The National Civic League, an NCDD member organization, released the National Civic Review (NCR) Summer 2021 edition and NCDD members receive a digital copy of NCR for free! (Find the access code below.). This esteemed quarterly journal offers insights and examples of civic engagement and deliberative governance from around the country. Thanks to Rebecca Trout, NCL’s Program Director for All-America City Award & Communications, for sharing this announcement with the NCDD network!
Friendly reminder that the League is always seeking articles for NCR on community-based examples of civic engagement, public deliberation, co-production, and democratic innovation – more info here.
First of all, thank you to everyone in this community for sticking with the work in a tough year.
NCDD’s staff and board have been talking a lot over the last nine months of the pandemic about what this year has shown us about this network’s necessity in the world, and where we can most support you all. It’s been encouraging to see that much of what we’ve always offered – news and resources, and opportunities to connect and collaborate – are still highly valued and needed, especially when times are tough.
There are also some areas we can work on – expanding our network, for one, in an inclusive way to welcome everyone who is committed to helping their communities have better conversations. It doesn’t matter whether you are a professional doing this work as your career, or a volunteer doing this to better your own community – all are welcome at NCDD.
In part one of We Are All Catalysts, the focus was on examples of groups in dialogue in deliberation who showcase how our powerful inner sparks can be used to transform conversations and communities. In part two, we want to follow up and have all of you help guide our continued conversations!
“It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much.” ~ Yogi Berra
We live in a world of noise. Many of us lament at the current environment of ideological polarization that hinders respectful and productive conversation. We have the power to break through this noise and create spaces for listening and thoughtful dialogue. It can seem daunting in the current ways of the world, but the tools are accessible and the need critical.
“After all, the ordinary hero hiding in each of us is often the most powerful catalyst for change.” ~ Tate Taylor
We all have a spark within and we choose every day how we will or will not use our spark. In our NCDD community, we spark conversations–dialogues that change hearts and minds and steadily change the world. Our sparks can be small or big, but we must work intentionally to ensure that the sparks catch fire. What do I mean by this? I mean that it is up to us, as those working firsthand in the creations of spaces for dialogue and deliberation, that we do not work in isolation. Like the catalysts in science, we must interact with others to create the chemistry worth having in our world.
Looking back, 2016 was an important year for NCDD and the dialogue & deliberation community. NCDD and the field saw a lot of important things happen and transitions take place, and as we look forward to the work ahead, we also wanted to look back at what we’ve accomplished and what’s changed.
Of course, the biggest effort on NCDD’s part was organizing the 2016 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation on “Bridging Our Divides,” a timely focus on the important work of bringing people together across differences of politics, race, socioeconomic status, and more. We had 350 public engagement practitioners, journalists, academics, public officials, funders, and students converge for this three-day gathering focused on sharing stories, exploring collaborations, and talking about what’s next for the dialogue and deliberation community following the divisive election season. You can view the schedule and speakers, watch panels, and more in the Events section of our site.