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Posts Tagged ‘Presidential Libraries’

On November 4, twenty-five students, faculty, and administrators at St. Edward’s University (SEU) participated in a deliberative forum on Democracy’s Challenge: Reclaiming the Public’s Role. Organized by the SEU New College, the university’s program for working adults, the goal of the forum was to explore different ways that students can learn and practice their roles as citizens.

During the two and a half hour forum, participants explored the role of higher education in helping students to recognize their own unique contribution to our democracy and discussed ways to inspire them to become engaged citizens. Using a discussion guide prepared by the National Issues Forums Institute, participants considered three perspectives of what it would take to reclaim the public’s role in democracy.

Even though participants agreed the the university needs to provide students with opportunities for citizen engagement, the group recognized various barriers within educational institutions and within society that can prevent people from participating fully.

The lack of trust in government, the disconnect people feel with the process, the inability to talk about tough issues without polarizing around the differences, the loss of our public spaces used for public deliberation – all of these items were explored with a spirit of curiosity and respect. One of the most compelling ideas to come out of the discussion was an awareness that civic engagement in the future might look very different than what it has looked like in the past.

While it wasn’t immediately clear how dialogue and deliberation could be used more fully on campus, there seemed to be agreement that the skills would be important for SEU graduates, and that students could use these skills out in the community as they talk about issues that matter to them. New College is also considering whether or not to use this process in their required mission courses that every student takes upon entering New College. The university has already scheduled a follow up to the forum, which will be a two day Moderator Training on Jan. 8-9 on the St. Edward’s campus.

Following the event, Vicki Totten, who helped organize the event for New College faculty and students, said

I am excited about the potential of using dialogue and deliberation to help students talk about difficult issues in the classroom.

She added that deliberation might be an important foundation for any student, since in order to work on difficult issues, it is important to be able to know how to move a discussion from a debate toward true dialogue.

Another important aspect of the deliberative model is that it emphasizes the need to understand the important role that values play in forming our perspectives, an important hallmark of a St. Edward’s education.

This forum, a project of the LBJ Presidential Library was one of dozens of forums being held by all twelve presidential libraries across the country, and made possible with funding from the National Archives and Records Administration and the National Issues Forums.

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On October 7, Texas Forums hosted a forum, Coping with the Cost of Health Care using the National Issues Forums discussion guide in partnership with the Center for Public Policy Priorities, Christian Life Commission, Texas Impact , and Texas Health Institute. Students in the Fielding Graduate University Certification in Dialogue, Deliberation and Community Engagement served as our moderators. As a result of our forum, we have been invited to work with the Critical Condition collaborative that is working to raise awareness of the growing health care crisis documented in Critical Condition by filmmaker Roger Weisberg.

KLRU will be hosting a panel presentation on November 17 from 7:30 – 9:00 that will kick off ongoing community conversations. Details below.

Monday, November 17, 2008

7:30-9 p.m. (doors open at 7)
KLRU-TV, corner of Guadalupe St. and Dean Keeton
(RSVP to rsvp@sdchf.org by Tuesday, November 11)

Texas has the highest rate of people without health insurance in the country. The Census Bureau shows that 1 in 4 Texans are uninsured, with 265,859 of those people living in Central Texas. Those numbers do not include Texans who are underinsured with inadequate coverage.

The issue is critical and urgent. Sixteen Central Texas organizations have joined forces in the collaboration Critical Condition: Central Texas to create and sustain a strategic planning and action-oriented community conversation on what health care we have, what health care we need, and what it will take to achieve it.

On Monday, November 17th, this conversation will begin with a 90-minute panel at KLRU studios. We invite you to be a member of the audience, which will be filled with key individuals from throughout the region who have a real stake in ensuring that our families, neighbors, and employees can get the health care they need. These key individuals include representatives from small and large businesses, government (including elected officials), education, health care providers, health care consumers, social services, insurance, and the faith community; all segments of the community with a stake in understanding the connection between access to health care and the overall health of the region in the broadest sense. Your presence is needed to enhance the dialogue and build a platform for sustainable solutions.

In the months after the forum, the conversation will continue on a larger scale, as we provide opportunities for additional public input through surveys, interviews, and discussion groups. We hope you remain engaged in the process, engage others in the areas where you are most connected, and bring others to the conversation as we press for viable answers. The issue is pressing and the questions complex, but Central Texas cannot wait for others to address this crisis. Please join us as we tackle this critical condition.

Your RSVP is required as there are only 300 seats available, and we intend to fill every one. Please send a response to rsvp@sdchf.org by Tuesday, November 11.

Critical Condition: Central Texas partner organizations are the American Cancer Society, Austin/Travis County Community Health Centers, Austin Travis County MHMR Center, Center for Public Policy Priorities, Integrated Care Collaboration, insure-a-kid, Lone Star Circle of Care, People’s Community Clinic, Seton Family of Hospitals, St. David’s Community Health Foundation, Texans Care for Children, and the Travis County Healthcare District and the University of Texas Medical Branch-Austin.

