvement Specialist, Texas Department of Transportation
Julie Jerome is one of a team of four supporting and guiding public involvement efforts for transportation projects all over Texas. The team works closely with TxDOT’s 25 districts to ensure effective public involvement strategies and techniques throughout the life of a project—from planning to construction to maintenance—for more than 80,000 miles of road, plus aviation, rail and public transportation.

Amy Redmond – Public Involvement Specialist, Texas Department of Transportation
Amy has civic engagement engraved in her DNA. Her passion for public service has taken her to every corner of the Lone Star State working on projects for TxDOT, Texas Public Broadcasting, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts and Texas State University. Working 18 years in public, nonprofit and private entities she employs a diversity of knowledge to output ideas so that the world will understand.

You can find the original version of this announcement on MetroQuest’s site at http://go.metroquest.com/Public-Involvement-with-TxDOT.html

Restorative Justice Webinar on Centering Survivors, 4/18

Next Wednesday, April 18th, the Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice, a program of NCDD member org, the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University, is offering a free restorative justice webinar on centering survivors. Join this critical conversation as the three RJ-informed speakers share their work, help to broaden the understanding of survivor/victim, and offer implications for centering survivors in RJ and other movements. You can read the post below and find the original on the Zehr Institute site here.


Webinar: Centering Survivors – A Critical Conversation

When: – Guest: Alison Espinosa-Setchko, Kazu Haga, Richard Smith
Host: Johonna Turner

REGISTER HERE

Centering victims and survivors of harm is a longstanding principle of restorative justice. What does this mean in the restorative justice movement today? How should we define “victims” and “survivors”? What needs must be addressed? Join us for a critical conversation with the leaders of two RJ-informed initiatives centering survivors of violence who offer fresh perspectives on these questions.

HealingWorks is the first national learning collaborative for individuals and organizations working with young men of color who have been harmed by violence. They address the compelling needs of young survivors of color by delivering tools, information and support to the people and organizations that serve them. Because healing doesn’t happen in isolation, HealingWorks also promotes practices that take place in a broader context, addressing the essential roles of women, elders and other community members.

The Ahimsa Collective is a network of people creating an alternative way to address violence and heal trauma- a way that is driven by relationships, not systems. They use a restorative justice practices and a peacemaking approach. The Ahimsa Collective intersects with various movements: the restorative justice movement, the anti-oppression and racial justice movement, the anti-sexual violence movement and the criminal justice reform movement.

Our guests will provide an overview of their work, and the insights that guide them. Moreover, they will help us to understand the critical need to reframe and broaden dominant understandings of victims/survivors of violence, and the wide-ranging implications of this work for restorative justice, victims’ services, trauma healing, and other movements for safety and social justice.

Guest Bios
Alison Espinosa-Setchko was born in Oakland, Calif. She received a degree in Community Healing and Social Engagement from Pitzer College, and has spent much of her adult life working with young people as a teacher, a mindfulness educator and a facilitator of restorative justice. She is now the Programs Manager at The Ahimsa Collective where she supports Ahimsa’s various projects and co-facilitates restorative circles within Valley State Prison. A survivor of child sexual abuse, her family was also impacted by the criminal justice system. Espinosa-Setchko’s life has shown her the power of restorative justice to transform lives and institutions, and she is committed to making its healing potential manifest on a larger scale.

Kazu Haga is the founder and Coordinator of the East Point Peace Academy, is a trainer in Kingian Nonviolence and teaches various aspects of nonviolence, restorative justice and mindfulness. Haga is also a facilitator in the Ahimsa Collective’s Restorative Approaches to Intimate Violence program in prison. Born in Tokyo, Japan, he has been engaged in social change work since the age of 17, and has played leading roles in various social movements. He works to empower incarcerated communities, young people and activists around the country. He currently resides in Oakland, Calif.

