Check here often for upcoming DWE and DWE sponsored seminars

Combining Human Listening and New Technologies to Support Citizens’ Assemblies


This session will review the unique cooperation between MIT's Center for Constructive Communication (CCC) and the nonprofit Cortico to develop and implement technological tools to amplify people's voices and help drive decisions that strengthen the health of communities.

The session will first review a case study of a modified Citizens Assembly at MIT from January in order to explain the Tech-Enhanced model for Citizen Assemblies being developed and tested at MIT CCC (in partnership with DemocracyNext). Next, participants will explore a hands-on demo activity to learn about Cortico's tools and process. The Fora platform-- which serves as an interactive repository for recorded, small-group conversations-- supports a 3-step methodology for Cortico partners: 1. Listening to the community through conversation campaigns, 2. making sense of those conversations, and 3. sharing the results of that work back to community stakeholders.

With an understanding of background and methodology, the session will turn to future initiatives, including a Citizens Assembly in Bend, OR, the deployment of AI tools to support and expedite conversation analysis, and the release of the Fora Mobile app. Participants will be invited to envision how they could implement these  tools and methods in their future projects.

Cost 3 price levels: $29, $39, $49. Self-selected by individuals signing up.

Date & time: May 18, 2024 from 1 to 3 pm Eastern US time.

(Participants are responsible for converting to their local time.)

Length 2 hours

Minimum, Maximum 20 to 30

Promoting Citizens' Assemblies Seminar

Building Political Will for Lottery-Selected Panels in Your Community

A How-To Guide


Become a super advocate for game-changing democracy innovation! Hone your advocacy skills and strengthen your confidence in talking to local government staff and elected officials about citizens' assemblies (lottery-selected panels). In this workshop, we’ll walk through our favorite tools and strategies for local movement building:

● how to approach elected officials and staff, including what we’ve found works best,

● the language we use and the language we avoid – and why,

● the questions we ask public officials first, and the green flags (and red flags) we look for in a new contact,

● the questions we receive most frequently and how we answer them,

● our best responses to common criticisms (and brainstorm your own!), and

● the steps between first contact and program launch.

We’ll also review our repository of materials, including:

● the best explainer videos, mini-documentaries, and testimonial videos we know of,

● the best reports and research for introducing lottery-selected democracy to a novice local government audience, and

● Healthy Democracy’s informational packet, outlining possible process types and their associated costs, advantages, and disadvantages.

This Zoom-based seminar will happen on two Saturdays, 4 hours each for a total of 8 hours. It is scheduled for 9 am to 1 pm Pacific (Noon to 4 pm Eastern) on Saturday, February 11 and Saturday, February 25. The seminar is co-sponsored by Healthy Democracy and Democracy Without Elections.

The cost is three self-selected levels. Pay what you can afford. If $49 is too much, contact us and we will work something out.


Seminar: CAs Instead of Elections?

Citizens' Assemblies and Lottery Selection as the Democratic Alternative to Elections

Saturday 8 April at 12:30pm Eastern, 9:30 Pacific

Nearly everybody agrees that elections in the United States (and internationally) are horribly failing to live up to the democratic ideal. The ego-driven, wealthy, older, white males, who typically win elections fail to represent the interests of ordinary Americans. The alternative that has been tested hundreds of times around the world (though hardly at all in the U.S.) is democracy by jury. Democratic lotteries put ordinary people from all walks of life, instead of politicians, on policy-making assemblies. This use of democratic lotteries was actually an essential part of ancient Greek democracies, where elections were considered oligarchic. This reform has exciting potential and is mushrooming globally. This workshop will cover the history and prospects of what political scientists call “sortition.”

Terry Bouricius, a recovering politician who served 20 years as a law-maker and then a decade as an election reform policy analyst, will present the seminar. He has written several highly influential scholarly papers on the topic.

The 4 hour seminar will be divided by a 1 hour break part way through.

The cost is three self-selected levels. Pay what you can afford. If $29 is too much, contact us and we will work something out.