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Wed 13

April 13, 2022 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm EDT

Pieces of the Puzzle: Exploring the Intersections

Mediators Beyond Borders International

Location: Online

Join Lauren Higgins and Rahmin Sarabi of Democracy Together for a dynamic conversation filled with case stories and a lively discussion with the MBBI community  on the intersections of deliberative democracy, conflict transformation, participatory democracy, and community organizing. Can we find paths forward in ways that unite us enough to meet the scale of our challenges? This 90-minute conversation event will be on April 13th, 2022, at 2:00 pm EDT (UTC -4). Please use the Time Zone Converter to determine when this engaging conversation will be in your time zone.

We are in a time of great change as socio-political and ecological pressures escalate alongside the perennial challenges of housing, health, education, climate, and economy. All the while, our democracy faces increasing challenges with polarization and trust between public and government near historic lows.

What if, on our trickiest challenges, we could as a community create common ground policy proposals and recommendations with 70% or greater approval? What if, beyond the policies, community-driven visions could be generated that guided action across unlikely allies in the business sector, non-profits, gov’t, and everyday citizens? And what if, through the process, trust was restored and built across the different parts of our community?

Civic Assemblies are a promising innovation in deliberative democracy that have been applied successfully on extremely divisive issues (such as abortion in Ireland), yet are little known in the US.

Civic Assemblies (often called Citizens’ Assemblies or Panels) are a demonstrated method with hundreds of examples around the world where they’ve helped communities make sense of divisive, intractable issues and find shared paths forward. Though relatively under the radar in the US, they’ve been applied to complex topics like immigration, same-sex marriage, and abortion, generating breakthroughs at the policy and relational level. They are increasingly seen as a critical part of a healthy, resilient 21st century democracy that can handle complex, divisive challenges, with calls from organizations such as the OECD to further embed and institutionalize their role in democracies around the world. 

While  inspiring, many of these Civic Assemblies have not had transformative orientations to conflict.   Our questions? How might the gifts of the mediation community connect  with these emerging capacities for civic scale conversations and decision making that are happening around the world with deliberation, public participation,  and even digital democracy? How can we take the transformative capacities of peace building and conflict resolution and bring them into places of civic  judgment and decision making/ policy making?