Count Me In! – Backyard Ballot Bash & Ballot Speed Dating

We always love hearing about cool, fun engagement efforts going on, which is why we’re excited to share with you an effort happening in Colorado called, Count Me In! It’s a collaborative civic engagement effort that educates voters on what’s on their ballot in a transpartisan way, bringing in all sides of the initiatives. CMI seeks to empower voters to know what they are voting on and vote on the whole ballot, with fun events like Ballot Speed Dating and Backyard Ballot Bashes. If you are in Colorado, check out the events that are lined up or contact CMI to plan your own! For those not in the state, we encourage you to check it out and see if you can bring something similar to your communities! You can learn more about CMI in the post below and on their site here.


Learn about what’s on your ballot with Count Me In!

There are going to be 13 initiatives for Coloradans to vote on this year, and that’s just the statewide ones. Even the most well-informed among us will need some help figuring out how they’re going to vote on all of these issues. That’s why Count Me In! is here. Once again, Count Me In! is partnering with community organizations around the state to make sure voters get all the information they need to make informed decisions about these critical policies affecting our state. Count Me In! is nonpartisan and provides information that is objective. There is still time to bring Count Me In! to your community, connect with us and we will plan an event that works for your community.

Check out where Count Me In! is headed with our list of events below. Join us for these events and share with your folks. We are getting new requests every day so check our website and Facebook page for the most up to date CMI! Events.

Save the Date(s) for Count Me In! Ballot Speed Dating

Count Me In! Colorado is hosting a few bigger ballot events we are calling Ballot Speed Dating. You’ll learn about each measure at these fun, informational ballot events. Count Me In! will be inviting all the statewide ballot campaigns to join us. You’ll get to ask your questions and learn more about each measure, like you would while speed dating. There will be appetizers, drinks, prizes, and engaging election information. Don’t miss this event!

  • Grand Junction Ballot Speed Dating: Thursday, September 27 from 5:30 –7:00 pm, SpringHills Suites, 236 Main Street, Grand Junction. Please share this event with folks in your network that would be interested!
  • Denver Ballot Speed Dating: Wednesday, October 17 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm, Great Divide Brewing, 1812 35th St, Denver, CO 80216. Be on the lookout for more info and promotional material for this event later this week.
  • Denver Ballot Bash: Saturday, October 20 – Denver Game Lounge – more info to come!

Ballot Bash in a Box

This year, in addition to great events at cool venues in every corner of the state, voters will be invited to host their own Backyard Ballot Bash (patent pending) using materials we’re calling Ballot Bash in a Box. If you’re dying to help your friends and neighbors get informed and want to make sure they vote their ballots from the bottom up, or you just need more information about Count Me In!, make sure you email Caitlin Schneider at schneider@coloradofiscal.org today.

Follow Count Me In on the social media, FacebookTwitterInstagram!

Check out the calendar of events planned so far!

Date/Time Event
9/13/18
10 am – 11:30 am
 Count Me In! at the Southwest Rural Philanthropy Days
9/20/18
7 pm – 8 pm
 CMI! joins DougCo Dems for “What’s on Your Ballot?”
 Highlands Ranch Library, Highlands Ranch CO
9/23/18
5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Tri-County Health Network hosts Count Me In! in Telluride
9/27/18
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
 Grand Junction Ballot Speed Dating
 SpringsHill Suites by Marriot, Grand Junction CO
10/01/18
6 – 7 pm
What’s on your Ballot?
Aspen, CO
10/02/18
11:30 am – 1:30 pm
What’s on your Ballot?
Colorado Mountain College, Edwards Campus, Edwards CO
10/04/18
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
 CMI Happy Hour with Common Cause
10/10/18
5:30 am – 7:00 am
 Count Me In! partners with Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
 Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Littleton Colorado
10/11/18
8 am – 10 am
 CMI! in Summit County “What’s on your Ballot”
10/11/18
12 pm – 2 pm
 CMI! in Grand County “What’s on your Ballot?”
10/14/18
9:30 am – 10:30 am
 Count Me In! and Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
 Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Littleton Colorado

You can read more information about Count Me In! at www.countmeincolorado.com/.

National Week of Conversation from October 5th – 13th

The next National Week of Conversation (NWOC) is October 5th – 13th! During NWOC, folks around the country will be joining conversations, in hopes to better address the intense divisions in our society through dialogue, deepening understanding, and building relationships. We encourage you to join a conversation already going on and/or start your own here! To help support these conversations, resources like conversations guides and helpful background information are provided on the National Conversation Project (NCP) site here, many from the NCDD coalition! And don’t forget to check out the 3k+ resources on the NCDD Resource Center too! You can read more in the post below and on the NCP site here.


National Week of Conversation: October 5-13

Americans of all stripes are stepping up to address the growing cultural crisis of hyper-polarization and animosity across divides. Together we can turn the tide of rising rancor and deepening division with widespread conversations in which we #ListenFirst to understand. Supported by 100+ organizations, National Conversation Project promotes monthly conversation opportunities as well as National Weeks of Conversation.

In April of this year, thousands of Americans took part in the first National Week of Conversation (NWOC). More than 130 schools, libraries, faith communities, activist groups and nonprofits hosted conversations coast to coast in 32 states. These conversations were grounded in a pledge to listen first and seek understanding. The official #ListenFirst hashtag reached millions during NWOC and continues to be promoted by celebrities and journalists to millions more. NWOC events gained media attention across the nation including in the New York Times.

