Westmont Center for Dialogue & Deliberation Santa Barbara and Beyond

We're committed to our work in Santa Barbara.

We believe that Santa Barbara residents can solve many of the complex problems we face when they choose to collaborate across traditional political and ideological lines. We aim to use and create resources that inclusively capture the concerns and values of those who inhabit our city. We seek to be unbiased in our facilitation of challenging conversations, and to create accessible spaces for such forums.

We learn from and partner with others doing this work across the United States.

The National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) is a network in which practitioners can share resources, news, and best practices for leading dialogues and deliberations in their home communities. The National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI) and Kettering Foundation, both based in Dayton, Ohio, make it possible for practitioners around the country to deliberate complex problems through issue guides and supplemental materials that they research and produce. Guides published by NIFI and Kettering form the basis for issue guides we've used in public deliberations and in the classroom. We've researched and drafted issue guides tailored to our Santa Barbara community using resources designed by NIFI and Kettering, and our co-founders Dr. Dunn and Dr. Winslow served as Research Exchange Fellows with the Kettering Foundation from 2017-2019. To read more about deliberative forums we've led using issue guides written by NIFI and Kettering, see our "Past Conversations" page. For more information about NIFI and Kettering, follow the links below. 

Other centers for dialogue and deliberation based at institutions of higher learning inspire our work. The Center for Public Deliberation at Colorado State University is a leader in student engagement through deliberative facilitation, encouraging local democracy. Baylor University's Public Deliberation Institute melds faith with deliberation to create issue guides that reflect the concerns of local faith communities. We're proud to be among the colleges and universities using principles of deliberative democracy to draw everyday citizens into conversations and decision-making that reflect what they value. We believe that connections between higher education institutions and the communities they inhabit create avenues for robust community development. See the links below for more information about these initiatives.