Public Policy Institute
Through the Public Policy Institute, MOPC provides forums throughout the Commonwealth that seek to engage Massachusetts residents in thoughtful deliberation on public issues, such as immigration policy, racial and ethnic tensions, and youth violence. MOPC follows the deliberative dialogue model developed by the Kettering Foundation and draws heavily on the research and publications produced by the National Issues Forums. National Issues Forums (NIF) is a network of civic, educational, and other organizations, and individuals, whose common interest is to promote public deliberation in America. It includes thousands of civic clubs, religious organizations, libraries, schools, and many other groups that meet to discuss critical public issues.
Deliberative forums are structured discussions on a specific topic with groups of ten to thirty individuals. Each forum focuses on a specific policy issue such as climate change, Social Security, or juvenile crime. The forums are facilitated by trained moderators who guide participants through a process that asks them to weigh trade-offs in a variety of public policy decisions while they speak their mind and listen to the concerns and values of others. Deliberation can reveal new possibilities for action that neither citizens nor policy makers saw before, and can set the stage for collaborative problem-solving, policy development and planning.
MOPC does not advocate specific solutions or points of view but provides citizens the opportunity to consider a broad range of choices, weigh the pros and cons of those choices, and meet with each other in a public dialogue to identify the concerns they hold in common.
Click here for a list of upcoming dialogues, or contact MOPC to set up a forum in your community.
Examples of MOPC's work:
• City Year Leadership Corps dialogue on youth violence in Boston, MA
• Cambridge church group dialogue on foreign policy held at MIT
• Community conversation for farmers/growers on challenges facing the agricultural industry in Massachusetts held at Southeastern MA Agriculture Partnership (SEMAP) Conference.
Public Policy Institute contact:
Courtney Breese, Program Manager
Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration (MOPC)
University of Massachusetts Boston
100 Morrissey Boulevard, M-1-627
Boston, MA 02125
Telephone: 617.287.4046; Fax: 617.287.4049