civil discourse and citizen engagement

civil discourse in public forums

—Project Snapshot: The Civil Discussions in Uncivil Times 4 hour conflict deescalation and assertive communication workshop was designed and conducted by Dumas & Associates, Inc. for members of the League of Women Voters of Bellingham-Whatcom County and Washington State and guests.
—Results:
125 community leaders, public officials, and League members gained awareness and skills in conflict management and productive strategies for participating in and moderating public discussions regarding election and ballot issues. The program won the League of Women Voters U.S. 2010 Community Connections award and will be offered to Leagues across Washington State in 2012.

public meeting design and facilitation

—Project Snapshot: The City of Bellingham’s Planning & Community Development Department expanded staff capacity in public meeting design and facilitation with Dumas & Associates, Inc. 12 hour staff development program designed to further the City’s Public Involvement Needs Assessment recommendations.
—Results:
The Department developed a cohort of staff knowledgeable in best practices for designing forums to gather residents’ and stakeholders’ input during advisory and decision-making processes. Team assessments, training modules, practicum assignments, and debrief session provided additional insights ways to further improve public engagement activities.

citizen-centered civic engagement

—Project Snapshot: Designed and co-facilitated a series of Productive Public Conversations forums with alumni from the Leadership Whatcom 2004-2009 program. This civic engagement and dialogue program provided nonpartisan, fact-based information on important community issues, training in assertive, respectful discourse, and opportunities to discuss the topic with a broad mix of urban and rural community members.
Results:
An average of 90 urban and rural community members participated in the Productive Public Conversations forums, which examined farmland preservation, the role of citizens in government, tools for discussing diverse views on climate change, and regional economic development. The Productive Public Conversations program and framework was one of the Case Foundation’s 100 breakthrough ideas for the 2007 Make It Your Own Awards.