Richard Smith is an academic activist and healer with nearly two decades of experience developing and implementing community-based programs for disadvantaged populations.  Smith is currently the National Director of HealingWorks, a learning collaborative that addresses the healing needs of male survivors of violence by delivering tools, information, and technical support to organizations that serve them. He is also currently one of the technical assistance leaders for the US Department of Justice’s National Resource Center on Reaching Underserved Victims, a one-stop shop for victim service providers, culturally-specific organizations, criminal justice professionals, and policymakers to get information and expert guidance to enhance their capacity to identify, reach, and serve victims from underserved communities. Smith holds a Master’s Degree from the University at Albany in Africana Studies and a Bachelor’s Degree from Boston University in Sociology. He has taught criminal justice, history, and social work courses as an Adjunct Professor at SUNY Empire State College, Sage College and LIU Brooklyn. He is presently a doctoral candidate at SUNY Albany’s School of Social Welfare. His research focus is male survivors of childhood sexual abuse. He is the proud father of two sons, Kaden (4 years.) and Kaleb (6 years).

You can find the original version of this announcement on the Zehr Institute’s site at www.zehr-institute.org/webinar/centering-survivors/.

Join the Nat’l Week of Conversation Coming up Next Week

Have you checked out the National Week of Conversation‘s site recently? There are currently over 70 events planned, either in person or online and more being added every day! Join the unprecedented National Week of Conversation starting next week on Friday, April 20th and going until Saturday, April 28th. This is a unique opportunity for Americans of different views to talk with each other and, more importantly, really listen to each other. We encourage you to go check out the site to sign up for an event or start your own conversation!

The National Week of Conversation is designed to:

  • Turn the tide of rising rancor and deepening division
  • Begin mending the frayed fabric of America by bridging divides
  • Bring people together again–from ‘us vs. them’ to ‘me and you’
  • Build relationships by listening first to understand the other

NCDD is a proud organizing partner of NWOC, and our founding director Sandy Heierbacher is on NWOC’s core team, along with over 100 additional participating partners!

During the NWOC, Americans from all over the country will take a small step to help bridge the political divides in our country. They will do this by reaching out to people who have different political views and engaging them in civil and respectful conversation about the future of our nation. The goal of these conversations is to help people learn from each other, build relationships, and look for ways to reduce the growing polarization in our public life.

You can sign up at www.nationalweekofconversation.org to pledge your intention to participate in NWOC as an individual or organization (let them know that you are connected to NCDD as a partner organization!). Check out the event calendar to see if there are events near you that you’d like to participate in. We encourage folks to start planning an event during NWOC and add it here. If you’re not sure what model to use or topic to focus on, we recommend you check out the organizations listed here or look over the resources under NWOC’s six suggested topics here.

Here are a few events from our friends:

  • Many from the NCDD network are holding events during the week that we strongly recommend you check out on the event calendar – like Annette Strauss Institute, Ben Franklin Circles, Big Tent Nation, Bring it to the Table, Interactivity Foundation, Kettering, Listen First Project, Living Room Conversations, and the National Institute for Civil Discourse.
  • April 21: Listen First Project will be hosting Listen First in Charlottesville to support the progress of healing and reconciliation in Charlottesville with a number of local and national influencers. (Sandy Heierbacher will be there, so make sure you keep a lookout and say hi!)
  • April 24: Boston Public Library are holding several events – Conversation Cafés, Living Room Conversations, World Cafes, and an option to video chat with folks in Kansas.
  • April 24, 25, 26, 28: Kansas Public Libraries have several events happening at various branches on each of these days

Learn more at NationalWeekofConversation.org and share your experience using #ListenFirst & #NWOC. Let us know if you have an event planned and share it with us in the comments below!

The Better Arguments Project Nominations due TODAY

Now, this is a tight turnaround for this next announcement, but we wanted to give folks in our network a heads up in case you missed it. The Better Arguments Project is an effort for Americans to engage each other around core US values and they are seeking nominations for communities to host their Better Arguments forums. Applications are due TODAY – April 10th, so check it out and get yours in ASAP!  In the post below, learn more about the funding support and other opportunities for those selected, as well as, find more detailed information on the Better Arguments Project’s site here.


The Better Arguments Project – Nominate your Community!

