Friday, June 13, 2008


Authentic public engagement is a highly inclusive problem-solving approach through which regular citizens deliberate and collaborate on complex public problems. Rather than relegating people to the sidelines, it invites them to join the public dialogue surrounding a problem and provides them the tools to do so productively. As a result, leaders know where the public stands as problem solving progresses, while citizens themselves contribute to solutions through their input, ideas and actions. The Center for the Advancement of Public Engagement has released a primer on ways to cultivate greater community engagement with public life and a more citizen-centered approach to politics. The primer is organized around four themes to help citizens engage other citizens in their work toward a common goal: Creating Civic Capacity for Public Problem-Solving; Ten Core Principles of Public Engagement; Examples of Key Practices and Strategies; and the Power of "Citizen Choicework." "In our society, public decision-making is typically the domain of powerful interest groups or highly specialized experts," the primer states. "To the extent that citizens are considered at all, it is usually as consumers or clients of government, while as a whole, the public is most often viewed as an audience to educate or a problem to manage. In this dominant framework, the citizenry is rarely viewed as a vital resource or potentially powerful partner in problem-solving."


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