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Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy


Our mission is to build community capacity for informed, engaged, civil deliberation.

The Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy (ICDD) was formed as an interdisciplinary, non-partisan organization in 2004 in response to polarizing political discourse and increasingly complex public issues that challenge democratic decision-making. ICDD engages in research, education, and facilitation of civic conversations to promote greater citizen participation in deliberation and public dialogue.  

The institute connects faculty and students from all academic disciplines with community affiliates to address prominent issues using processes to improve qualities of civic discourse: specifically, inclusiveness, equality, reciprocity, reflection, reason-giving, and shared decision-making.   

All meetings and public conversations facilitated by ICDD are encouraged to begin by adopting principles of civic discourse as ground rules for the duration of the event.

ICDD Principles of Civic Discourse (Download the poster)
  • Seek understanding and common ground.
  • Expect and explore conflicting viewpoints.
  • Give everyone opportunity to speak.
  • Listen respectfully and thoughtfully.
  • Offer and examine support for claims.
  • Appreciate communication differences.
  • Stay focused on issues.
  • Respect time limits.