2017 North American Conference: A reflection

By: Violeta Manoukian
Sustainable Resilient Longmont Board Member, and
IN-PACT Group,  Founder and CEO

A truly enriching conference! It offered a broad spectrum of topics making it hard at times to choose which sessions to attend. As to be expected in many conferences there was also a broad range in the quality of presentations.

My favorite sessions (in chronological order) were (a) Digital Engagement – a cutting edge session about this fast growing aspect of participation where I learned about the latest developments; (b) An Ancient Solution Reimagined for Modern Times – an evidenced based presentation of DRUMBEAT’s successful approach to drumming as an inherently human community building activity was fun, inspiring and very enjoyable: and (c) Beginning With the Brain in Mind: Overcoming Polarization through Deliberative Process Design – a session offering a clear exposition of how we can transform negative aspects of human nature into critical positive aspects such as empathy and creativity, a much appreciated and timely contribution to the theme of this conference.

It was also my pleasure and honor to contribute to the group crafting of this year’s addition to the ‘IAP2 Conferences Questions Quilt’ by proposing the question “How can we create participatory spaces that nurture goodness, bravery, and collaboration?” I probably will be contemplating it for many months (years?) to come. . .

Make your way to the 2018 Skills Symposium!

Think of it: five days, immersed in P2. A choice from nine courses, covering a variety of aspects in the practice. You’ll find something for everyone and every level of the profession at the 2018 IAP2 USA Skills SymposiumFeb. 26 – March 3 in Austin, Texas.

If you’re “just starting out” or need a refresher, we’ve got the full Foundations course — the three-day “Planning” section and the two-day “Techniques” section: take the whole five-day course, if you like.

Want something meatier?

There’s “Social Media & P2”“When Things Go Sideways”“Strategies for Dealing With Opposition and Outrage” (formerly EOP2) or the one-day “Toolz for Tough Conversations”

You’ll hang out at the Commons Learning Center at the University of Texas at Austin and get special block pricing at the Lone Star Court — just $149/night! Register before December 13, and benefit from early bird registration fees!

So don’t delay — say “Heck, yeah!” to this unique opportunity to expand your knowledge and skills in Public Participation!

See y’all there!

Pathways: a North American Conference Journey.

This year we tried something new and exciting that the North American Conference called Pathways. Participants took part in one of three different pathways:

  • National Dialogue: Are we facing a P2 crisis or opportunity?
  • Collaboration for the Greater Good
  • Powerfully Positive Questions for P2 in a Changing World.

Each pathway took place over the course of two days. Participants got to set their agenda, co-create, and co-host, and participate in the presentation of their findings during the conference finale on Friday.

Here is what they said:

Celebrating the Greater Good!

A new award to celebrate excellence in the field of public participation in the US. This is your chance to nominate an individual who has exerted outstanding leadership, service, and application of IAP2’s core values. Do you know someone who is worthy of this accolade. The deadline for applications is August 31st. We will be recognizing the winner at the IAP2 North American Conference in Denver this September.

Send in your nomination

Selling the boss on the 2017 North American Conference

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Do you just know that you need to be at the 2017 IAP2 North American Conference in Denver in September, but your manager still needs convincing? These Top Five Reasons should help:

  1. No need to re-invent the wheel – learn from others’ experiences both good and bad. Find out about emerging trends and issues. If you come away with one or two good ideas then you have paid for your conference.
  2. Skill building. There are so many good and effective ways to do public engagement. Find out what they are and bring them back to your workplace.
  3. Networking. Have you ever wanted to pick up the phone or send an email to people that have similar ideas or concerns as you do? How about trying out an idea before you pay for it? Meet those colleagues at the Conference, people are happy to learn and share together.
  4. The conference theme is “P2 for the Greater Good”, and what company doesn’t want to be associated with that.
  5. Good Public Participation = Good Results