Painting the Landscape: An International Exploration of Public-Government Decision Making

PublicDecisions Practical Insights Webinar Series

Thursday, 9 September 2010, 18:30 Eastern (New York) / 22:30 GMT
(90 minutes)

Free. A Circle Club members-only event.*

In 2005 the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) and The Charles F. Kettering Foundation began work on a joint research project exploring public-government decision making in seven country/regions of the world: Africa, Asia, Australasia, Canada, Latin America, UK/Western Europe and the United States. This monumental effort has provided a unique, cross-cultural perspective of the social, political and institutional dimensions of public participation at both the national and regional levels.

The IAP2-KF project presented an opportunity to gain a broader understanding of how the public is engaged in decision making and deliberative practices through processes led by government in countries around the world. The rich data that was collected paints a distinctive portrait of each country and region—distinctive because of the cultural values, traditions and histories unique to each place, and distinctive also because of the similarities in participatory practices that can be drawn across the data sample. Moreover, IAP2 and the foundation seek through this study to provide a baseline for mapping how cultural context potentially impacts such processes.

Join study co-authors Beth Offenbacker and Shareen Springer for an overview of the study and its recently published findings, and an interactive discussion about the potential implications of this landmark work.

Desley Renton, current President of IAP2, will speak briefly about IAP2 and the role of research in its mission.

Dr. Lyn Carson, Board Member of IAP2 and an instrumental part of the IAP2-KF research project team, will also participate in the session.

Practical Insights is an occasional PublicDecisions series that showcases new research with practical implications for stakeholder engagement.

About our presenters

Dr. Beth Offenbacker is founder and chief learning officer at, which uses social media and other technology to connect people with best practices, emerging trends and leading thinkers in stakeholder engagement through an array of distinctive online programs. She was the coordinator for the IAP2-KF research project from 2005-2010 and co-authored the final project report with Shareen Springer. An award-winning scholar/author, Dr. Offenbacker will be a post-doctoral fellow starting in fall 2010 at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University's Center for Public Administration and Policy (CPAP), where she will conduct research on public engagement in the fields of transportation, land use, the environment and health and also carry out engagement projects in these subject areas on the university's behalf for public and nonprofit organizations.

Since 2001, Shareen Springer has worked with a variety of government agencies and nonprofit organizations to establish productive, collaborative partnerships between local governments and the communities impacted by planning and decision-making efforts. Her recent work has focused on supporting active community engagement processes that expand the reach of public involvement efforts to include diverse and nontraditional participations including rural populations, youth and tribal groups through hands-on outreach and strategic visioning efforts. Shareen has worked with a variety of rural and urban communities throughout Oregon, Montana as well as abroad to develop meaningful opportunities for effective community engagement. Shareen holds a Masters degree in Community and Regional Planning as well as a graduate certificate in Not-for-Profit Management from the University of Oregon. She currently works as a consultant with JLA Public Involvement based out of Portland, Oregon.



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