Archive for the ‘Workshops and Seminars’ Category

extreme democracy

“Democracy is a beautiful idea – government by and for the people. Democracy promises us the freedom to exercise out highest capacities while it protects us from our worst tendencies. In democracy as it ought to be, all adults are free to chime in, to join the conversation on how they should arrange their life together. And no one is left free to enjoy the unchecked power that leads to arrogance and abuse.

Like many beautiful ideas, however, democracy travels through our minds shadowed by its doubles – bad ideas that are close enough to easily mistaken for the real thing. Democracy has many doubles, but the most seductive is majority rule, and this is not democracy. It is merely government by and for the majority.”

So begins the book, First Democracy: the Challenge of an Ancient Idea written by Paul Woodruff (Oxford University Press, 2005 ) and summarized by Paul Schumann, founder of the Central Texas World Future Society on the Extreme Democracy Blog.

Woodruff concludes the book with an afterword entitled Are Americans Ready for Democracy? wherein he takes each of the principles and asks questions about the present state of democracy in America. He ends the book with, “Are we ready to shake off the idea that we are already a perfect exemplar of democracy? Are we ready to put the goals of democracy foremost in our political minds, as many Athenians did? Are we ready to admit our mistakes and learn from them, as they did? Most important, are we ready to keep the great dream alive, the dream of a government of the people, by the people and for the people?”

These questions provide the framework for our Extreme Democracy discussions launching on June 18 at 7:00 p.m. Central Time in the Texas Forums OPAL Room.

For more information about participating in this exciting series, check out our Extreme Democracy Discussion Guide.

Read Paul Schumann’s full summary of First Democracy: the Challenge of an Ancient Idea.

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Dr. Betty Sue Flowers, LBJ Library Director and co-founder of Texas Forums will be speaking to the Central Texas World Future Society on May 15, 2007. This meeting will be a fifth anniversary celebration of the Centex WFS.

The celebration will be held at the meeting room of Marie Callender’s, 9503 Research Blvd. # 400., Austin, TX 78759 (512.349.7151) at 6:00 p.m.
Attendance fee is $20 per person, for members, $25 for nonmembers, cash or checks only. (Make checks payable to CenTexWFS.) The fee includes a meal but is charged for attendance. The meeting room is at the back of the restaurant on the right.

Seating will be limited so please reserve your place here.

Betty Sue Flowers, Ph.D., became Director of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum in 2002. Before that time, she was the Joan Negley Kelleher Centennial Professor in the English Department at the University of Texas, as well as a Piper Professor and a member of the University’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers. During her years at the University of Texas, she also served as Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Director of the Plan II Honors Program.
Flowers is a native Texan with degrees from the University of Texas and the University of London. Her scholarly publications include a book entitled Browning and the Modern Tradition and articles on Donald Barthelme, Adrienne Rich, Christina Rossetti, poetry therapy, writing and other subjects. Her annotated edition of Christina Rossetti’s complete poems was published in 2001 in the Penguin Classics Series. She also edited Daughters and Fathers with Lynda Boose, as well as four books in collaboration with Bill Moyers: Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth; A World of Ideas; Healing and the Mind; and Genesis. She has published three books of poetry–Four Shields of Power (with three other poets), Extending the Shade and Blue Lioness (2002).

Flowers was consultant for the nationally televised series, “The Power of Myth” as well as a host for the radio series “The Next 200 Years”. Her 10-part television series, “Conversation with Betty Sue Flowers,” was aired on the Austin PBS affiliate, KLRU. Flowers has served as a moderator for executive seminars at the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies, as a consultant for NASA, as a member of the Envisioning Network for General Motors, as a member of the vision team for the National Endowment for the Humanities, and as a Visiting Advisor to the Secretary of the Navy. In 1992, and again in 1995, 1998 and 2001, she worked with an international team to write Global Scenarios for Shell International in London—stories about the future of the world for the next 30 years. She has edited a book in conjunction with Joseph Jaworski on the inner dimensions of leadership, Synchronicity, and co-authored another with Jaworski, Peter Senge and Otto Scharmer on Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future. Flowers was the editor of global scenarios for sustainable development and scenarios for the future of biotechnology, both sponsored by the World Business Council in Geneva.
Honors and Fellowships (selected)

