Elected officials and senior staff are only too familiar with the fierce controversies that can arise around municipal issues. From re-zoning applications to parking regulations to gender-inclusive washrooms in public buildings—policy questions that residents and stakeholders feel immediately affected by often spark polarized public debate, which makes progress difficult and can lead to lasting divisions in the community.
From Controversy to Collaboration: Working Through Conflict in Public Engagement, was a free webinar delivered on Tuesday, May 31 2016 by the Civic Engage Team at Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue, along with guest speaker Mayor Josie Osborne of Tofino. The webinar explored how and when elected officials and senior staff can engage the public in values- and interest-based dialogue to overcome entrenched positions and enable collaboration for solutions that are owned and supported by the community.
The presentation and resources referenced during the webinar are available below:
• “Fostering Dialogue Across Divides” Public Conversations Project – publicconversations.org – Pages 9 & 98 – Example communication agreements/ground rules
• “A Guide for Training Public Dialogue Facilitators” Everyday Democracy – everyday-democracy.org – Pages 50 & 55-57 – Managing conflict & responses to typical facilitation challenges
• Power and Love – Adam Kahane
• Bridging Cultural Conflicts: A New Approach for a Changing World – Michelle Lebaron
• I’m Right and You’re an Idiot – James Hoggan