2020 has been a challenging year, on so many fronts. It is gratifying to be able to report that the group I work with at the Kettering Foundation and the National Issues Forums Institute has been able to rise to the challenge. We worked as never before, and the team were able to produce needed materials that respond to the moment, all throughout the year.
Here is what we published this year, in reverse chronological order.
What should we do to address unprecedented challenges that may hinder future generations from leading successful and economically secure lives?
This guide raises crucial questions for which there are no easy answers.
Will the next generation, like those before it, be able to build an economically secure future, or will it face too many unprecedented challenges that undercut its prospects?
Should present-day priorities be more important than our obligations to future generations?
Is the next generation receiving the education and support it needs to succeed?
Are there disparities that we should be addressing today to enable future generations to prosper tomorrow?
Each issue guide comes with an introductory video that lays out the topic and introduces the options for deliberation. I am especially proud of the video work this team was able to do this year, under COVID-19 restrictions and with great care. This one, the most recent, is particularly good:
The team of colleagues that I have been working with to develop these materials is remarkably talented and insightful, and has grown to be a second family. I am grateful to have had this opportunity to do meaningful work to further the public good.
Kettering creates these issue guides for the National Issues Forums network to use in deliberative forums that people all across the country (and world) convene. In these forums, people talk about and make decisions on many of the most difficult questions facing our communities. Issues like health care, immigration, public safety and policing, and more.
In the past ten years we have produced 52 such documents. A conservative estimate suggests that more than 40,000 people have used these materials over the years, in group settings in communities all over.
While these publications are almost always brief, a great deal of research goes into them including in-depth conversations with ordinary people from all walks of life, and scans of strategic facts and the main arguments being made about each issue. This document describes the process, so anyone could do it in their own community or network.
I am thankful to have reached this milestone. There is much more to be done, but this has been a start.