I have almost completed recruiting panelists for my new project on Human Migration. All of the panelists I have recruited are enthusiastic about the project. But I am still looking for one or two more. I have been asked to explain many aspects of IF and its discussion process during this time. And yet, I got a new question recently: ‘What’s in it for the panelists?’
My answer was three-fold. First, the panelists get intellectual enjoyment from their discussions. Our discussion process focuses on the generation, exploration, and development of contrasting conceptual policy possibilities. This is a very creative process, and many panelists find it enjoyable. Second, the panelists often acquire a deeper and fuller understanding of the area of concern as well as a deeper and fuller knowledge of the possibilities for public policies pertaining to it. Third, the panelists perform a public service for their fellow citizens. Our reports are prepared by citizens for other interested citizens to discuss. They are doing staff-work for the public—just like the people on senate, congressional, and military staffs do staff work for our senators, congressman, and military leaders—and it helps to improve our democracy.
This is my perspective about what is in it for our panelists. But what is yours? I am especially interested to hear what former panelists have to say. (You do not have to identify yourself, we honor our confidentiality agreements).