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We Have a Voice: Engaging Citizens in Issues that Impact Our Lives

Posted on Mar 13 2013 under Previous Programs, Public Engagement

Carolyn Lukensmeyer

American voters have lost confidence in the ability of our political leaders to solve the most serious of problems: a staggering deficit, the need for jobs, a broken tax system. They feel frustrated, worried, angry and ashamed by the way our elected officials act. They blame a lack of respectful dialogue in the political system and politicians’ unwillingness to engage across party lines for the Confidence Crisis in which we find ourselves.

In 1995, Dr. Carolyn Lukensmeyer, Founder and first President of AmericaSpeaks, created a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C.  with a mission to reinvigorate American Democracy by engaging citizens in public decision-making and helping provide them with a real voice in our nation’s governance. For over 15 years, AmericaSpeaks has convened large-scale initiatives to engage citizens and leaders on some of the most difficult and important policy issues. Their work has demonstrated that average citizens have the ability to understand complex policy issues, make reasonable judgments about how to resolve them and commit to supporting the solution.   AmericaSpeaks works not only in the United States, but throughout the world. The international arm of the organization is called Global Voices and it has brought the AmericaSpeaks model to countries around the world.

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During Dr. Lukensmeyer’s tenure at AmericaSpeaks, they engaged more than 165,000 people and have hosted events across all 50 states and throughout the world. Dr. Lukensmeyer formerly served as Consultant to the White House Chief of Staff from 1993-94 and on the National Performance Review where she steered internal management and oversaw government-wide reforms. She was the Chief of Staff to Ohio Governor Richard F. Celeste from 1986-91, becoming the first woman to serve in this capacity. She is author of Bringing Citizen Voices to the Table:  A Guide for Public Managers.  She earned her PhD in Organizational Behavior from Case Western Reserve University and has completed postgraduate training at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland.

In 2011, Dr. Lukensmeyer became the first appointed Executive Director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse at the University of Arizona where she continues her work in civil engagement. Your Words Count is just one initiative at the National Institute for Civil Discourse to restore confidence in American government by engaging citizens with the result of having their voices heard on public policy issues that impact their daily lives.

Receive a 30% discount by ordering the book Bringing Citizen Voices to the Table directly through Wiley.
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