A Public Voice 2021

For more than 30 years, the Kettering Foundation, in collaboration with the National Issues Forums Institute, has organized A Public Voice. This annual event brings together representatives from community forum groups around the country and from national dialogue and deliberation organizations, as well as elected officials and staff, to explore the contributions that a deliberative public makes to addressing some of the most challenging issues facing our communities and elected officeholders.

A Public Voice 2021 continues this conversation by bringing bipartisan members of the US House of Representatives to discuss how people can work in complementary ways with elected officials on shared public problems. Kettering president and CEO David Mathews will share his reflections at the end of the event.

We hope you’ll join this conversation by sharing your own stories about how you’ve worked with fellow citizens and public officials to address persistent problems facing communities today. This conversation will, in part, examine the outcomes of public forums on a variety of issues plaguing communities. In these public forums, citizens consider the options for dealing with the problem, share their views, and weigh the costs and benefits of possible actions. Forums are held both online and face-to-face, typically last two hours, and attract participants of all ages from all walks of life.

A Public Voice will engage policymakers and the networks of deliberative democracy practitioners in a conversation about public deliberation—what it is, how it differs from polls and focus groups, and why it has value for them—and what people can do together, in various alliances including those with public officials, to solve shared public problems.


September 20, 2021
11:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


Agenda

11:00 AM A Public Voice 2021

Introductions and Opening Remarks

Valerie Lemmie, Director of Exploratory Research, Kettering Foundation

A Different Kind of Talk

We’ll begin by inviting members of the US House of Representatives to discuss how people can work in complementary ways with elected officials on shared public problems. National Issues Forums moderators, analysts of forum outcomes, and members of the policy community will join this conversation by sharing their own stories about how they’ve worked with their fellow citizens and public officials to address the practical problems facing communities today. We’ll talk about public deliberation; how that public thinking differs from the “public opinion” usually available to policymakers; what public thinking has emerged from NIF forums on a range of prevalent issues; and what people have done together about these problems.

Closing Remarks

David Mathews, President and CEO, Kettering Foundation and Chairman, National Issues Forums Institute

12:30 PM Adjourn