  • Distinguished Alumnus, University of Texas, 2001
  • Jungian Fellow of the Salado Institute for the Humanities
  • Visiting Advisor, Secretary of the Navy, 1999
  • Lifetime Honorary Member, Jung Society of Austin, 1998
  • Outstanding Alumna, Waco Independent School District, 1998
  • Liz Carpenter Lifetime Achievement Award, Women in Communication, 1998
  • Dean Helen LeBaron Hilton Chair, College of Family and Consumer Sciences, Iowa State University, 1998
  • Poet-in-Residence for the Muse Machine Summer Workshop, Dayton, Ohio, August 11-14, 1997
  • 1997 Piper Professor (one of ten to receive this award in Texas)
  • Academy of Distinguished Teachers
  • Woman Scholar of the Year, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1996
  • Fellow, Center for International Business Education and Research, Summer, 1995
  • “Lone Star Great,” Texas Department of Commerce, 1992
  • Honorary Life Member, Board of Trustees, Salado Institute for the Humanities
  • Grant: Faculty Research Assignment, University Research Institute, 1992
  • Top Hand Award, U.T. Exes, 1990
  • Communicator of the Year–Austin Toastmasters, 1990
  • Runner-up, Woman of the Year, (Woman 2000), 1989
  • Outstanding Young Texas Ex, 1987
  • Margaret C. Berry Outstanding Contribution to Student Life Award, 1987
  • Honorary Membership, Golden Key Honor Society, 1987
  • Cranfill Teaching Fellowship, 1986-87
  • Special Recognition, Friars Centennial Teaching Fellowship, 1986
  • Leadership Texas, 1985
  • Grant: Faculty Research Assignment, University Research Institute, 1983
  • Holloway Teaching Award, 1983
  • Amoco Teaching Excellence Award, 1979
  • Regional Finalist, White House Fellowships, 1978
  • Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship, Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies, 1976

For more information about the Central Texas Chapter of the World Future Society, visit www.CenTexWFS.org

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Want to go back to school without the pressure and the expense?

Bill Ball, an NIF colleague at the College of New Jersey is inviting the public to participate in his seminar on Deliberative Democracy. This is an extraordinary opportunity to connect with students and to benefit from a structured learning environment. Bill is using the Deliberative Democracy Handbook as his course text. I co-authored a chapter on National Issues Forums for this book. AND a picture from Texas Forums is featured on the book’s web site.

Below is an e-mail from Bill.


Seminar on Deliberative Democracy — Invitation for Guest Members

I am teaching an undergraduate seminar on deliberative democracy this semester. We will be studying case studies of deliberative forums, critical evaluation research on their effectiveness, and conducting a NIF-style public policy institute as part of the course. Students in the course will be organizing and running their own issues forums and will conduct original research on deliberative democracy implementations.

I would like to invite members of the deliberation community to join the course as guests. The readings include chapters from The Deliberative Democracy Handbook and a large number of research articles that are available online, including some I have written. I would be happy to moderate a “shadow class” of DDnet folks via my college’s course software if enough people are interested in joining in.

You can download the syllabus at http://publicleaders.tcnj.edu/pol390_syllabus_s07.pdf
and take a look at it. If you would like to participate in online discussions of some of the readings, please send me your name and a brief statement of your background/interests for posting to the class.


Dr. William J. Ball
Political Science
The College of New Jersey

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Jon Lebkowsky, editor of Extreme Democracy will be the featured speaker at The Central Texas Chapter of the World Future Society on Tuesday, December 5, 2006. It will be held at the meeting room of Marie Callender’s, 9503 Research Blvd. #400., Austin, TX 78759 (512.349.7151) at 6:00 p.m.

There are thousands of people thinking about and working on social software and they’re all very smart, so every day brings new thoughts and new developments. Jon Lebkowsky is a leading thinker in how we can use these tools and technologies to support democracy.

Jon is an authority on, and evangelist for, computer-mediated communications, social software, virtual communities, community technology, and online social networks – the VERY tools that can provide leverage to take groups like Texas Forums to scale!

He has served variously as a CEO, technology director, project manager, systems analyst, and online community developer. His current consulting practice focuses on web usability and strategy and effective use of online social technologies. He is knowledgeable of Internet policy and trends, and is a strong proponent of universal broadband access to computer networks.

His blog is at www.weblogsky.com, and he contributes to other blogs at www.worldchanging.com, www.smartmobs.com, and www.austin.metblogs.com.

A longtime proponent of online tools for civic engagement, he co-edited Extreme Democracy, a book on technology, democracy, and advocacy, and served on the organizing committee for O’Reilly’s Digital Democracy Teach-In.

There is a $20 fee that includes a three-course meal and registration is required. (click here!) I will be out of town, but strongly encourage you to attend and to buy and read Jon’s book. I hope to organize a discussion group sometime in January to explore how we can experiment with Jon’s ideas in our own work.

For more information about this event, go to: http://upcoming.org/event/128164/

For more information about the Central Texas Chapter of the World Future Society, visit www.CenTexWFS.org.
For more information about this event…

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[cross posted on The Deliberative Democracy Blog ]

You may have seen invitations from me to attend virtual workshops on libraries (and other public institutions) and Civic Engagement using the Online Programming for All Libraries (OPAL) environment. These are now archived and ready to be replayed. If you have ideas for future workshops or panel presentations that we can offer to members of the dialogue and deliberation community, or if you would like to conduct a workshop in this environment, please leave a comment here and make sure to include your e-mail.

Our most recent workshop was a discussion with John Doble of Doble Research Associates about the results of the National Issues Forums on Democracy’s Challenge: Reclaiming the Public’s Role.


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