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New Approaches to Community Building that meet Today’s Needs

NAN brings special tools to this work that make it possible for communities, as they exist today, in all their complexity, to build the kind of cohesion that comes from giving gives every community member a voice.  This is made possible by combining the concept of the local Town Meeting with special convening methods that include and honor all voices, while producing effective and collaborative outcomes. Sometimes we say we are only doing what people have been doing around campfires for millennia -- the difference is that we are now doing this with extremely diverse groups of people in a world that is more complex than ever before.

Where do these new Convening Methodologies come from?

In spite of cynicism about governmental structures, people have continued to experiment with building community and collaboration among diverse groups of people, and they have learned a lot about what works and why.  Such efforts have been made in a variety of contexts: in visionary communities around the world, in enlightened business enterprises, even in isolated villages, some cut off entirely from the global economy.  The principles and methodologies of successful group interaction have been articulated and developed in various experimental settings; they have been studied in universities and institutions of higher learning, investigated by group psychologists, practiced by corporations and corporate consultants to build more effective global profit-making enterprises, implemented by armed forces to develop more effective military strategies and teamwork, and utilized by visionary communities and institutions to build successful collaborative institutions and ventures.  Some of these methods have been handed down by societies that have practiced them successfully in isolated contexts for millennia.

All of this work and research has resulted in a collection of community-building tools based on a set of identifiable and applicable principles and practices.  Many of these methods have now been thouroughly tested and utilized in cultures all around the world, including contexts characterized by intense conflict.  There is much evidence that to show that many of the methods are culturally independent.

NAN brings these methodologies to the task of building a local community-based global governance structure, allowing for the participation of individuals in self-governance in ways that America’s founding founders, for example, could never have imagined, and in ways that organizations like the United Nations are finding increasingly necessary to approach today’s most pressing issues, which have equally important global and local aspects.