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Center For Public Deliberation Header

'"If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost." ---- Aristotle

About the Center

Who we are:
The UHD Center for Public Deliberation (CPD) is a collaborative, non-partisan group that encourages citizens to actively participate in the deliberative democracy process through public discussions about issues that affect their lives. The UHD CPD is an affiliate of the National Issues Forums (NIF) network and partner to the Texas Forums project at the Lyndon B. Johnson Library in Austin, Texas. We are supported in part by the Kettering Foundation.

What we do:
Public deliberation requires safe places for citizens to come together, good and fair information to help structure the conversation, and skilled facilitators to guide the process. The UHD CPD provides all of these elements to the people of Houston. The UHD CPD serves as a resource to help leaders and citizens engage in and facilitate thoughtful conversations about important public issues like health care, education, fair wage, unemployment, racism, and other issues that are relevant to Houston and the nation. Using the National Issues Forums (NIF) model for public deliberation along with other approaches, we provide an avenue where the collective reasoning of citizens plays a prominent role in the formation of solutions. Housed at the University of Houston - Downtown, the Center embraces UHD's values of Excellence, Opportunity, and Diversity by offering public forums to all citizens of the Houston area and by providing training and classes for those interested in facilitating future public discussions.

Our goal is to assist Houstonians of all ages, ethnicities, and occupations to become actively involved in public deliberation. We recognize that a well-informed and involved public can lead to deeper understanding, agreement, and ultimately, solutions to many of the issues we face as a society.

How we do it:

Working from a communication perspective, CPD staff and students focus on the process of public discussion and deliberation that leads to civic improvement. An Advisory Board comprised of community leaders from the city of Houston and UHD faculty from across academic disciplines assists the Center in choosing relevant topics for public forums. Public discussions are recorded and shared with key decision-makers and others interested in the democratic process.

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Last updated or reviewed on 12/13/12

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