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REF NO.: 71

SUBJECT: Memorial University event to explore the power of civic engagement in democracy
DATE: Feb. 5, 2013

An upcoming Memorial Presents public policy forum in St. John’s will explore the importance, challenges and triumphs of civic engagement in the university, the province, the country and around the world.
Engaging Citizens: The Power of Collaboration in Democracy will take place Thursday, Feb. 13, beginning at 7:30 p.m. (NST), in IIC-2001 in the Bruneau Centre for Innovation and Research (previously known as the Inco Innovation Centre), on Memorial University’s St. John’s campus. All are welcome to attend the free event, which will also be simultaneously webcast live on the Harris Centre website, www.mun.ca/harriscentre
The forum will feature leading local and international civic engagement thinkers:
·         Dr. Stanley Deetz, director, Centre for the Study of Conflict, Collaboration and Creative Governance, University of Colorado at Boulder, Colo.
·         David Cochrane, provincial affairs reporter and host of On Point, CBC Television 
·         Dr. Scott Matthews, associate professor, Department of Political Science, Memorial University of Newfoundland
·         Dr. Janna Rosales, visiting assistant professor, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Memorial University of Newfoundland
 
It is a commonly held perception that many forms of civic participation are dwindling, ranging from declining election turnout to the dying off of long-standing community institutions, leading to a growing disconnect between individuals and their community and a growing democratic deficit. The panellists will challenge this notion and explore how and why some forms of civic engagement have lagged – such as voter turnout – while others have flourished, as well as the role of universities, media and politicians in promoting civic engagement and citizenship.
Dr. Deetz, who has written numerous books on civic engagement including the award-winning Democracy in the Age of Corporate Colonization, tells his students at the University of Colorado that “as a society we have a moral and practical commitment to some form of effective democracy.” Moral in that people have a right to have a say in matters that affect them, and practical in that embracing the complexity and messiness of democracy leads to better long-term results. Dr. Deetz preaches, and practises around the world, the importance of being engaged and works to engage as many voices as possible in community decision-making, both from a theoretical and practical perspective.
Alongside Dr. Deetz, the expert panel will augment his global perspective with stories of national and local civic engagement both good and bad from the role of the university in educating citizens to declining voter turnout and politicians behaving badly.
The event is being presented in collaboration with Engage Memorial, a week of events launching Memorial’s new Public Engagement Framework, from Feb. 12-15. See www.mun.ca/publicengagement for more details.

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