Majorities of NWOC participants walked away feeling more tolerant, understanding, appreciative and curious toward people with different perspectives. Two-thirds rated the value of their conversation as a 9 or 10 out of 10. More than three-quarters now feel better equipped and more likely to listen first to understand, as well as more likely to participate in conversations across divides. A survey of all Americans found 75% willing to set a good example by practicing conversations across divides, and 36%—amounting to more than 100 million people—want to see a national campaign promoting such conversations.

The next National Week of Conversation is October 5th – 13th! Join a conversation already going on or start your own here: www.nationalconversationproject.org/how_to_get_involved

TOPIC OF THE MONTH: Bridging Divides

The United States is facing a cultural crisis. Increasingly in America today, we don’t just disagree; we distrust, dislike, even despise those who see the world differently. Animosity for positions is becoming contempt for the people who hold them. Difference and disagreement are deeply personal as we rage against and recoil from those we see as enemies across widening divides—political, racial, religious, economic and more. Most of us see fewer things that bind Americans together today and have few or no friends from the other side. The rate of loneliness has more than doubled to nearly 50%, creating a public health epidemic. We’re withdrawing from conversations—thereby eroding relationships and understanding—which threatens the foundational fabric of America. 75% of Americans say this problem has reached a crisis level, and 56% believe it will only get worse. Our condition is rapidly deteriorating into what’s now being described as a soft civil war.

There’s nothing wrong with passionate beliefs, disagreement, and protest, but it feels like something more dangerous is taking hold. Do you see it? Personally feel it? What’s changed? What can we do about it together? How we can bridge the divides that threaten our future?

Conversation Guides on Bridging Divides

Background Information to support these conversations:

National Conversation Project Calendar – click here

National Week of Conversation – Fall ‘18: October 5-13, 2018
Listen First Friday – Nov: November 2, 2018
Listen First Friday – Dec: December 7, 2018
Listen First Friday – Jan: January 4, 2019
Listen First Friday – Feb: February 1, 2019
Listen First Friday – Mar: March 1, 2019
National Week of Conversation – Spring ‘19: April 5-13, 2019
Listen First Friday – May: May 3, 2019
Listen First Friday – Jun: June 7, 2019
Listen First Friday – Jul: July 5, 2019
Listen First Friday – Aug: August 2, 2019
Listen First Friday – Sep: September 6, 2019
National Week of Conversation – Fall ‘19: October 4-12, 2019
Listen First Friday – Nov: November 1, 2019
Listen First Friday – Dec: December 6, 2019

You can learn more about the National Week of Conversation at www.nationalconversationproject.org/.

Apply by October 15th to Host Nevins Fellow (for free!)

NCDD Member Organization the McCourtney Institute for Democracy is again offering the incredible opportunity for D&D organizations to take advantage of their Nevins Democracy Leaders Program. The 2018-19 application is open now through Monday, October 15th, for organizations who want to host a bright, motivated, D&D-trained student at no-cost!

The Nevins Democracy Leaders Program was founded in 2014 after a gift from David Nevins, President and Co-Director of the Bridge Alliance, an NCDD Member Org. The program provides Penn State students with education and ­training in transpartisan leadership skills by exposing them to a variety of viewpoints and philosophies, as well as teaching critical thinking along with the tools of dialogue and deliberation.

But the flagship work of fostering the next generation of democracy leaders centers on the yearly initiative to place Nevins Program students in unique fellowship position with organizations focused on D&D, transpartisan dialogue, and civic renewal – that means organizations like yours! Stipends and living expenses are provided to the students through the program so that organizations can bring these bright, motivated students into their work for a summer at no cost. The McCourtney Institute provides $5,000 toward the cost of hosting a Nevins Fellow for a summer internship. Students come to their internship sites well prepared and ready to get to work.

Fellows have interned at the following organizations, just to name a few:

  • Everyday Democracy
  • Participatory Budgeting
  • National Institute for Civil Discourse

Much like students apply for the fellowship, organizations apply to host a fellow. Nonprofits, government organizations, or other groups committed to building and sustaining democracy that would like to host a fellow can apply here!

NCDD hosted a Confab Call last September with Chris Beem from the McCourtney Institute, who covered lots of the important details about the program. You can listen to the recording of that call by clicking here. You can also check out this blog post from a 2017 Nevins Fellow about their summer fellowship with the Jefferson Center, to get a better sense of the student’s experience.

It’s an amazing opportunity for everyone involved!

We can’t speak highly enough about the Nevins program’s students or about the value of this program’s contributions to the D&D field. We know that these young people will be great additions to organizations in our field.  We encourage you to apply today!

Donate to Scholarship Fund to Help Youth Attend NCDD2018

We recently announced the Scholarship Fund Drive, which is an effort to provide support to students, youth, and those who would otherwise be unable to attend the upcoming  2018 NCDD national conference. Our goal is to raise $10,000 to give financial assistance to the 30 applicants (and growing) and bring as many folks as possible to NCDD2018. Not only does contributing to the Fund help these individuals attend, but it’s mutually beneficial as it increases the opportunity for even more connections with fellow civic innovators and engagement enthusiasts, win-win!

Please help out if you can – no amount is too little, and every little bit helps! If you’d like to help support their attendance at NCDD 2018, please contribute to the scholarship fund here and enter “Scholarship Fund” in the “Donation Note” field! We encourage you to read the letter from Jacob Hess on behalf of the NCDD and our board.

Dear NCDD Members,

Thank you for those who have made a contribution to helping people in need attending our upcoming conference. It will make a real difference for these people – and we’re extremely grateful.

