The Interactivity Foundation’s Fellows not only organize but also participate in many types of discussions. Ieva Notturno and Mark Notturno, for example, participated in The Power of Conversation Symposium at Columbia University in NYC on July 10th, which was superbly co-chaired by Ronald Gross and Elizabeth Cohn.
The symposium was limited to 40 invited participants. But there was an overflow and a second session was organized later in the month to accommodate all of the people who applied. The participants at our session represented a great variety of conversations, including Café Philos (www.nycafephilo.org/ ), Death Cafes (www.deathcafe.com), Socrates Cafes, (www.philosopher.org/Socrates_Cafe.html), The Family Dinner Project (http://thefamilydinnerproject.org/), Book Clubs (www.ReadersCircle.org), Conversation Cafes ( http://www.conversationcafe.org/), Happiness Clubs (www.happinessclub.com), and Socratic Conversations (http://www.socratesway.com/join.html). Check out their websites, and you may be inspired to join some of these conversations or organize one on your own.
Some participants represented networks, such as The National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (www.ncdd.org) and the National Dialogue Network (www.nationaldialoguenetwork.org/). Others represented smaller organizations or even themselves, such as a poet in New York, who asks strangers she meets while riding the subway to write a poem for her—and most of them do!
Conversations New York (www.conversationsnewyork.com) is a strictly volunteer initiative. So I am especially impressed by its ambitious goal of organizing a hundred different conversations in New York City each day to enhance the quality of life for New Yorkers with more and better conversations. They are helping America talk, not just chatter.
Finally, just a shout out to my colleague, Mark Notturno, who received an email from the symposium organizers after the event saying that he had won their most valuable participant award.