The DDC is embarking on a new set of activities, each of which is aligned with one of four key priorities:
- Helping all kinds of public leaders find the examples and resources they need to make informed decisions about how to engage citizens.
For example, we are developing the Democracy Helpline, an unprecedented international resource that will be available by phone or on the Internet. Using a set of diagnostic questions, the Helpline will offer a set of publications, organizations, and program examples that match their needs and interests of the user. The backbone of the Helpline will be a database of deliberation-related publications, organizations, and program examples gathered from all over the world. (The DDC's Online workgroup has already assembled a pilot version of this database, which currently includes 783 selected entries.)
- Developing the right language, or frame, that describes how citizens and governments are reshaping democracy -- and articulating that shared vision in a more powerful way.
In order to "Reframe the Democracy Discussion," the DDC is committed to developing a new set of terms that will appeal to the different sets of people -- public officials, activists, educators, organizers, academics, practitioners -- who have been pioneering deliberative democracy. The DDC and its partners will convene a set of key leaders, representing these various groups, for a "message meeting" to help develop this compelling, unifying kind of language. A communications consultant will help the group refine and test their messages.
- Advancing and deepening our research and shared learning, across professional, ideological, and national boundaries.
The DDC will hold one-day learning exchanges as part of the annual conferences of national and international associations that serve public leaders. These events will allow public officials, neighborhood organizers, school administrators, and other kinds of leaders to share what they have learned about involving citizens in deliberation, decision-making, and problem-solving. Deliberation researchers and practitioners will also be on hand to identify common themes, make participants aware of new resources, share their own lessons learned.
- Building a permanent infrastructure for deliberative democracy, including a more supportive legal and policy framework, at the local, state, and federal levels.
There are a number of projects moving forward under this heading:
- A Public Administration Coalition of professors and administrators who are trying to advance the teaching of democratic governance in their institutions.
- Online systems for tracking and supporting public engagement.
- A white paper on the "Legal Framework for Deliberative Democracy."
- A series of 'how-to' resources for local, state, and national governments.
You can read the latest version of DDC's Strategic Plan.