Kyle Bozentko

Kyle Bozentko

Executive Director, Jefferson Center

Kyle Bozentko brings over a decade of civic engagement, public policy, and political organizing experience to oversee the strategic, organizational, and programmatic development of the Jefferson Center. He has worked with a range of organizations including the Minnesota Historical Society, The Farr Institute at the University of Manchester (UK), and the Consultation and Response Agency of the Dept. of Premier and Cabinet in South Australia to strengthen their public participation and civic engagement initiatives. Projects have included topics such as strengthening local government, improving media engagement and collaboration, determining conditions for sharing and protecting patient health data, and deciding whether or not to pursue nuclear waste storage. Kyle’s work has been published in GOVERNING Magazine, MinnPost, and in the Independent Sector blog. His experiences have led him around the world speaking with audiences on the opportunities and challenges for effective democratic innovation and civic engagement. Kyle also serves on the Board of Directors of the International Association of Public Participation USA (IAP2 USA), as Co-Chair of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium Executive Committee, on the Board of the Coalition on Recovery Investment (CORI – MN), and on the Mnsure Health Industry Advisory Committee.

Why do you believe innovations in participatory democracy are important?

We are witnessing continued decline of trust in institutions, media, and governments. It is critical that we identify and cultivate new opportunities for communities and citizens to work together to shape policies, identify and advance community goals and priorities, and demonstrate that the work of democracy isn’t limited to the halls of legislatures and government councils. Innovations in participatory democracy are essential for strengthening our communities and our democracies. This is especially necessary when our political environment can feel, at best, damaged and, at worst, endangered.

 

What do you hope to see at the 2018 Innovations in Participatory Democracy Conference?

I’m excited about IPD because there are so many advances currently being made in these fields – this is an exciting time to be doing democracy work! IPD will be a fantastic opportunity to connect with practitioners from a wide range of methods and backgrounds. I’m looking forward to learning from others about how various approaches can bring citizens and community members into decision-making and exploring how both institutional and informal uses of deliberation and participation can strengthen our democracy.