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Public Policy Institute forum to be held Oct. 6 and 7

September 12, 2000

The public is invited to join community leaders, teachers and public administrators from around the state for the fourth annual South Carolina Public Policy Institute on Friday, Oct. 6 and Saturday, Oct. 7 in the Wall Auditorium at Coastal Carolina University. Two topics will be deliberated: "Public Schools: Are They Making the Grade?" and "A Nice Place to Live: Creating Communities, Fighting Sprawl." The fee to participate in the forum is $69.

Forums are held each year around the country in cooperation with the Kettering Foundation, a national research organization that studies what it takes to make democracy work as it should.

"The purpose of the Public Policy Institute is to teach communities to develop and establish town meeting-style forums based on the deliberative process," says Jennifer Shinaberger of Coastal's Division of Extended Learning and Public Services, which has joined with 26 other colleges, universities and civic groups across the country to offer the program. The deliberative process helps people voice their concerns and opinions in a structured setting. By learning this constructive method for discussing complex topics, people can apply the method to other issues facing their communities, according to Shinaberger.

Through this process, citizens weigh the pros and cons of specific issues and identify concerns they hold in common. "In debates we often argue and insist on our own point of view," says Shinaberger. "In the deliberative process, participants listen carefully to the views of others and talk through conflicts that arise when people disagree, finding common ground and making decisions together." Public Policy Institutes have led to solutions for many chronic and divisive problems that civic leaders have previously deemed insoluble.

The event is sponsored by Coastal's Division of Extended Learning and Public Services and the University of South Carolina Institute of Public Affairs in partnership with National Issues Forums Institutes.< p> For more information, contact Jennifer Shinaberger in Coastal's Division of Extended Learning and Public Services at 349-2737 or visit the Web site