The Program for Deliberative Democracy

The Program for Deliberative Democracy strives to improve public decision-making through informed citizen deliberations. The Program utilizes the prinicples and practices of deliberative democracy to create a protocol based setting for informed and well-structured conversations.

Program announces the The Art of Democracy

The initiative is housed at Carnegie Mellon University within the Center for Ethics and Policy. There are two main outreach activities of the Program: DeliberativeCommunity Forums and Deliberative Campus Forums.

By providing background materials from the deliberative events and a report on the deliberation results to the press, libraries, community organizations and in other public venues, we believe that we can raise the level of community-wide awareness of and involvement in the pressing issues of social choice that face us in our lives as citizens. We have also found that deliberative democratic practice not only informs stakeholders of what our citizens think, but it also empowers individuals and strenghtens civic engagement.

In 2008 the program received a Good Government Award from the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh. In 2013 Mayor Bill Peduto endorced a recommendation that Pittsburgh become a center for deliberative democracy. In 2014 the City introduced Deliberative Community Forums and, with a newly formed PDD spin-off consulting group, produced a Handbook (2016). Today the program is working with Kenya Dworkin (CubaCivica) and Public Agenda on a far reaching initiative to introduce deliberative democracy in Cuba.


Robert Cavalier
Carnegie Mellon University


Citizen Forums

The Issue of Abortion and Clinic Regulations


Report from PA Deliberative Forum


Campus Conversation (with a focus on Campus Reproductive Resources).

Selecting a New Police Chief for the City of Pittsburgh


Pittsburgh uses deliberative forums to validate and comment upon the selection criteria for selecting its new Chief of Police.

Too Many Patients, Too Few Resources


State of Maryland citizen deliberations on the allocation of scarce medical resources during a public health disaster.

Managing Marcellus: A Deliberative Theatre

Fall 2011

An innovative approach to the challenges and opportunities of The Marcellus Shale, produced by WQED.

Local Government at the Crossroads

September 25, 2010

A public discussion about municipal services in Allegheny County, supported by The Pittsburgh Foundation.

The Issue of Marriage In America

September 27, 2008

The first ever statewide deliberative poll on same-sex marriage.

South Pittsburgh Initiative

Spring-Summer 2007

A district-level deliberative poll on issues of relevance to City Council as well as local organizations and associations.

Campus Conversations

The nation's first systematic use of deliberative polling techniques at the college and university level. Topics have included "Faculty Course Evaluations," "Public Art Policy" and "Climate Change and Campus Policy."


The Program for Deliberative Democracy is an independent, non-partisan organization devoted to the deliberation of issues that shape the lives and future of people in our region.

This website links to pages on other sites, which are provided only for the convenience of the user. We have no responsibility for, or control of, external websites linked from this site. The inclusion of any linked site does not necessarily imply approval of every detail in such sites.

© Copyright 2005 Program for Deliberative Democracy