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NCDD-DISCUSSION  November 2010, Week 4

NCDD-DISCUSSION November 2010, Week 4

Subject:

ACE: Participants as activists for a culture of dialogue?

From:

Tom Atlee <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Tom Atlee <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 07:21:44 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (54 lines)

Dear NCDD and IAP2 friends,

I want us to expand our efforts to create a culture of dialogue and deliberation.  I believe this is particularly urgent in the US, because US public policy has a disproportional impact on the wellbeing of everyone on Earth and on the future of the planet.  So the sooner, the better...

I don't think our professional networks (like NCDD and IAP2) are sufficient to birth that conversation-based political culture.  We need help.  Lots of it.  I believe it is time to engage current and former participants in public dialogue and deliberation as active agents of change in this direction.

From all the evidence I see, the vast majority of people who participate in organized conversations on public affairs are profoundly affected by the experience.  Most of them discover a richer form of citizenship than they have ever known before and are quite excited about that.  They feel listened to and empowered.

That excitement and empowerment constitute an as-yet-untapped resources for birthing a culture of high quality, high impact dialogue and deliberation.  These citizens have sensed a form of citizenship they would love to see practiced more broadly and taken seriously in official decision-making.  They sense it could really help their communities and their country.

Their primary concern is that officials or the public will ignore the results of their good work -- and this is often the case.  Some also have concerns about the quality of the process they have just been through.  These concerns are assets:  BECAUSE they are diverse and concerned but quite ordinary citizens, they are both well motivated and well positioned to promote the use, quality and influence of organized public conversation.  (Who better to impartially monitor the quality of process and facilitation in official participatory democracy initiatives and institutions than a network of process-aware ordinary citizens?)

To have an impact, these folks just need to get organized.  That's where we come in.

I suggest that this source of transformational power could be brought into being relatively quickly by us -- members of NCDD and IAP2.  We convene and facilitate SO many public conversations in the U.S.  We have direct access to the participants in those conversations.  We could talk with some of our most enthusiastic recent citizen participants about forming an organization -- or perhaps both a non-profit and a lobbying organization -- of, by, and for those participants who want to catalyze a culture of strong citizen engagement in public affairs.

Below is one possible vision for such an organization.

Please share your thoughts, critiques, creative ideas, and desires to participate in realizing such a vision.  I think it could make all the difference in the world.

Coheartedly,
Tom Atlee
Co-Intelligence.org

==============

AMERICAN CITIZENS ENGAGED (ACE)

An interest group / network of current and former participants in organized public conversation and deliberation on public issues.

PURPOSE

To promote the growth of a dynamic culture of quality public dialogue and deliberation in the U.S.A. - as part of a broader engagement of citizens actively co-creating the long-term wellbeing of their communities, country and world.

FUNCTIONS

*  Social networking - promotes social activity, friendship and conversation among diverse public engagement participants
*  Advocacy - strategizes, educates, organizes and lobbies for broader use of citizen engagement that is effective, judicious, and empowered
*  Quality Assurance - reviews major citizen engagement initiatives and monitors citizen engagement institutions, publicizing its critical and appreciative findings
*  Fundraising - promotes to the philanthropic community the value of funding high quality citizen engagement and public participation
*  Research - promotes studies into factors that influence the use, quality, impact and appreciation of citizen engagement practices and institutions
*  Training - trains members in dialogic political theory, facilitation, PR and advocacy work, coalition-building and other skills to support the network's purpose
*  Projects - organizes and catalyzes efforts that further the network's purpose, usually in collaboration with other organizations and networks

ALLIES

*  ACE would liaise closely with NCDD, IAP2, League of Women Voters and other networks of public engagement professionals -- especially to recruit new ACE members, but also to evaluate public engagement proposals, processes, initiatives and institutions.
*  ACE would work with participation-oriented politicians, public officials, and media to promote understanding of and demand for citizen engagement in governance.
*  ACE would collaborate with academics and philanthropists to pursue projects of mutual interest.
*  ACE would work with groups promoting volunteerism, activism, stakeholder conversations, community renewal and resilience, and other public betterment organizations to promote broader, more effective and integrated citizen engagement in public affairs.
---

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