The Public Voice Partnership
The Georgia College American Democracy Project launched a public deliberation resource for the purpose of partnering with campus and community organizations in tackling significant community issues. The Public Voice Partnership assists citizens and organizations by employing a deliberative process resulting in clearly defined problems, at least three well-informed and realistic problem-solving approaches, and deliberative forums that engage citizens from all walks of life in civil conversation that leads to potential choices and solutions.
The Public Voice Partnership is the result of Georgia College's participation with the Kettering Foundation research initiative, Organizing Centers for Public Life. Twelve institutions affiliated with American universities, community colleges, and nonprofit public life centers are engaged in this research.
PVP established three deliberative partnerships in 2011. 1) Live Healthy Baldwin, a Healthy Communities/Healthy Kids grant initiative, used the PVP to clarify a strategic plan that includes deliberative forums relative to four specific Live Healthy Baldwin projects; 2) The Georgia College University Senate employed a deliberative forum to address multiple final exam schedule options; and 3) Local public education advocacy organizations will use the Kettering Foundation school drop out issue guide, a product of the research initiative, to deliberate how to prevent drop outs and increase high school graduation rates.
The Georgia College American Democracy Project brings the National Issues Forum to Milledgeville. "National Issues Forums (NIF) is a nonpartisan, nationwide network of locally sponsored forums for the consideration of public policy issues. They are rooted in the simple notion that people need to come together to reason and talk – to deliberate about common problems. Indeed, democracy requires an ongoing deliberative dialogue." http://www.nifi.org/ For the past 25 years, hundreds of American communities have used NIF materials.
NIF dialogue groups consider multiple approaches to public issues contrasted to opposing, polarized positions. Thoughtful deliberation and listening to different perspectives enables participants to appreciate complexity and the hard work of democracy. Some dialogues lead to action.
The National Issues Forums includes the Georgia College Public Voice Partnership in its network of organizations that practice deliberative democracy.