180 practitioners of dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement gathered for the NCDD conference in Portland Oregon in November 13th. The organizers did a wonderful job of organizing the conference and having the opportunity to gather with so many people dedicated to furthering dialogue and public participation in our political process was fantastic. To start off the conference a World Cafe was convened in Friday night which was open to the public. I can in early to participate as there was no way that I would miss a World Cafe session. The conversation was excellent even though the turnout was not as big as I had hoped. The harvest from that Cafe was used to frame some of the questions posted for the next day.
The next day, the day of the conference, turned out to be a great gathering and sharing of ideas and practices. We had excellent speakers in the morning outlining creative public engagement practices and then an Open Space session in the afternoon where participants self-organized to talk about topics of interest. For both the World Cafe on Friday and for the speakers on Saturday, graphic recorders recorded the conversations which can be seen on the NCDD conference site. To see the details of the session visit the agenda for the conference.
Outside of having the opportunity to participate in such a wonderful event with others interested in the field of dialogue, deliberation and public engagement, it was nice to be able to visit with all of these folks that I had never met. As I live 3 hours away from Portland, only those few from Bend who ventured over were familiar to me. The conversations that we engaged in were excellent and the co-generation of new ideas and sharing of ideas made the trip worth it. I will certainly go next year particularly if regional events are held again. In closing I would highly recommend that if interested in the field that you join NCDD and start helping this community do the excellent work being done to create conversations that matter.
I would also recommend that to get an in depth education in the field, join the DDPE certification program at Fielding Graduate University. The program is embedded within the Fielding HOD doctoral program that I am participating in full time or the master program in HOD but if you have a bachelors degree you can join a cohort and gain mastery in this fantastic field. And if interested in The World Cafe visit the World Cafe site or the World Cafe community and join in the conversation.