Friends, I'd like to share with you one of the most optimistic messages I've received in quite some time. I've received many that expressed optimism, but not many whose sentiments I could go along with. There are many paths of premature optimism. Below, after a pitch for support, Tom Atlee talks about a 2-day session that took place in Jefferson County, Oregon. From Tom's report, the session exhibited precisely the spirit of We The People that I envision as the path to a transformed society. Unfortunately, Tom (and his co-writers) describe the event only in general terms. Perhaps they will tell us more about the subject dealt with at the session, the process employed, something about the participants, etc. enjoy, rkm -------------------------------------------------------- Delivered-To: •••@••.••• Date: Sat, 13 Dec 2003 02:43:19 -0800 To: •••@••.••• (CII support list) From: Co-Intelligence Institute <•••@••.•••> Subject: A new co-intelligence.org website, news and a fundraiser Dear friends of the Co-Intelligence Institute, We want to share with you some highlights of what we've done in the last few months, supported by your donations, and ask for your continued support. The Co-Intelligence Institute is a catalyst for some very exciting developments and, although we expect significant foundation funding next year, you, the generous subscribers to this list, are still the "foundation" of our support for everything we do. So give as generously as you can. Our work doesn't fit in the usual charity and activist categories, so we depend on pioneers like you to recognize and treasure the gifts we bring. Now here's the news: In addition to Tom Atlee's periodic mailings which we value so much, your support has made possible a number of other important developments we want to share. 1. We have just completed the first wave of a major overhaul of the Co-Intelligence Institute (CII) website <http://www.co-intelligence.org>. Take a look -- even a quick peek will do. We're sure you'll find it far more appealing, useful and informative than it has ever been. Over 100 of the top level pages have been reworked to make the site far easier to understand and navigate. Dozens of new and never-before released articles have been added to fill out important subject areas. Summary paragraphs have been written. Choices have been made about the best articles. This has been a major part of our work since our fundraiser in September. Your continued support will help us complete this upgrade, expand the site's offerings, and then complete the upgrade of the Innovations in Democracy site <http://www.democracyinnovations.org>, already well underway. Through these websites, we will make a major contribution to the upcoming election-year conversations about democracy. 2. Furthermore, just one month ago, we helped the world's first county-wide citizens' Wisdom Council become a grassroots success. The story reads like make-believe. Months earlier a member of this list got Tom on a local talk radio show. One person who heard him then convinced the host to interview Wisdom Council innovator Jim Rough, as well. That second interview inspired three listeners to form the Rogue Valley Wisdom Council (RVWC) project <http://www.rvwc.org> and to call on the CII and Jim's Center for Wise Democratic Processes (CWDP) <http://www.wisedemocracy.org> for advice. Then, almost like a story book, along came a documentary filmmaker seeking footage on a real Wisdom Council -- and he needed it soon. The RVWC folks -- who had never done anything like this before -- rose to the occasion and managed to get a Wisdom Council pulled together in just a few months. The results were phenomenal. On Saturday and Sunday November 15-16 seven diverse strangers -- randomly chosen citizens of Jefferson County, Oregon -- found themselves immersed together in hours of thoughtful, heartful, and at times dramatic conversation (facilitated and videotaped), exploring their community's concerns. Much to our surprise, the conversation transformed them before our very eyes. They discovered a level of passionate, determined group citizenship they'd never experienced before. On Sunday afternoon we watched their enthusiasm infect a whole town meeting of local citizens gathered to hear them. Even the most colorful person on the Wisdom Council, a passionate, challenging man who had been repeatedly disappointed by earlier citizen boards and panels he'd been on, spoke with great energy about the power of the conversation he'd just experienced and about how it had rekindled the fire of "We the People" among them. Tom was amazed. As visionary as he is, he had not anticipated the level of response he saw. "The energy in the room was like a populist political gathering -- except that it was all about US, the people. It was an awakening of the People, by the People and for the whole People. There wasn't a THEM anywhere in sight. I hadn't realized that watching We the People waking up would be such a powerful, moving