We the People National Issues Forum
Special Program Feature of the American Democracy Project
By Cecilia M. Orphan, American Democracy Project, and John Dedrick, Kettering Foundation
I am pleased to announce that the Kettering Foundation will be hosting a National Issues Forums (NIF) at the ADP National Meeting in June. During the NIF, selected participants will have the opportunity to explore “We the People,” (WtheP) the new phase of the Civic Agency initiative. In We the People, we will experiment with ways universities might encourage their students and faculty members to partner with elected officials to solve public problems.
We consider NIF to be a signature practice in civic engagement because it encourages deliberation about pressing current events. These discussions often lead to coordinated public action that attempts to address some public problem. I am delighted that we are able to incorporate the NIF model into the ADP National Meeting and I hope many campuses in the ADP network will host their own National Issues Forums after participating in the one in June.
The Forum will take place during the ADP National Meeting on Friday, June 3, 1:00-3:30 p.m., and Saturday, June 4, 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Space is limited for the National Issues Forum. If you would like to participate, please email Cecilia M. Orphan.
This two-part workshop will examine deliberation over shared concerns as integral to the public work of strengthening democracy. Participants will experience a deliberative forum using National Issues Forums materials, learn skills relevant to convening and participating in deliberative forums, and participate in research leading to a new National Issues Forums guide on democracy that is being developed in collaboration with We the People for use on ADP campuses and educational and community groups around the country. Experienced forum moderators will lead these highly interactive sessions.
Part I will begin with a deliberative forum using a current NIF guide on What Should Go on the Internet: Privacy, Freedom and Security. Following the forum participants will explore key concepts such as: options, trade-offs, consequences, and choice work; and the workshop will raise questions related to convening and leading forums and how deliberative decision making can lead to action.
Part II introduces naming and framing issues for public deliberation. The session will begin by “deconstructing” the issue guide used in yesterday’s forum to highlight critical issue framing principles. Participants will then identify their concerns about the role of citizens in democracy—We the People—and they will develop a tentative framing for a new National Issues Forums guide.
Part II continues over lunch (provided for registered participants) with a discussion about identifying opportunities to organize forums on ADP campuses.
Cristina Alfaro, Professor, School of Education, San Diego State University and NIFI Board Member
John Dedrick, Vice President and Program Director, Kettering Foundation
Elizabeth Gish, Doctoral Candidate, Harvard School of Divinity
Scott London, Independent radio producer, Journalist, and Forum Convener
Bill Muse, President, National Issues Forums Institute
Gary Paul, Professor, Department of History and Political Science, Florida A&M and NIFI Board Member
National Issues Forums
National Issues Forums is a nonpartisan, nationwide network of education, civic, and faith-based groups that convene deliberative forums over issues of concern to local communities and the nation. Forums have addressed issues ranging from The US Role in the World, to Internet Safety, to Immigration in America, and Democracy’s Challenge. All forums are locally organized and sponsored. The Charles F. Kettering Foundation, a nonprofit research foundation, provides research for NIF issue guides.
The Forum will take place on Friday, June 3, 1:00-3:30 p.m., and Saturday, June 4, 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Space is limited for the National Issues Forum. If you would like to participate, please email Cecilia M. Orphan.