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Developing Effective Leaders. Citizen Engagement through Public Deliberation. Experience with democracy . . . Government where everyone’s opinion counts. Citizen frustration . . . Intolerance . . . Ignorance . . . Apathy . . . Objectives.

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Developing Effective Leaders

Citizen Engagement through Public Deliberation

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Experience with democracy . . .

Government where everyone’s opinion counts.

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Citizen frustration . . .

Intolerance . . . Ignorance . . . Apathy . . .

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  • Increase knowledge of public deliberation and how it can engage people in public decision making.

  • Become actively involved in fostering public deliberation as a means of resolving challenging public problems.

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The Case of the Ugli Orange

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Addressing Public Issues

  • For democracy to function, citizens must accept responsibility in making public decisions.

  • Ways to get public input:

    • Voting

    • Polling

    • Debate

    • Letters to the editor

    • Civil disobedience

    • Demonstrations/protests

    • Town Hall Meetings

    • Boycotts

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Coming Together as a Community

Case Study - The Birmingham Story

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Public Deliberation

  • A way of reasoning and talking together:

    • Weighs alternative solutions to a public problem.

    • Considers consequences, costs, and benefits.

    • Challenges people to identify trade-offs.

    • Respects others’ perspectives and values.

  • Requires that people:

    • Interact peacefully.

    • Share knowledge and perspectives on issues.

    • Organize to act publicly on these issues.

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Public Deliberation (Cont.)

  • May reveal new possibilities for action.

  • The goal is to move people toward shared, stable, well-informed public judgments, based on what is valuable to them about important issues.

  • A means to find common ground for action and secure commitment to work together.

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Public Deliberative Forums

  • Center around a public problem (not a solution that a group is trying to advance)

  • Complex, no simple answers

  • There is time for deliberation; not an emergency

  • Deliberative; beyond debate or simple discussion

  • Diverse participants and perspectives

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Public Deliberative Forums (Cont.)

  • 15 – 20 participants sit in a circle

  • Use an Issue Book

  • Facilitated by a trained moderator and recorder

  • 2 to 2½ hours

    • Opening

    • Deliberation of approaches

    • Reflections/Closing

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Issue Books

  • A structured dialogue offering 3-4 approaches to a challenging public problem.

  • Over 50 topics are currently available from public deliberative organizations.

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Moderators and Recorders

  • Facilitate the deliberative forum by keeping discussion on track and recording the deliberations.

  • Trained at Public Policy Institutes

  • Currently over 200 trained moderators and recorders in Oklahoma.

  • Visit to find someone in your area.

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After the Forum

  • Nationally:

    • Moderators from multiple forums report outcomes of the deliberation and public deliberation organizations prepare national reports (3 or 4 per year)

  • In Oklahoma or locally:

    • Forum outcomes are compiled into a final state or local report, which is shared with the community and officeholders

    • The public takes action

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Studies of Public Deliberation

  • Deliberative Forum Participants:

    • Come from every part of society.

    • Reconsider their own opinions and judgments.

    • Approach issues more realistically considering costs, consequences and trade-offs associated with policy options.

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Studies of Public Deliberation (Cont.)

  • Deliberative Forum Participants:

    • Reconsider & develop greater understanding for the views of others.

    • Define their self interests more broadly.

    • Develop a greater sense of confidence in what they can do politically.

    • Become more interested in political and social issues.

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Recording, and Reporting

Deliberating as a Participant in a Forum

Developing a Habit of Public Deliberation

Awareness Competence

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Public Deliberation Organizations

  • Both NIF and Everyday Democracy produce issue books to guide community discussion. See their websites for complete lists.

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Oklahoma Partnership for Public Deliberation

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How to Get Involved

  • Go to or and review topics that are of interest to you and represent a problem in your community.

  • Visit OPPD’s website at

  • Conduct a Forum!

  • Become a Moderator and Recorder!

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Final Thoughts

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed that is the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Mead

“Few of us will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.”

Robert F. Kennedy