experience." Most of the Wisdom Council members and a significant number of the community audience signed up to help organize the next Rogue Valley Wisdom Council... The mayor of Santa Cruz was there and excited by what she saw... Our colleague Elliot Shuford did a research study of the whole event under the auspices of the University of Oregon... A video and organizing manual are now being made from the experience to help other communities create their own citizens' Wisdom Councils... And that's not all.... 3. Interest in powerful, creative citizen deliberation and engagement is skyrocketing -- and the CII is among its leaders. Just yesterday Tom checked Google for "citizen deliberation" and "deliberative democracy" webpages. He found both have more than doubled in 18 months! Furthermore, a page from our http://www.democracyinnovations.org site was 13th of 12,100 pages on deliberative democracy -- and our main "Citizen Deliberative Council" page <http://www.co-intelligence.org/P-CDCs.html> was 8th out of 506 pages on citizen deliberation. The Internet is vibrating with our messages... There are other signs of shift. We just spent two days in an intensive CII/CWDP meeting envisioning citizen deliberation efforts nationally through the grassroots, through national media and through dozens of interested state legislators involved with the Kettering Foundation, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Policy Consensus Initiative. The interest is out there. Tom's trip to New England in October (part of which National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation's Sandy Heierbacher chronicled with pictures on http://thataway.org/ncdd/ ) included conversations with community organizers near Boston, several academics, a remarkable spiritual community, and some equally remarkable old friends and dialogue masters -- the Study Circle Resource Center <http://www.studycircles.org> and Public Conversations Project <http://www.publicconversations.org>. Every conversation was electric, and Tom returned inspired. Next stop: In January we'll be meeting for six hours with interested city and county officials and community workers who want more citizen dialogue and deliberation in our hometown of Eugene, Oregon. And we just got a call from a community organizer in Madison, Wisconsin... 4. In another example of remarkable timing, Tom's research on processes for citizen dialogue and deliberation had a breakthrough just a week or so ago when Matthew Shapiro of Mary Parker Follett Foundation <http://www.follettfoundation.org> alerted him to the remarkable Citizen Science Toolbox of processes at <http://www.coastal.crc.org.au/toolbox/alpha-list.asp>. So we've asked for and received permission to put this database onto the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation website in the form of a Wiki -- a set of interconnected webpages which can be modified by anyone (see the grassroots encyclopedia http://www.wikipedia for a great example). This will allow everyone with process knowledge or experience to put what they know into a co-created library of information about all processes. A Wiki can be expanded endlessly with references, and it's easy for anyone to create hyperlinks. Those of us who are interested in the underlying dynamics of dialogue and deliberation, and who want to study how different processes can be coordinated for better results, will be able to use this process encyclopedia to point out dynamics and possibilities. And the whole project will be furthered by the results of new process research being undertaken simultaneously by many researchers, including Matthew Shapiro, John Gastil, and AmericaSpeaks. So it seems that not only are We the People beginning to wake up, but the tools We need to think, feel and act with -- together, as collectively wise communities and countries -- are being brought into being at just the right time. And a critical time it is. With your support we can really make a difference. Our target for this December/January fundraiser is $30,000. We will end our funding drive on January 31st or when we reach our target, whichever is first. Help us make a difference today. Please send your tax deductible contributions to The Co-Intelligence Institute PO Box 493 Eugene, OR 97440 or donate directly through our website at <http://www.co-intelligence.org/donations.html> Thank you so much for your support, and for your own work to make the world a better place. We are all on this journey together. Coheartedly, Tom Atlee Susan Edwards Adin Rogovin Karen Mercer for The Co-Intelligence Institute PS: Don't forget to check out the new website <http://www.co-intelligence.org> and tell us how you like it. ________________________________ Tom Atlee * The Co-Intelligence Institute * PO Box 493 * Eugene, OR 97440 http://www.co-intelligence.org * http://www.democracyinnovations.org Read THE TAO OF DEMOCRACY * http://www.taoofdemocracy.com Please support our work. * Your donations are fully tax-deductible.