Since our last note, we’re writing to share about five additional students who have reached out for support. We’re hoping that we can gather some more funds to support them – and others who are relying on financial assistance to be able to attend. As you can see, we’ve encouraged them to find ways to pay for whatever they can – and we’re trying to see if we can make up the difference from our membership.

Please take a minute to read below the stories from the students we’re seeking sponsorships and scholarships for. If you are willing to sponsor one of the students (partially or in full), we’d like to introduce you to them in Denver personally. Unless you’d prefer not to, we’d also like to recognize all our scholarship sponsors in our conference brochure for helping to make possible more students being able to attend.

If you have resources to make a difference, even a little can go a long way for these students! You can donate to the scholarship fund on our donation page – make a note that it is for the “Scholarship Fund.” If you would like to support a student in particular, you can note that there as well.

Thank you for your consideration!

Courtney, and Jacob, on behalf of NCDD Staff & the NCDD Board

Five More Students We Hope to Support:

1. Manu is an Indian American in his 3rd year year as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley – who helped found BridgeUSA, the leading national organization working to facilitate constructive dialogue and deliberation on America’s college campuses. Manu is currently helping to spearhead an effort to expand BridgeUSA chapters to more college campuses (with currently 25 colleges represented). As he said, “I would like to attend the NCDD conference because I want to know more professionals within the space and learn about other efforts with similar missions to NCDD. As one of the leading national advocates for millennial involvement in politics and constructive dialogue, I believe that my perspective would be important towards further advancing NCDD’s mission and goal for inclusion. I have the privilege of representing thousands of students across the country due to my involvement with BridgeUSA, and I hope to elevate their voices at the NCDD conference.”

Manu can pay $50 to his registration, and is splitting a room to cut costs – but could use help with the rest of registration, rooming and with airfare.

2. Saya is an international Ph.D. student in Leadership Communication at Kansas State University from Kazakhstan in Central Asia – and working in a position responsible for creating a supportive environment for students to have meaningful discussions about leadership and inclusion. Saya is planning to obtain Dialogue, Deliberation, and Public Engagement Graduate Certificate at K-State during the upcoming academic year – and would like to “gather new ideas and insights on how to facilitate and maintain dialogues in small diverse communities for collaborative decision-making, to address conflicts, and support inclusion.”
Saya can pay $50 toward registration – but needs help with lodging, and is happy to help out volunteering at the conference.

3. Blase is a full-time student overseeing a dialogue group on campus in Tampa Florida called “Spartan Sustained Dialogue” – with a mission to bring people together to better understanding diverse experiences through dialogue. He says, “I want to expand my knowledge on dialogue and deliberation because it has become a pivotal cornerstone for my university. We need dialogue now more than ever and I want to help my campus out as much as possible through the usage of dialogue.” Blaise aims to obtain his Masters in Higher Education and “help whatever institution I attend adapt a more prominent use of dialogue.”

Blaise does not need help with lodging or airfare, and can pay $100 to the registration fee. He’s looking for $150 to cover the additional student expense – and is willing to volunteer while he is there.

4. Mai-Anh is another student at The University of Tampa – and coordinator for a Spartans Sustained Dialogue at The University of Tampa (a program is to promote open dialogue about a variety of issues including socio-economic status, religion, political affiliation and gender identity). Mai-Anh stated, “I would like to attend NCDD to expand my skills and knowledge about dialogue through a community of experts in this field.

Mai-Anh says “I may able to cover the costs of food and other expenses while in Denver. However, I may still struggle to cover flights and transportation costs.”

5. Emily is a doctoral student at the University of Colorado Boulder Communication who uses dialogue and deliberation in her research, which centers around communication interventions for social change. This semester she is the research fellow at CU’s Center for Communication and Democratic Engagement (CDE), where she helps support their mission of encouraging, facilitating, networking, and studying public participation practices. She’s hoping to attend NCDD to support her colleague, Lydia Reinig, who is presenting on the CDE’s Building Bridges program “as well as to continue to expand my skillset as a facilitator and scholar engaged in democratic processes.” She mentions that sessions like “Addressing Coercive Power in Dialogue and Deliberation,” “Designing Community Deliberation in College Courses,” and “Difficult Facilitation Experiences” pertain directly to my research and pedagogical interests. Emily also adds, “a hugely enriching part of attending NCDD would be the ability to exchange ideas with deliberators from across sectors and geographies!

Emily can pay $100 toward registration, but is hoping for help to cover the remaining fee. She’s fine on lodging and travel – with plans to bus in from Boulder. She added, “For grad students on a limited budget the scholarship makes conference attendance feasible! Thank you!”

The individuals above are just a few select stories of many who have reached out and have requested support. Can you help these students and others like them join us for NCDD 2018? Contribute on our donation page today!

Dispute Resolution Grant Opportunity, Applications Due 10/5

Our theme for NCDD2018 is about how to bring the D&D field into more widespread practice and a big part of that is funding, so folks can continue doing this work. Which is why we’re thrilled to find this grant opportunity to forward to the NCDD network from the American Arbitration Association-International Centre for Dispute Resolution Foundation. Applications are due Friday, October 5th, and there is an informative call for prospective applicants on Tuesday, September 18th. Several NCDD organizations have been awarded in the past, like Essential Partners, Consensus Building Institute, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law’s Divided Community Project – and we hope another NCDDer will be granted this year! You can read about it in the post below and find more information on AAA-ICDR Foundation’s site here.


