A citizen consensus council is a microcosm of a larger population where citizens talk about issues of common concern at a deep level. It is usually a group of 12 - 24 diverse citizens selected at random from, or to be demographically representative of) their organization, community, country, etc.
A citizen consensus council deliberates about issues concerning the population from which it was selected, and is facilitated to a consensus about how to address those issues. Its final statement is released both to appropriate authorities and to the larger population it represents, usually through the media. After that, the council usually disbands.
A citizen consensus council is:
- a group of citizens whose diversity reflects that of a larger population
- facilitated to a consensus.
- not representative in the usual political sense i.e. participants aren't speaking for anyone but themselves
It is the dynamics between diversity and consensus that generate the level of 'people's wisdom' that is so powerfully present in this approach.
However, they can and should bring every aspect of themselves to the table, including whatever perspectives they happen to share with the groups they lead or are part of. Their role as participants in a citizen consensus council - which they can best serve simply by being themselves - is to collectively embody the diverse perspectives and capacities of the larger population from which they were collectively drawn. As they learn that the interests of the groups they're each associated with will be taken care of by the process of dialogue and consensus, they can ease up on their assertiveness and position-holding, freeing the consensus council to discover deeper, newer ways to engage with the issues they face.
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