Canadian Policy Research Networks: Public Involvement Network
CPRN' Public Involvement Network (PIN) reflects the growing conviction in policy circles that effective public policy requires effective public engagement. Its mandate is to bring citizens' voices into public policy decisions and to foster greater civic literacy. Since 2002, PIN has undertaken a number of large scale deliberative citizens' dialogues and provided support and expertise on public involvement initiatives to various government, non-profit and private entities.
The Center for Nonviolent Communication
CNVC is an organization dedicated to fostering the "Nonviolent Communication" process. Also known as "compassionate communication," NVC emphasizes deep listening and encourages people to reframe how they express themselves and hear others by focusing on what they are observing, feeling, needing, and requesting. The website offers a number of articles on NVC, as well as a bookstore for ordering books, booklets and study guides.
CitizenShift and Parole Citoyenne
CitizenShift and Parole Citoyenne are the English and French versions of the National Film Board's new web magazine. The sites integrate written, audio and visual media, and offer an online platform that gives users a forum to talk about social issues and encourage social change. The public forums, Speak Up! And À vous la parole! allow users to share their experiences, post and ask questions on different topics, and voice their opinions on content on the site.
The Co-Intelligence Institute
The Co-Intelligence Institute promotes awareness of "co-intelligence" - a shared, integrated form of intelligence - and offers many tools and ideas to nurture it. Their website contains a wealth of articles, references, links and other helpful resources. CII also organizes and facilitates open space conferences, listening circles and other "co-intelligent dialogues".
The Compassionate Listening Project (TCLP)
TCLP is a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching skills for everyday peace-making in the family, community, workplace, and international arena. Compassionate Listening is a based on a simple yet profound formula for resolving conflict: adversaries giving the gift of listening. Among TCLP's programs are citizen delegations to Israel/Palestine, Jewish-German Compassionate Listening, and trainings and workshops for citizens and facilitators worldwide.
Conversation Cafés are 90-minute hosted conversations held in a public setting, such as a coffee shop or bookstore, where anyone is welcome to join. A simple format helps people feel at ease and gives everyone who wants to a chance to speak. Conversation Cafés do not focus on moving to action, but neither are they meant to replace action. They are a place for people to gather their thoughts, find their natural allies, discover their blind spots, and open their heart to the heart of "the other."
Global Dialogue Center
The Global Dialogue Center is a virtual gathering place for people throughout the world with a focus on leadership, professional and personal development. It is a place to think, question, explore new ideas, learn and connect with a purpose: helping us all become more effective leaders of our organizations, communities, schools, governments and families - and catalysts for the change we need to create a better world than we know today.
Let's Talk America
Let's Talk America is a national conversation of "we the people" that aspires to take American politics from diatribe to dialogue. It brings Americans of all political viewpoints together in cafes, bookstores, churches and living rooms for lively, open-hearted dialogue to consider questions essential to the future of democracy. The website lists LTA conversations in all parts of the U.S. (they hope to expand their borders eventually) and provides downloadable resources for hosts and convenors. Telephone host training sessions are also provided at regular intervals.
Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue
Simon Fraser University's Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue is a conference centre devoted to fostering understanding and engendering positive action through dialogue. Since its opening in September 2000, the Centre has been a catalyst for dialogue on issues ranging from restorative justice to real estate, health care to transit, and international law to art. The Centre is also a home for research, housing undergraduate courses, graduate internships, professional development and programs of research into the application of dialogue and of lessons learned from experience.
National Coalition on Dialogue and Deliberation
NCDD is a network of nearly 300 organizations whose members are committed to dialogue as a process for increasing political awareness, social capital and civic engagement, fostering collaboration, and building understanding and cohesion in the dialogue community. Their website is a treasure trove of resources, containing a wealth of tools, techniques, commentaries on the nature of dialogue and deliberation, guides, quotations, and links to still other sites and resources.
National Issues Forums
NIF is a U.S. network of locally sponsored public forums that bring people together to talk about public issues. It is rooted in the simple notion that people need to come together to deliberate about common problems - indeed, that democracy requires an ongoing deliberative public dialogue. The forums, which focus on issues of national concern, provide a way for people of diverse views and experiences to seek a shared understanding of the problem and to search for common ground for action. NIF's excellent discussion guides can be downloaded from their website.
Open Space Institute (U.S.)
Open Space Technology enables people to create inspired meetings and events in which participants create and manage their own agenda of parallel working sessions around a central theme of strategic importance. The Open Space Institute is an inclusive learning community that provides access to resources on Open Space Technology and connects individuals and groups to inform, inspire, mentor and sustain each other in opening and holding space.
Public Agenda researches American public opinion and produces educational materials that citizens can use to make thoughtful decisions about policy issues. Public Agenda also works with communities, corporations, school districts and other organizations to conduct public engagement discussions that produce civil, productive dialogue on tough issues. Their Issue Guides provide a wealth of facts, figures, different perspectives and analysis of public attitudes, and may be accessed from Public Agenda's website.
Public Conversations Project
PCP promotes constructive conversations and relationships among people with differing values, world views and perspectives. In addition to their grassroots dialogue work, PCP provides workshops on such topics as the power of dialogue, inquiry as intervention, and the architecture of dialogue. Their website is full of great tools, stories and downloadable resources for organizing and facilitating dialogues.
Social Innovation Conversations is a collaborative online platform for cross-sectoral learning for social change. Its mission is to bring valuable knowledge about social challenges, issues and solutions to people who otherwise wouldn't have access to it, by recording the spoken words of thought leaders and sharing them with listeners through podcasts. The podcasts are free, and cover topics ranging from education to social entrepreneurship to international development.
University of the Streets Café
The University of the Streets Café initiative in Montreal creates gathering places for community members to pursue lifelong learning and engagement in the form of collective discussions. USC participants gather in cafés and other public places to share ideas and wisdom about issues that matter, in a spirit of camaraderie and respect. The cafés are open to all people and all perspectives, and the USC hopes that these conversations will become an integral part of the social fabric.
The World Café
The World Café fosters collaborative dialogue by creating focused networks of conversation around "questions that matter" in a hospitable and welcoming space. Café conversations are designed on the assumption that people already have within them the wisdom and creativity to confront even the most difficult challenges. They are enable people to think together, create shared meaning, strengthen community and ignite innovation. A downloadable guide for World Café hosts is available on The World Café's website, along with other resources and links to like-minded organizations.