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Symposium addresses bridging political divide, depolarizing America

in Biz Briefs/Community

WAUSAU — A symposium aimed to help enlist community energies in solving public problems and working across political divides will be held in mid November in Wausau.

The Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service will hold a “New Frontiers in Civic Revitalization: Local Democracy Symposium,” from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Nov. 15 at the UW Center for Civic Engagement in Wausau that will highlight a new and hopeful way to bring together citizens across the conservative-liberal divide through public work.

“Public work involves a collective effort to address common problems. It speaks to those who worry about the erosion of civic life by building the civic muscle needed to create strong communities,” said Harry Boyte, co-director of the new  Public Work Academy, Augsburg University, Minneapolis, and one of the key speakers at the symposium.

“It speaks to those concerned about creating welcoming, diverse communities by teaching skills for working across differences of partisan belief, ethnicity, religion and economic background,” Boyte said in a news release. “While state and national leaders have roles to play, it’s the strong and welcoming communities that are built by everyday citizens from the ground up that create hope for our future.”

The Local Democracy Symposium is open to civic leaders, community volunteers and organizers, professionals in teaching, health, government, religion and other areas and students who are seeking to depolarize America.

Attendees will be introduced to the public work approach of the Augsburg Public Work Academy. In addition to Harry Boyte, symposium speakers will include these leading theorists and practitioners of public work:

  • Mike Huggins, faculty, Public Work Academy and WIPPS policy fellow; former city manager; Eau Claire, Wisconsin, pioneer of a citizen professional approach to the work of city managers
  • Marie Ström, co-director, Public Work Academy; former director of the Citizen Leadership Programme, Institute for Democracy in South Africa
  • William Doherty, leading family therapist, pioneer in citizen professionalism; co-founder of Better Angels, a movement to depolarize America
  • Catherine Emmanuelle, area director, Cooperative Extension, University of Wisconsin, which works with people and communities to transform their lives through educational engagement
  • Ali Oosterhuis, co-founder, Citizen Student Movement, University of Minnesota, bridging the partisan divide, with a high school chapter in Wausau

Symposium participants will be able to:

  • Engage with a powerful and innovative paradigm that transforms the way we understand civic life and democracy.
  • Learn about the Better Angels movement to depolarize America.
  • Discover how Clear Vision-Eau Claire pioneered a new role for government as partner and catalyst for cooperative work by citizens.
  • Hear how to become part of the public work movement for a revitalized, citizen-centered democracy.

Registration is limited to the first 75 attendees – click here to register today. Cost:$75 per person (includes copy of Harry Boyte’s new book, “Awakening Democracy through Public Work”)

To register, go to: https://wipps.org/symposium-r/

For more information, contact info@wipps.org or call 715-261-6388.

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