Grant Opportunity –  American Arbitration Association-International Centre for Dispute Resolution Foundation

The AAA-ICDR Foundation is now accepting Initial Descriptions of Grant Requests for its fourth funding cycle. In its review the Foundation will be focusing on innovative and replicable proposals that provide:

  • ADR for vulnerable and underserved populations
  • ADR for community-focused dispute resolution.

The Foundation remains committed to funding high-quality innovative programs in furtherance of its broader mission dedicated to mediation/other non-binding ADR process and arbitration/other binding ADR processes, and beyond.

Interested organizations or individuals should submit an Initial Description of Grant Request no later than October 5, 2018. The Foundation is launching an online application this year. Only applicants submitted via the online system will be considered, please do not email a PDF of the application. See Additional Information below for links to training/instructions for using the new online system.

To Apply: Please click here to register and submit your Initial Description of Grant Request starting September 10, 2018.

The Foundation will be hosting a brief Q&A call on September 18th from 2:00 – 2:30 pm ET regarding the initial description process to answer any questions from potential grantees.

Call-in details are:
Toll-Free Number: 1-888-537-7715
International Number: 1-334-323-9858
Participant Passcode: 15083676 #

Additional Information: 

What We’ve Funded

Grants Awarded in 2018
The AAA-ICDR Foundation funded nineteen grants in its third funding cycle. The Foundation received over ninety Initial Descriptions of Grant Requests. The Foundation, after a careful review of all of the submissions and the presentation of full grant proposals, approved the following nineteen grants totaling over $500,000 in funding:

ABA Fund for Justice and Education: $10,000 to fund ABA’s annual Law Student Division Arbitration Competition.

Arizona State University Foundation: $59,789 to fund empirical study with goal of providing guidance about what needs to be accomplished during opening stages of mediation.

Association for Conflict Resolution Elder Justice Initiative on Eldercaring Coordination: $32,136 to fund training and expansion of elder caring coordination, a form of conflict resolution.

Association for the Organization and Promotion of the Vienna Mediation and Negotiation Competition: $5,000 to fund the Consensual Dispute Resolution Competition Vienna, which is an educational event in the field of international negotiation and mediation.

Community Mediation Services: $15,181 to fund facilitated dialogues by experienced Restorative Practitioner between youth, community and law enforcement in New Orleans Police Department 1st District.

Conflict Resolution Center of Baltimore County: $40,000 to fund training and direct ADR services in substance abuse centers in Baltimore County, MD.

Consensus Building Institute: $74,950 to fund pilot program in Piermont, NY to train local residents who will spearhead collaborative neighborhood dialogues on resilience planning against rising sea levels and increased flood risks.

CUNY Dispute Resolution Center at John Jay College: $30,000 to fund online access to conflict resolution resources for families worldwide dealing with mental illness.

Environmental Advocates of New York: $10,000 to fund Advocacy Crisis Training for environmental justice communities.

Essential Partners: $24,854 to fund trainings for teaching at-risk youth to lead and participate in more constructive dialogues about conflict and difference.

Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program: $24,921 to fund podcast series intended to help support teaching around dialogue on challenging topics including racial, ethnic and religious conflict.

Institute for Communication and Management of Conflicts – D.U.C.K.S:  $12,000 to fund teach the Prison of Peace (PoP) Peacemaker, Mediator and Train the Trainer Workshops in 2 men’s prisons in Greece.

International Mediation Institute: $25,000 to fund The Global Pound Conference North America Report.

Kennesaw State University, School of Conflict Management, Peacebuilding and Development:  $25,000  to fund creating working model in Athens, Greece to promote dialogue and reduce violence from racial, ethnic, and religious conflict.

King County Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution:  $29,850 to fund the Theatre of Mediation where mediators, actors and students present role-play mediations based on real cases involving themes of racial conflict to schools, community groups and in public forums.

Quabbin Mediation:  $20,000 to fund expansion of Training Active Bystanders (TAB) model throughout New England to diverse groups.

The Coalition on Racial and Ethnic Justice: $50,000 to fund convening of Dispute Resolution Hackathon events with community stakeholders for equitable, unbiased and humane enforcement of the law.

The Mediation Center: $20,500 to fund creation of standardized online mediation and community dialogue training modules that can be accessed without cost across the state of Tennessee.

The Ohio State University Foundation: $40,000 to fund development and conducting national “academy” targeted to strengthening local leadership capacity to use and collaborate with community mediation experts to plan for and address civil unrest.

Grants Awarded in 2017

The AAA-ICDR Foundation funded 11 grants in its second funding cycle. The Foundation received 92 Initial Descriptions of Grant Requests. Led by its Grants Committee, the Foundation, after a careful review of all of the submissions and the presentation of full grant proposals, approved the following 11 grants totaling approximately $410,000 in funding:

New York State Unified Court System Online Dispute Resolution Platform: $125,000 to fund multi-year pilot for court online dispute resolution (ODR) for small claims cases. 

Online Pro Bono Legal Advice: $25,000 to provide low-income citizens access to brief legal advice via an online interactive website, utilizing pro bono attorneys. ABA Fund for Justice and Education: ABA Free Legal Answers.

Conflict De-Escalation Training for Police Officers in Baltimore Schools: $25,040 to fund training for Baltimore City School Police and other school staff. University of Maryland Training in Conflict De-Escalation and Management. 

Training for Mediating Parties with Mental Health Issues: $24,998 to fund scalable mediation training for certified peer specialists to serve an underserved population of peers living with mental health issues. Research Foundation of CUNY on behalf of John Jay
College: The Dispute Resolution in Mental Health Initiative.

