Conflict resolution representatives from universities across the nation are gathering at The University of Texas School of Law for the first national conference of the University Network for Collaborative Governance on November 9–11, 2008. The program is co-hosted by UT’s Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution (CPPDR), which helped establish the Network and is one of its founding members.
Texas Senator Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio, who participated in the Center Fellows training program last summer, kicked off the conference by giving participants a rousing Texas welcome.
Participants at this conference are experts in collaborative processes and will share with each other how these processes can be and are applied in various states and across state lines. Sessions that deal with policy issues such as climate change and shifting demographics will consider questions such as: What processes are effective in bringing people together to explore options and inform state and federal leaders on these issues? Other sessions consider whether universities have a role in bringing people to the table and how university centers can better educate communities and organizations on public engagement.
“This conference is the culmination of many years of planning,” said Jan Summer, executive director of CPPDR and a board member of Policy Consensus Initiative, the other host of the conference. “We have the chance through this conference and others that will follow to model collaboration and seek better informed solutions than we otherwise could have on our own.”
The University Network for Collaborative Governance was launched last April when members gathered in Atlanta and adopted its charter. Current members represent twenty-five centers and programs embedded in colleges and universities that provide a convenient, neutral forum to bring many divergent views together. These centers and programs offer services and scholarship that encourage citizens and policy-makers to participate in dialogue, collaboration, and conflict resolution to address tough public issues.
The Network will support its members by connecting them with colleagues, providing a platform to share ideas and programs that work, and helping bridge communications with and among state leaders.
“The Center is very pleased to be part of a network whose members share a passion and commitment to more collaborative and inclusive public decision-making processes,” Summer said. “Opportunities for collaboration present themselves in multiple venues, and we look forward to building partnerships to identify and address these opportunities.”
The Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution opened its doors at The University of Texas School of Law in 1993 and provides education, skill-building trainings, and facilitation/mediation services to governmental entities and public interest groups.
Program contacts: Jan Summer or Susan Schultz, Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution, 512-471-3507
Media contact: Kirston Fortune, Assistant Dean for Communications, (512) 471.7330 or firstname.lastname@example.org.