The "Southwestern PA Program for Deliberative Democracy" grew out of an initiative in 2001-3 to develop next generation online tools for citizen deliberation. CMU received a major grant from the National Science Foundation to create the Virtual Agora (later developed as Project PICOLA).
The program was tested at CMU during a nation-wide Deliberative Poll(R) conducted by Jim Fishkin and the PBS By the People project.
After a few years in the field on online deliberation, project PI Robert Cavalier established what is now called The Program for Deliberative Democracy at Carnegie Mellon to serve the civic needs of the area for a more informed public input process. He teamed up with Greg Crowely from the Coro Center for Civic Leadership and the Southwestern PA Program for Deliberative Democracy was founded in 2003.
Key long-term program personnel include Dr. Tim Dawson. Tim developed the idea of a Deliberative Threatre that was used in a WQED Forum called "Managing Marcellus." He also designed a Moderator Agenda script to ensure consistency across multiple group discussions. Dr. Kenya Dorwkin worked with us in bringing the principles and practices of deliberative democracy to various leaders in the Cuban Democracy movement.
Kathy Smith, Esq. sponsored and promoted a number of the Program's Forums to the Philadephia area. And Liz Style managed many of our Projects as well as championing the use of Deliberative Forums in the City government of Pittsburgh.
Thanks are also given to our many funders and all those who worked in content capacities and support capacities over the years.