Columbia Law School Research of Twilight Issues in International Arbitration: $25,000 to fund analysis and development of best practices for twilight issues that are not clearly substantive or procedural with global presentations and publication.

Addressing Unconscious Bias in International Arbitration: $25,000 to fund educational series and mentorship to promote equality, diversity, access to justice, and leadership opportunities. ArbitralWomen Unconscious Bias Toolkit.

Cultivating Dialogue Between Dominant and Non-Dominant Communities in Minnesota: $45,000 to continue funding a transformative project to produce qualitative change in the type of engagement currently taking place between dominant and nondominant communities in Minnesota. Minnesota State Office for Collaboration and Dispute Resolution and Dispute Resolution Institute at Mitchell Hamline School of Law 2017 Talk with Purpose: Using Dispute Resolution to Engage Communities and Foster Relationships for Constructive Change. 

Best Uses of ADR to Respond to and Plan for Community Divides: $40,000 to fund a study that describes local ADR responses and planning initiatives to address controversies that divide communities and development of a Community Preparation Assessment Test tool for community use. Ohio State University Foundation on behalf of The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law’s Divided Community Project.  

The Curators of The University of Missouri: Reasoning in International Commercial Arbitration: Comparisons Across the Common Law-Civil Law Divide, the Domestic-International Divide, and the Judicial – Arbitral Divide:  $25,396 to fund research on arbitral reasoning in arbitral awards. 

Promoting Peace and Tolerance Through Leadership and ADR Training for Women in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine: $25,000 to support training scholarships for female community leaders from Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine for advanced mediation and leadership training, focused on promoting peace and interfaith/interethnic tolerance. Project Kesher: Training for Women in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine.

Promoting Peace Through Leadership and ADR Training for Women in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela: $25,500 for training scholarships to enable women community leaders to complete four days of advanced mediation and community leadership training. Mediators Beyond Borders International—Women in Peacebuilding.

Grants Awarded in 2016

In May 2016, the AAA-ICDR Foundation completed its inaugural funding cycle. The Foundation sent out a press release in October 2015 announcing its inaugural round of grant solicitations. In response, the Foundation received 75 Initial Descriptions of Grant Requests. After a careful review of all of the submissions and the presentation of full grant proposals,the Foundation, led by its Grants Committee, approved the following six grants totaling approximately $175,000 in funding:   

Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University School of Law—Straus Institute Annual Global Summit on Conflict Management, September 2016: $15,000 to supplement the investment of the Straus Institute in supporting the convening of working groups and planners in advance of a summit that will bring together individuals and organizations from all over the world to discuss common issues and concerns associated with complex dispute resolution processes. 

Prison Inmate Mediation Training: $75,000 to fund a 40-hour mediation workshop for 30-50 inmates. The workshop will be conducted in one cohort to be completed in 7-10 weeks, creating a new cadre of desperately needed inmate mediators at Valley State Prison and to fund train the trainer program at Valley State Prison, aimed at training new mediators as well as developing a cadre of inmate mediation trainers. Prison of Peace 2016 Valley State Prison Mediation Training Program. 

Cultivating Dialogue Between Dominant and Non-Dominant Communities in Minnesota: $24,998 for OCDR/DRI to conduct a transformative project to produce qualitative change in the type of engagement currently taking place between dominant and non-dominant communities in Minnesota. Minnesota State Office for Collaboration and Dispute Resolution Institute at Mitchell Hamline School of Law 2016 Talk with Purpose: Using Dispute Resolution to Engage Communities and Foster Relationships for Constructive Change.

Promoting Peace Through Leadership and ADR Training for Women in Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand: $25,500 for training scholarships required to enable women community leaders from Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand to complete four days of advanced mediation and community leadership training in Djakarta, Indonesia. Mediators Beyond Borders International—Women Peacebuilding: Enhancing Skills and Practice Training.  

Consensus Building Institute – Innovative ADR in Groundwater Sustainability to Manage California Drought: $25,000 for CBI to highlight and promote the use and the central role of ADR in connection with the implementation of California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. The creation of a multi-media report (including mini case studies, video segments, and blogs) that highlights the state’s impressive use of innovative dispute resolution and collaboration to address conflict and create new government structures will help CBI ensure the sustainability of local groundwater basins. This grant proposal is an opportunity to analyze and highlight the unique role that ADR is playing in this public policy issue that truly goes to the heart of water conflict in California. 

American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division – Annual Law Student Arbitration Competition: $10,000 to defray operating expenses, making the event more attractive and affordable for law schools participating in the next competition for the 2016-2017 school year, as law schools have increasingly reduced discretionary funds available. The competition format introduces students to arbitration and allows students to learn and practice skills relating to arbitration advocacy, such as crafting opening and closing statements, introducing evidence, creating demonstrative evidence, preparing witnesses, and developing case themes. This will be the 13 year of the competition.

About the Foundation
American Arbitration Association-International Centre for Dispute Resolution Foundation® (AAA-ICDR Foundation®) was established in 2015 with the purpose to fund critical projects, domestically and internationally. This effort fills important needs in the ADR community by expanding the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), improving the process, increasing access to ADR for those who cannot afford it, and sharing knowledge across different cultures.

The Foundation is a separate 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization from the AAA and is able to solicit donations and provide grants to fund a range of worthy causes that promote the Foundation’s wide-reaching mission.

The Foundation is not involved in any way in the oversight, administration or decision making of the AAA-ICDR cases or in the maintenance of the AAA-ICDR’s various rosters of arbitrators and mediators.

