Martha McCoy – Executive Director of Everyday Democracy (formerly the Study Circles Resource Center) in Connecticut, USA – will be a key note speaker at the Adult Learning Australia’s 48th National Conference – Social Inclusion – Engaging the Disengaged in Life-wide Learning, to be held at The Esplanade Hotel, Fremantle, from October 31st to November 1st, 2008.
Sponsors for the Conference include:
• Western Australia Department of Education and Training
• Western Australia Department for Communities
• South Australian Department of Further Education, Employment, Science & Technology
• Queensland Government Department of Education, Training & the Arts
Martha McCoy has made important contributions to the fields of deliberative democracy, community problem solving, and racial justice. began at Everyday Democracy in 1991, becoming its director in 1995. She helped take it from a small, start-up organisation to its current strength, with 13 full-time staff members, associates across the USA, and a network of hundreds of communities. Under Martha’s leadership, Everyday Democracy has become respected as a organisation that excels in helping local communities build their own capacity to organise large-scale, diverse dialogue for problem solving.
Under her direction, Everyday Democracy is at the leading edge of connecting public dialogue to collective action and democratic governance.
Martha and Everyday Democracy have won a number of awards. In June 1996, Martha was awarded the YWCA of the U.S.A. Racial Justice Award for Civil/Human Rights. In 1997, the Los Angeles City Council recognised her and the centre for assisting in the city’s ongoing dialogue efforts to build working relationships among the city’s many diverse cultures. Also in 1997, the center received the first Making Democratic Work Award from the League of Women Voters of Oklahoma, for a statewide study circle program on criminal justice that led to groundbreaking legislation. In 1998, Martha and the organisation were invited to work with President Clinton’s Initiative on Race, which named study circles as one of the top four “best practices” in race dialogue.
Martha serves on the steering committee for the National Alliance Bridging Race and Ethnicity, the advisory committee of the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity, the steering committee for the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, and the board of the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation, the national advisory board for the Public Conversations Project. She is the advisory editor for the community building department of the National Civic Review.