More information about the local collaboration and the PBS documentary “Critical Condition” can be found at www.klru.org/criticalcondition. Questions regarding this event may be directed to a collaboration member or to Kristy Ozmun of Kristy Ozmun Public Relations, kristy@ozmun.com or (512) 474-1501.

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Coping with Health Care

On October 7, Texas Forums will hold forums on Coping with the Cost of Health Care using the National Issues Forums discussion guide. The event will take place on the 10th floor of the LBJ Presidential Library, 2313 Red River St. Registration, refreshments, and resources will be available at 5:30 and the forum will take place from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

The LBJ Library is joining with all 12 Presidential Libraries of the National Archives and Records Administration to hold forums on health care and other topics between Labor Day and the November Election.

We are pleased to be joined by some outstanding local partners in this venture who will be on hand to provide information about the state of health care in the state of Texas. Our partners include: the Center for Public Policy Priorities, Christian Life Commission, Texas Impact , and Texas Health Institute. Students in the Fielding Graduate University Certification in Dialogue, Deliberation and Community Engagement will serve as our moderators.

“Hosting National Issues Forums at the Presidential Libraries is consistent with our emphasis on civic education,” Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States, said.  “Presidential Libraries are public places and it is appropriate for citizens to engage in intense discussions of major public policy issues in the midst of a presidential campaign.  However, the goal should be hosting discussions which are balanced, civil in tone and fair-minded.”

“Participants in a forum,” NIFI Chairman William Winter, said, “deliberate with one another, eye-to-eye, face to-face, exploring options, weighing others’ views, considering the costs and consequences of public policy decisions.  In a democracy, citizens have a responsibility to make choices about how to solve problems and forums help enrich participants’ thinking on public issues.  By offering citizens a framework for deliberative forums, NIFI helps the public take an active role in acting on public issues.”

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On Sunday June 29, I will be traveling to Dayton, OH for a meeting with representatives of all 12 Presidential Libraries. We will be planning a series of National Issues Forums to take place in each of our libraries prior to the November election. Texas Forums will be hosting forums on Health Care at the LBJ Library on September 17 from 6-8 p.m.

Below is the press release for this upcoming meeting.

pres logo

nifi

From: Bob Daley, Diane Eisenberg, Mary Kring


Some 30 Representatives of the nation’s Presidential Libraries and the National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI) will gather in Dayton, Ohio, June 30-July 1 for a workshop designed to prepare for a series of forums in all 12 Presidential Libraries between Labor Day and Election Day this fall.

The workshop will introduce representatives of the Presidential Libraries to the philosophy of public deliberation and plans developed by the libraries’ representatives and NIF coordinators for the fall forums will be shared.

During the run-up to the presidential election, each of the Presidential Libraries will host a series of three forums with some Libraries hosting additional forums. Forums will be on a range of topics including health care, immigration, federal debt, education and energy.

All forums are free and open to the public.

“Hosting National Issues Forums at the Presidential Libraries is consistent with our emphasis on civic education,” Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States, said. “Presidential Libraries are public places and it is appropriate for citizens to engage in discussions about major public policy issues in the midst of a presidential campaign.”

“Participants in a forum,” NIFI chairman William Winter, said, “deliberate with one another eye-to-eye, face-to-face, exploring options, weighing others’ views, considering the costs and consequences of public policy decisions. In a democracy, citizens have a responsibility to make choices about how to solve problems and forums help enrich participants’ thinking on public issues. By offering citizens a framework for deliberative forums, NIFI helps the public take an active role in acting on public issues.”

The Presidential Libraries of the National Archives are not libraries in the usual sense. They are archives and museums, bringing together in one place the documents and artifacts of a President and his administration and presenting them to the public for study and discussion without regard for political considerations or affiliations. Presidential Libraries and Museums, like their holdings, belong to the American people. They promote understanding of the presidency and the American experience, preserving and providing access to historical materials, support research, and create interactive programs and exhibits that educate and inspire.

NIFI is a 25-year-old nonpartisan, nationwide network of locally sponsored forums for the consideration of public policy issues. Forums are rooted in the simple notion that citizens need to come together to reason and talk -to deliberate about common problems.

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I am writing this from the University of Houston Downtown’s Center for Public Deliberation training for new moderators. For the past two months, I have been working with Windy Lawrence and Tom Workman, the co-directors of this new endeavor. We are finally doing our first training session for moderators in Houston. We have 25 participants with a significant representation from the Houston Public Library. We are also joined by a representative from the Clinton and Bush Presidential Libraries.

We just introduced the participants to the cast of characters involved in public deliberation and the work we will be doing with Texas Forums and UHD Center for Public Deliberation. We also introduced them to the key areas that the partners will work on independently and in collaboration.

Texas Forums and the University of Houston Downtown will collaborate and work on the following key areas:

  • Research and Development
  • Training and Professional Development
  • Support Local Initiatives by Building Capacity
  • Develop and Support Statewide Issues
  • Communication and Public Information

We invited the participants asked questions about the partners, but they immediately jumped into offering ideas about who else should be involved. Very exciting energy!!!!

Can’t wait to post more, but it’s time for me to lead my session on Everyday Deliberation.

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