You can read the original version of this announcement of AAA-ICDR Foundation site at www.aaaicdrfoundation.org/grants.

The Modern Revival of Democracy in Municipalities

While democracy on the national level has gone through some serious upheaval in the last years, it’s inspiring to see many cities across the country come together and nurture localized democracy. NCDD member org, Public Agenda, shared this article on how cities are returning to being spaces of civic engagement for the community and some cities have even adopted deliberative democratic practices. We encourage you to read this piece that elevates the work of several NCDD member organizations in the post below (thanks for mentioning us too!) and find the original on Public Agenda’s site here.


Cities as Centers for Deliberative Democracy

Whether dealing with climate change, immigration or even trade, cities and metropolitan areas have for some time now taken initiatives and formed networks to address pressing social and economic issues.

The New Role for Cities

The late Benjamin Barber, a political theorist, wrote that the dysfunction of democracy that we see at the national, and even state level, has caused us to return to the origins of democracy in metropolitan areas because it is in cities that we can get things done on a manageable scale. Consequently, cities are taking on a role once played by states. Barber’s book, “If Mayors Ruled the World,” has turned out to be prescient, especially in light of our federal government’s withdrawal from the Paris Accord.

Whether dealing with climate change, immigration or even trade, cities and metropolitan areas have for some time now taken initiatives and formed networks to address pressing social and economic issues. In light of the prevailing headwinds democracy itself faces today it is not surprising to look to cities as the place for innovations as well. One example of a city leading innovation in democracy is Pittsburgh, where under the mayor, Bill Peduto, the city has adopted “deliberative democracy.”

Deliberative Democracy

Under the ideals of deliberative democracy, political decisions are the product of fair and reasonable discussions and debate among the public.

In one sense, the principles and practice of deliberative democracy are straightforward: Create conditions for inclusive, informed and well-structured conversations; ensure that the results of these deliberations are taken seriously by stakeholders; and hope that those participating in these conversations leave with a positive attitude and a heightened sense of civic engagement.

In today’s political climate, this may seem Pollyannaish, but it is important to see how this situation came to be. Here, proponents of deliberative democracy are in a good position: its principles can help analyze the problem and its practices can help address the problem.

Today’s Political Climate: How did we get here?

Since the 18th century, the concept of democracy came to embody the ideas of the Enlightenment (basic rights including freedom of speech and thought). These ideals were expressed in our written constitution as amendments to an essentially mechanistic set of procedures that comprise the way our government works. Recently, this model of a “thin, liberal constitution” was seen as sufficient to create democracies abroad. Granted that there was a lot more to be done on the ground (establishing a rule of law, courts, districting for representatives, etc.), but essentially there was a belief that a constitution was like an algorithm – turn it on and democracy happens.

But we need to add the virtues of citizenship to the freedoms granted by our constitution. Such civic virtues include political toleration, a willingness to listen to other points of view, and the ability to give public reasons for one’s own view. A willingness, if you will, to engage in open and informed conversations with those who are different from us and our circle of friends. A society that has failed to instill these civic virtues will easily collapse into warring tribes — as we have seen with the Sunni and Shia groups in the Middle East and the Red and Blue counties of America.

A second problem arises when democracies are seen as “‘vote centric”’ and the game of democracy becomes that of winning the most votes. Getting the most votes has evolved into a science these days and political consultants can use a whole array of strategies that involve framing, agenda setting, and manipulation to do whatever it takes to influence voters. Politics becomes a kind advertising campaign where winner takes all.

Deliberative Democracy Today

One could argue that a Madisonian interpretation of our Constitution envisions a deliberative democracy as its original intent. But contemporary interpretations of deliberative democracy go back to philosopher Jürgen Habermas’s view of democracy in the 1980s. For Habermas, those affected by a policy should participate in a rational conversation of that policy, allowing the force of the better argument to determine the outcome of the deliberative process.

Since the beginning of this Century, the field rapidly expanded as practitioners in mediation and group facilitation connected with theoreticians. As a result, deliberation is now aligned with a set of procedures designed to provide the basic requirements for informed, well-structured conversations linked to outcomes of some sort. Today, organizations like the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation have over 3,000 followers and many universities have programs in the field of deliberative democracy.

In essence, a deliberative democracy is not a society that ‘talks’ but a model of democracy that is instantiated in a set of explicit protocols that I call Deliberative Loops. One can adjust these protocols as the situation requires. Everyday Democracy, for instance, uses multiple learning circles spread out over a period of weeks.

Despite expansion through the integration of theory and practice, the link between this practice and the functioning of government was limited to ad hoc funding opportunities and both large and small scale projects. These activities were not insignificant and many were quite successful in fulfilling the desiderata of deliberative democracy. A great deal of empirical data was also compiled, leading to rigorous assessment studies of actual real-world protocol driven citizen deliberative forums. But the crucial link between the principles and practices of deliberative democracy and the everyday functioning of government had not been established.

Institutionalizing Deliberative Democracy at the Level of Local Government

In 2013 a Civic Health Index sponsored by the National Conference on Citizenship recommended that the City of Pittsburgh become a national center for deliberative democracy. Mayor Peduto endorsed this recommendation and in 2014 the city ran six “Community Deliberative Forums” to assist in the hiring of a new Police Chief. In light of the quality of the feedback and the degree to which the public expressed its appreciation of the process, the city began to develop its own in-house capacity to run these forums. The city chose to do so in areas that meet the regulatory requirements for Public Comment. To

date

there have been three City Budgets (2016, 2017 and 2018) using Community Deliberative Forums as well as special Community Deliberative Forums on topics like affordable housing. The City has even published its own handbook on Community Deliberative Forums and made it available for use by the National League of Cities and other organizations here and abroad (http://hss.cmu.edu/pdd/cities/).