The Better Arguments Project allows Americans to reach across political, cultural and economic divides to have arguments that bring us closer together instead of driving us further apart. We launched this project out of the recognition that arguments are essential for our democracy. Indeed, America is an argument — between equality and liberty, central and local government, unity and diversity. The more we can equip communities to have arguments rooted both in this history and in best practices of constructive communication, the healthier our country will be.

Visit www.BetterArguments.org for more background on this initiative.

This project is designed to be practiced around a specific issue. How will we do this? We need YOU!

Over the next year, we will pilot the Better Arguments Project through local forums in select communities around the country. Would you and your community like to host one of our pilot Better Arguments forums? You’re in the right place!

With each partner, the Better Arguments Project will:

  • Provide the funding, materials, and training needed to convene community members.
  • Offer resources to help successfully lead community members through the forum.
  • Facilitate at least one agreed-upon follow-up step.
  • Document the experience in a video to be shared.

Our team is seeking partners representing various political parties, big and small towns, rural and urban areas, and most importantly, people from all walks of life. Some key qualities include:

  • Individuals or organizations rooted in community
  • Open-mindedness
  • Ability to convene community members representing a wide range of perspectives

Dates and Deadlines

  • Application due April 10th, 2018
  • Selections made April 24th, 2018

Ready to start a Better Argument? For more information:

The Better Arguments Project is a partnership among Facing History and Ourselves, The Aspen Institute Citizenship and American Identity Program, and The Allstate Corporation.

You can find the original version of this announcement on The Better Arguments Project’s site at www.facinghistory.org/together/better-arguments.

NCDD2018 Call for Session Proposals is Now Open!

NCDD’s 2018 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation is coming up this November 2-4 in downtown Denver.

NCDD conferences bring together hundreds of the most active, thoughtful, and influential people involved in public engagement and group process work across the U.S. and Canada.

Today we’re announcing our call for proposals for our concurrent sessions for NCDD 2018. We’re interested in finding creative ways to highlight the best of what’s happening in public engagement, group process, community problem-solving, civic tech, and arts-based dialogue — and we know you have lots of ideas!

Check out the Application for Session Leaders now to see what we ask for, and start cooking up those great proposals we’ve come to expect from our network! If you’re looking for ideas and inspiration, look over the comments on this blog post, where we asked the NCDD community to share what they’d like to see happen at NCDD 2018, and peruse the fabulous sessions offered at the 2016 and 2014 NCDD conferences.

Please note that the deadline for proposals is Wednesday, May 9th. We look forward to seeing what you’d like to offer!

If your work involves dialogue and deliberation, or you want to get involved with this work, you’ll love this conference. Imagine spending three days with some of the most amazing leaders in this field, forming new relationships and reconnecting with old colleagues and friends, hearing about innovative new approaches to the challenges you’re facing, and exploring together how we can shape the future of this important movement, all while using innovative group techniques there’s really nothing like it. (See our 2016 Conference Storify page for quotes and pictures.)

Here is some guidance for those thinking about presenting sessions at NCDD 2018…

Our theme for the 2018 conference is Connecting and Strengthening Civic Innovators, and we invite workshop proposals that in some way build upon or engage the ideas around this theme.

NCDD 2018 is taking place the weekend before the November midterm elections and these are vital times for using the skills and tools of the dialogue and deliberation community to continue to bring people together. We have heard from so many, both in our field and particularly those unfamiliar with D&D work – how do we come together and talk with each other despite the divisiveness that pervades our society? There are many in our country that are unaware of the D&D field’s work to better engage people and improve democratic processes.

Our goal of the conference is to explore how to bring dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement work’s many tools and processes into greater visibility and practice within our society. At the conference, we will dig into how to bring D&D to the more widespread awareness and use by:

  • Cultivating new partnerships and connections with other fields utilizing these approaches, including government, libraries, and journalism;
  • Developing our skills, and building our toolkits to address the emerging needs of the communities we work with and live in;
  • Making the case for public engagement, by elevating the stories of how people are coming together across divides, making decisions and taking action together, as well as demonstrating the value and impact of this work;
  • Growing the skills of D&D in our young people, and cultivating leaders who are drawn to D&D;
  • Building the skills and capacities of others in our communities to do this work;
  • Reaching out to and engaging with those less drawn to D&D, including conservatives, activists, and others;
  • Highlighting the ways D&D can be fun, and exploring innovative methods for public engagement – including the arts.

