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News about Society's Breakthrough!

1) World Conference: Innovations in Community Engagement: Interactive learning with world experts

Port Townsend, April 2, 2005 – Port Townsend residents, Jim Rough and Ned Crosby, have been invited to present their social innovations at the international conference: “Innovations in Community Engagement: Interactive Learning with World Experts.” The conference will be held in Perth, Australia, May 30-31, 2005. (www.dpi.wa.gov.au/dialogue/comengage/index.html)

Rough and Crosby will be two of five world experts. Rough will be presenting two innovations: The Wisdom Council and Dynamic Facilitation described in his book Society’s Breakthrough! Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People. Crosby will be presenting the Citizens Jury, described in his book Healthy Democracy. A fourth innovation, 21st Century Town Meetings, uses computer software developed by Port Townsend resident, Jim Ewing.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to demonstrate the Wisdom Council to such a conference,” said Rough. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to give 350 attendees an experience of how “We the People" can really be created. Rough will also lead a 3-day pre-conference seminar to train 35 dynamic facilitators for the conference.

The Wisdom Council, has recently demonstrated it’s potential in the Port Townsend Food Co-Op, the Washington Department of Agriculture, and the Community Development Department of Jefferson County. It offers a way to create respectful, thoughtful dialogue among all members of a large system of people– like a city, co-op, or high school. (www.WiseDemocracy.org) Dynamic Facilitation, the basis for new approach, has proven itself for many years. (www.ToBe.net)

2) Experiment: Port Townsend Food Co-op

The Port Townsend Food Co-op is experimenting with the Wisdom Council to generate a participative culture of involved membership. The first meeting was held in early 2005. A fifteen minute streaming video illustrates what happened.

3) Article: "A Rebirth of We the People"

For an overview of how, realistically, the ideas in Society's Breakthrough can establish a national "We the People," and make our system a "true" democracy, see the recent article "A Rebirth of We the People" by Jim Rough in The Good Society, a journal whose goal is to promote serious and sustained inquiry into innovative institutional designs for a good society.

4) Non-profit organization: The Center for Wise Democracy

A 501 C3 non-profit organization has been founded to help implement the social innovation suggested in Society's Breakthrough! (see www.WiseDemocracy.org).

5) Key experiment: The Rogue Valley Wisdom Council

The Center for Wise Democracy conducted a key experiment with the Wisdom Council with the help of three citizens in the Rogue Valley of Oregon after hearing Jim Rough interviewed on the local NPR radio station. Joseph McCormick, former Republican nominee to the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia, was doing research on the state of "Democracy in America" after his lost election bid. His research revealed a sorry state of affairs until he read Society's Breakthrough! and discovered our experiment with the Wisdom Council in the Rogue Valley. With a colleague, Pat Spino, he drove from Virginia to Oregon and prepared 22 minute documentary, Democracy in America. A research paper on this experiment was written by Elliot Shuford. His paper, Innovations in Democracy: An Evaluation of the Rogue Valley Wisdom Council , is available as a pdf file.

6) Web TV interviews: The Jim Rough Show

This community access TV show was created in an effort to help people "get" the potential of the Wisdom Council and Society's Breakthrough. The show features many innovations in democracy.