This model of deliberative democracy is working in Pittsburgh and can work in other cities as well. But it is hard to see how it can work its way up to state legislatures and the federal government, given our political climate. Mickey Edwards’ book, “The Parties vs The People,” offers suggestions by which we can “‘move the furniture around”’ in Washington to help those bodies live up to their potential. The subtitle is telling: “How to Turn Democrats and Republicans into Americans.” But it’s a daunting task. Better to see how cities can do it. There’s even a handbook.

Robert Cavalier, PhD is Emeritus Teaching Professor in Carnegie Mellon’s Philosophy Department and Director of the Program for Deliberative Democracy, which won a 2008 Good Government Award from the Pittsburgh League of Women Voters. He is author of Democracy for Beginners (For Beginners LLC, 2009) and Editor of Approaching Deliberative Democracy: Theory and Practice (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2011).

You can read the original version of this article on Public Agenda’s site at www.publicagenda.org/blogs/cities-as-centers-for-deliberative-democracy.

CitizenFEST Coming to Dallas and Memphis This Fall

Mover and shaker org, Citizen University is holding two more of their exciting CitizenFEST events this coming fall and we encourage you to them check out! For folks in Texas, there will be one coming to you next week in Dallas on September 8th and for folks in Tennessee, you can catch the final one on October 13th in Memphis. CitizenFEST is a free and entertaining learning summit on strengthening civic power. You can read about the upcoming events, learn about what the May CitizenFEST was like, and check it all out on Citizen University’s site here.


Upcoming CitizenFESTs

Power + Character = Citizenship

CitizenFEST is a festive learning summit on how to exercise civic power, held in three communities across the country. Activists, artists, and everyday citizens come together for a unique blend of art, creativity, and the concrete skills of effective change-making. Our country needs more people to show up in more places to practice power in more ways. Join us!

How do you get your voice heard? How do you change a rigged system? How do you stir others out of apathy or connect with those with whom you disagree? We’ll tackle these questions and more in a day of skill-building workshops, artistic performances, and deep community conversations. Participants will leave with practical strategies of civic power to apply in their own work, new connections with community members, and new ideas and inspiration for the work at hand.

Our goal is to make registration as accessible and inclusive as possible, which is why it’s free to attend CitizenFEST!

September 8: Dallas, TX

in partnership with the Embrey Family Foundation and Ignite/Arts Dallas
Learn more and register here.

Agenda
8:30 Registration & Breakfast

9:00 MORNING PLENARY SESSION
Welcome & Opening Performance
Keynote: Power + Character | Eric Liu, Citizen University
Panel: “Creating the Dallas We Need” | Giovanni Valderas, Assistant Director at Kirk Hopper Fine Art and visual artist; Brianna Brown, Texas Organizing Project; Vicki Meek, independent curator and artist; moderated by Kayla DeMonte, Citizen University

11:00 MORNING BREAKOUT
Power + Character Workshop – Citizen University

12:30 LUNCH
Music by S’anah Ras and DJ RonAmber. Tabling from local organizations

1:45 AFTERNOON BREAKOUTS
Workshops:
-Dr. Njoki McElroy
-Dallas Community Innovation Lab
-Panel: Texas Freedom Network, Creating Our Future, Dallas Area Interfaith, JOLT, moderated by Mercedes Fulbright

3:00 CLOSING PLENARY
Yoga N Da Hood, Mutual Aid Circles, performance, closing remarks by Eric Liu

4:30-5:30 Happy Hour Reception, music from DJ RonAmber

———-

Gilley’s Dallas is ADA accessible. Please contact us if you would like further accommodations.
Parking will be free and available.

Learn more about Citizen University: citizenuniversity.us
Learn more about Embrey Family Foundation: embreyfdn.org
Learn more about Ignite/Arts Dallas: igniteartsdallas.com

———-

October 13: Memphis, TN

in partnership with The Fourth Bluff
Learn more and register here.

May 11-12: New Orleans, LA

in partnership with the Family Independence Initiative
Learn more about this past event here.

Join the #DemocracyChat on Twitter, Monday September 10

We shared a post last week from NCDD member org and sponsor, The Jefferson Center, about their recent partnership with The New York Times to attend the annual New York Times Athens Democracy Forum in September. As part of this, they are hosting a Twitter chat under the hashtag #DemocracyChat on Monday, September 10th at 11 am CT. This will be an opportunity to share your thoughts on the current state of democracy and how to strengthen it moving forward. You can read the announcement below and find the original on Jefferson Center’s site here.


Join Our #DemocracyChat!

Want to share your ideas about how democracy is working today, and the steps individuals, journalists, governments, and companies can take to strengthen it? Join our Twitter chat on Monday, September 10 at 11:00 am CT with the hashtag #DemocracyChat! Add to Google CalendarOutlook, or iCal here.

We’ll discuss topics including…

  • How technology is changing the way politics work
  • How democracies can preserve human rights, while populist movements are on the rise
  • The responsibility of companies to uphold democracy

In just a few weeks, our team is heading to Greece to participate in the New York Times Athens Democracy Forum, “Democracy in Danger: Solutions for a Changing World”. As an official Knowledge Partner, we’ve been working with the New York Times team to bring our Citizens Jury method of deliberation to Athens. We’re moderating a key breakout session, where senior journalists from the NYT will sit down with business leaders, policymakers, and other experts from around the world to discuss democratic solutions.