We invite session proposals that will highlight the work being done to tap D&D into the peoples’ daily lives, build democratic participation, and better expose D&D work through the above connections. Your proposal will be evaluated, in part, by its relevance to our theme and goals.

Some advice for potential session leaders:

  1. Identify great co-presenters.  Most workshops at NCDD conferences are collaborative efforts involving multiple presenters from different organizations and universities. Have you thought about who you can co-present with? Now’s the time to contact them to see if they’d like to offer a session with you! (Use the NCDD Main Discussion list and the comments below to put out feelers for potential co-presenters if you’d like.)
  2. Look over past workshop descriptions. Peruse the list of workshops from NCDD Boston to get a sense of the kinds of sessions the planning team selects. Sessions focused on innovative solutions to common challenges, ways to take this work to scale or to new audiences, and deep dives into great projects (and thoughtful explorations of failed projects!) are especially welcome.
  3. Be innovative with your session.  NCDD attendees are usually not too impressed with traditional panels or long speeches. Get them engaging with you and each other! Think about how you can get them out of their seats and moving around the room. And think about what you’d like to learn from them (not just what they can learn from you). Challenge yourself to run a session without relying on PowerPoint.
  4. Share your stories.  NCDDers prefer hearing your stories to getting a run-down of your organization or methodology.  People are interested in learning about what you did, what you learned, and how they may be able to learn from your experience.
  5. Share the latest.  What’s the latest research? What are the latest innovations in the field? What new challenges are you facing? What are your latest accomplishments?

Not quite ready to draw up a proposal yet? Use the comment field (and/or the NCDD Main Discussion listserv) to float your ideas by other NCDDers and members of the planning team. We may be able to match you up with potential co-presenters who can address the same challenge or issue you’re interested in focusing on.

Look over the comments on our engagement of members around what they would like to see at the conference, on the blog and the listserv. There is a wealth of ideas and insight in those results!

Deadline for submissions
To have your session proposal considered, we need you to submit the session application by the end of the day on Wednesday, May 9th. Members of the conference planning team will review the proposals and plan to respond by email to the first contact listed in your proposal early June.

Don’t forget that the super early bird tickets are NOW AVAILABLE! Get yours at this great low rate before it goes up!

Join Next Tuesday’s Confab Feat Community Rights US!

We are excited for our April Confab call featuring Community Rights US, coming up next week on Tuesday, April 10th from 1-2:30pm Eastern/ 10-11:30am Pacific! Please join us for this free call with NCDD member, Linda Ellinor, who will be interviewing Paul Cienfuegos of Community Rights US. They will be addressing the growing success of the Community Rights movement which is empowering citizens to pass local laws that protect our right to clean air and water, safe food, living wage jobs, and much more, in their local communities. Register today to reserve your slot!

About the Community Rights movement:

Since its inception in 1999, over 200 communities and counties in nine states have passed legally and culturally groundbreaking Community Rights ordinances that have banned harmful corporate activities such as fracking, water bottling, unsustainable energy development, aerial spraying of pesticides on farms and forests, and much more. These local laws also enshrine Nature as having locally enforceable Rights to exist, flourish and evolve. This is a real breakthrough approach for those of us in NCDD trying to facilitate effective community engagement projects especially around environmental and social justice issues. Come learn how to help your communities work ’outside the regulatory law box’ that has made it virtually impossible to block predatory corporate projects such as factory farms, GMOs, and mining operations from coming in and destroying local communities and ecosystems.

About the presenters:

Paul Cienfuegos is a national leader in the Community Rights movement, which works to dismantle corporate constitutional so-called “rights” and assert The People’s inherent right to govern themselves. He has been leading workshops across the US since 1995. Launched in October 2017, Paul is the founding director of Community Rights US. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Linda Ellinor pioneered Bohm Dialogue in the 1990s and is now focused on climate change activism and helping to found the “Academy for Professional Dialogue’, slated to be launched in 2018.

