Carolyn Lukensmeyer moves to National Institute for Civil Discourse, Steve Brigham to be new President of AmericaSpeaks
AmericaSpeaks announced today (PDF) that its founder Carolyn Lukensmeyer will be stepping away from her position as President of the organization, to become Executive Director of the National Institute of Civil Discourse at the University of Arizona.
Carolyn has one of the strongest voices and has been one of the strongest leaders for participatory democracy and community engagement, in particular through her work with AmericaSpeaks. She has also been an integral part in starting the Campaign for Stronger Democracy by being a core organizer of the Strengthening Our Nation’s Democracy convenings, as well as serving on the Campaign’s executive committee.
In her farewell note on the AmericaSpeaks blog, Carolyn writes about the inspirational aspects of democracy work, but notes that work must be done in order to make democracy work for everyone:
Democracy work in this country is really challenging, even exhausting, but the rewards are awe-inspiring. It is a treasure to experience people discovering their ability to make a difference in the decisions that most impact their lives. To see them feel truly empowered and motivated to stay engaged in the public life of their communities and our nation. Unfortunately, these experiences are still the exception rather than the norm.
The Campaign’s executive director Peter Hardie shared his thoughts:
Carolyn has helped guide the Campaign for Stronger Democracy through its start-up by anchoring the project in the AmericaSpeaks offices, and was instrumental in convincing me to join the Campaign. Her clarity about the connection of deliberative practice to the state of democracy has made her an appreciated voice among democracy advocates and reformers alike, and certainly to me. We are pleased and thrilled that Carolyn and NICD will be making great things happen together in the future.
The National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation also posted a reaction to the news on their blog.
Steve Brigham will be the new President of AmericaSpeaks effective July 1. Steve has served as the Chief Operating Officer for AmericaSpeaks for the past seven years, and is a fantastic choice to carry on the mission of the organization. Keep an eye on the AmericaSpeaks blog for more information on Steve (and we’ll certainly update this space in the near future).
We wish Carolyn the best at the National Institute for Civil Discourse, though she is not going away completely as she will still serve on the Board of Directors at AmericaSpeaks. We also look forward to working with Steve and the rest of AmericaSpeaks as we continue to push for a stronger democracy.