We know (sadly) that not everybody is able to join our conversation in Athens. We still want to know how you’re thinking about the state of modern democracy.

New to Twitter Chats? Twitter Chats happen when a group of Twitter users meet online at a specific time to discuss a specific topic with a designated hashtag. In our case, that hashtag is #DemocracyChat. As the host, the Jefferson Center (are you following us on Twitter? You should be!) will host questions to guide the discussion marked as Q1, Q2, Q3… and so on. You can answer these directly with A1, A2, and A3 at the beginning of your tweets.

To help keep you organized, you may want to use a website like TweetChat so you only see tweets related to the hashtag, which will make the chat easier to follow. Just type in #DemocracyChat to start, and TweetChat will integrate with your Twitter account.

We’re excited to hear your ideas! See you on Twitter soon.

You can find the original version on this announcement on The Jefferson Center’s site at www.jefferson-center.org/join-our-democracychat/.

Scholarship Drive Update: Nearly 25% of Our Goal Reached!

As we announced recently, NCDD is in the midst of an effort to raise $10,000 for our Scholarship Fund to bring as many students, youth, and people needing support as possible to the NCDD 2018 conference. Will you consider making a tax-deductible donation today to help us bring twenty-five individuals to NCDD who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend?

In just over one week we’ve raised nearly 25 percent of our goal, and that means we already can support conference registrations for 10 students! However, we have 23 applicants for scholarships currently, many of these students and youth, and we need your support to help us get them all to NCDD 2018! Please help out if you can – no amount is too little, and every little bit helps! If you’d like to help support their attendance at NCDD 2018, please contribute to the scholarship fund here and enter “Scholarship Fund” in the “Donation Note” field!

Your tax-deductible donation will go directly to helping us provide travel reimbursements, shared hotel rooms, and registration for scholarship hopefuls. Plus, anyone who donates $50 or more will have their contribution acknowledged in the printed conference guidebook!

We want to say a special “Thank You!” to our champions who have already donated a combined $2,433:

  • Carolyn Penny, University of California at Davis
  • Jim Hight, Independent writer and consultant
  • Michael Shannon, President, Northern NJ Community Foundation
  • Martha Cox, San Diego Deliberation Network, League of Women Voters of California
  • Jim S.
  • Gail Stone
  • Larry Schooler
  • Caroline Lee
  • Cassandra Hemphill
  • Nancy Kranich
  • John Steiner
  • Jeff Prudhomme
  • Marla Crockett
  • Rachel Eryn Kalish
  • Jacquelyn Pogue
  • Evelyn Thornton

Thank you for helping us make attending NCDD 2018 a reality!

Jefferson Center to Bring Citizens Jury to Athens Forum

The Jefferson Center – an NCDD member org and sponsor, just announced they have partnered with The New York Times to bring the Citizen Jury method to the annual New York Times Athens Democracy Forum this September in Greece. In this exciting announcement written by Annie Pottorff, the Forum will convene folks from around the world on the theme of ”Democracy in Danger: Solutions for a Changing World”, which will stem concrete action steps. There is a 20% registration discount available in the post below and many more ways to be involved in this upcoming event. You can read the announcement below and find the original on Jefferson Center’s site here.


We’re Bringing the Citizens Jury to Athens

We’re thrilled to announce our partnership with the New York Times for the annual New York Times Athens Democracy Forum! As an official Knowledge Partner, we’ve been collaborating with New York Times team to bring our Citizens Jury method of deliberation to Athens in September.

At this year’s conference, themed ”Democracy in Danger: Solutions for a Changing World,” senior journalists, international business leaders, and experts from around the world will collaborate to identify concrete actions governments, businesses, and citizens can take to preserve a free society.

We’ll moderate a key breakout session, where attendees will sit down with members of the NYT editorial board and columnists to explore big issues in modern democracy, and the media’s role in addressing those issues, including…

  • The rule of law
  • The changing role of technology in politics
  • Identity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Corporate responsibility in democracy

Participant ideas will form the foundation of the “Talk with the Times” interactive session on the second day of the conference, where New York Times journalists and editors will discuss the group’s recommendations and explore solutions for strengthening democracy. The ideas emerging from these discussions will also be used to shape the post-event summary report and coverage recapping the event.

Expert speakers include…

  • Ouided Bouchamaoui, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2015
  • Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General, Council of Europe
  • Kishore Mahbubani, Former President, UN Security Council
  • Annika Savill, Executive Head, UNDEF: The United Nations Democracy Fund
  • Ai Weiwei, Artist
  • Thulisile Nomkhosi Madonsela, Law Trust Chair in Social Justice, Stellenbosch University
  • Yashka Mounk, Author
  • Eva Kaili, Member of the European Parliament

Want to participate in the conversation? Join me in Athens!

Sign up today with discount code ADF18JC for a 20% discount exclusively for the Jefferson Center’s network.

If you can’t make it to Greece, don’t worry–there are a lot of other ways you can get involved. Watch for our upcoming series of blog posts exploring how our work and theme of the forum intersect, follow the #NYTADF hashtag, and join in our online discussions over the next few weeks.

We know that the ideas and actions of individuals around the world can improve how communities and governments of all sizes interact and function. We’re excited to hear your ideas and hope you will join us as we work on solutions together.

You can find the original version on this announcement on The Jefferson Center’s site at www.jefferson-center.org/citizens-jury-to-athens/.