This call is not-to-miss – register today to join us for this conversation!

About NCDD’s Confab Calls

Confab bubble imageNCDD’s Confab Calls are opportunities for members (and potential members) of NCDD to talk with and hear from innovators in our field about the work they’re doing and to connect with fellow members around shared interests. Membership in NCDD is encouraged but not required for participation. Confabs are free and open to all. Register today if you’d like to join us!

Co-Creating a Shared Future and Funding the Vision

Those in the NCDD network can attest that while there is a lot of enthusiasm and effort around engagement work; what many in our field continue to struggle with is having funding to do said work and operating in silos. That’s why we wanted to share this excellent article posted on the Bridge Alliance site from NCDD member, Debilyn Molineaux, that articulates this vital need for co-creating a shared future and getting this shared vision funded.

Like the article states and our community knows, it takes conversation in order to build a shared future, and there’s a longing for many in this country to be able to bridge divides and work better together. NCDD stemmed from this need to bridge the D&D field and we’ll continue to share the important work being done to engaged people – like the National Week of Conversation on April 20-28, a collaborative effort to build relationships and heal our divisions. You can read Debilyn’s post below and find the original version on BA’s site here.


We Need To Talk: It’s Time to Create and Fund Our Future

Collectively, there are thousands of organizations and funders already working to improve our country. So why does our country appear to be a mess?

The weakest part of our country is our willingness to live in a narrative/news stream that confirms our own bias and demonizes others. We could make our collective work exponentially more effective by fostering strong relationships among people of different viewpoints.

Our current frayed social fabric is the result of “winner take all” politics, party loyalty over patriotism and is exacerbated by attacks from foreign influencers who manipulate us through social media and propaganda. Only We the People can change our attitudes and behavior to stop it.

Foundations have spent or committed $4.1 billion since 2011 to strengthen our democratic republic. And yet, the results are not recognizable to the average American. What will it take to continue to progress the ideals of our country and the future we want to create in this environment of turmoil and chaos?

Some of the most well-known movements in the last decade have started in a seemingly spontaneous manner following years of build-up. Think of the Tea Party in 2009, Occupy Wall Street in 2011, and #MeToo in 2017.

Collectively, the citizens and organizations that comprise our current post or cross-partisan movement are very energetic, and we are not yet coalesced. Largely because our biology is focused on what we DON’T want instead of what we DO want.

Creating and funding our shared future requires a shared vision of what we want — beyond avoiding the crisis of the current moment. It is our dreams, goals, and visions combined with a solid strategy and certain resources that will sustain us, long-term.

To determine this, we need to talk with each other to determine a vision for our shared future. We often hear people express how tired they are of talking — especially when they’ve been talking with friends and strangers for decades about what doesn’t work.

And that’s exactly the point —  focusing on problems is exhausting. Some among us are inclined to move straight to action — just fix it. But how will we know it’s “fixed” without checking in? This is why we need to engage in conversations, debates, and deliberation — it’s the fastest way forward to consciously create a shared vision.

We are constantly creating our future. I suggest we upgrade our visioning and planning to develop new social systems. As with anything new, extra communication is needed to establish systems, experiment with different approaches, and say what is working or not. Extra communication enables us to move forward, together.

Once new systems are in place, we can talk less and “just do it.” But when the systems are broken, unknown, ineffective or corrupt, then increasing our communication processes is an important FIRST ACTION.

So here is a prescription for creating and funding our future:

  1. Talk, debate and deliberate to create a future vision we WANT to share. (Maybe sign up for the National Week of ConversationApril 20-28, 2018).
  2. Talk, debate and deliberate the tactics needed to support the shared vision.
  3. Fund the leaders, programs and organizations who have the skills and capacities to turn deliberation into shared action.

“We deliberate not about ends,” said Aristotle, “but about the means to attain ends.”

In the end, it all starts with conversation.

You can find the original version of this post on the Bridge Alliance’s site at www.bridgealliance.us/we_need_to_talk_it_s_time_to_create_and_fund_our_future.