National Issues Forums

The NIF network is open to everyone interested in the practice of group deliberation. Here you’ll find conveners (those who organize forums), trained moderators, and participants from all walks of life. With the support of the institute, they self-organize into short-term groups, such as independent discussion groups and study circles, or ongoing larger groups like Network Partners created by existing community-based organizations.

The institute’s central activity is to publish and distribute an ongoing series of Issue Guides and videos that prepare you for thoughtful discussion of many of today’s thorniest problems—healthcare, immigration, Social Security, and racial strife.

Moderators and conveners find our resources indispensable in organizing, leading and advertising their forums for public deliberation. We also provide guidelines for those who wish to frame their own issues.

To keep the network and policymakers current, we publish reports about forum outcomes. The NIF newsletters also help individuals and groups learn about what is happening in the network.

Rooted in the American tradition of cooperative research, Kettering’s primary question is: what does it take to make democracy work as it should? Its research focuses on what people can do collectively to address problems affecting their lives, their communities, and their nation. That research goes into the NIF’s Issue Guides; it’s also shared with the network as practical information.