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Will Friedman, Ph.D
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Will Friedman, Ph.D. is the president of Public Agenda, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that partners with citizens and leaders to navigate complex and divisive issues and work together toward solutions. He joined the organization in 1994, became associate director of research in 1996 and founded its public engagement department in 1997.

Dr. Friedman has overseen Public Agenda's steady and expanding stream of work aimed at helping communities and states build capacity to tackle tough issues in more inclusive, deliberative and collaborative ways. In 2007, he established Public Agenda's Center for Advances in Public Engagement (CAPE), which conducts action research and evaluation to assess the impacts of public engagement and improve its practice.

Dr. Friedman is the author or co-author of numerous publications including "Reframing Framing," "Transforming Public Life: A Decade of Public Engagement in Bridgeport, CT," "Deliberative Democracy and the Problem of Scope," "Deliberative Democracy and the Problem of Power" and "From Employee Engagement to Civic Engagement: Exploring Connections between Workplace and Community Democracy." He is the co-editor, with Public Agenda chairman and co-founder Daniel Yankelovich, of the book, Toward Wiser Public Judgment, published in February 2011 by Vanderbilt University Press. Will is also a co-author of Everyone at the Table: Engaging Teachers in Evaluation Reform, forthcoming from Jossey-Bass in spring 2013.

Entries by Will Friedman, Ph.D

South Australia: Innovators in Democracy and Public Engagement

(1) Comments | Posted July 20, 2015 | 10:58 AM

If, as the quip goes, democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others, that doesn't mean we should accept its limitations. And we haven't. Through long and hard struggle, for example, voting rights have been...

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Less Divided than We Look

(0) Comments | Posted July 28, 2014 | 5:03 PM

Are we becoming a more polarized people, as a new and important study from the Pew Research Center seems to demonstrate? In spite of the hype surrounding this new research, I argue that the public is not as polarized as a cursory reading of the Pew study would...

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Revitalizing Democracy, Community by Community

(0) Comments | Posted June 27, 2013 | 11:08 AM

At the level of national politics, the American democracy is in clear crisis. Rampant gridlock and partisan bickering undermine progress and earn the mistrust and frustration of the populace. Fortunately, a better story is unfolding in many local settings, where public officials and community-based leaders can make a real difference...

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Failure to Compromise: Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

(2) Comments | Posted April 5, 2013 | 11:52 AM

The Super Committee. The debt ceiling. Multiple fiscal cliffs. The sequester. We've added a lot of new vocabulary to the cultural lexicon for what boils down to this: Our nation's leaders routinely and repeatedly fail to work together and compromise to solve problems.

Not only do we have to...

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Post-Sandy New York: A Model for Collaboration in Problem Solving

(1) Comments | Posted January 7, 2013 | 2:33 PM

Former Mayor Ed Koch once said that "New York is the city where the future comes to rehearse." While he spoke these words in 1986, they have perhaps never been truer than they are today. As the city shapes its future post-Sandy, can it also become a role...

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Lessons Learned From High-Poverty, High-Achieving Schools

(5) Comments | Posted December 20, 2012 | 11:36 AM

Too often, we fall into a negativity trap when it comes to our country's education system. It's certainly easy to focus on the things we do wrong. But we have a lot to celebrate as well. And leveraging those reasons to celebrate offers an important angle on how to improve...

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