Each year, major issues of concern are identified by the NIF network. Issue discussion guides, which provide an overview of the subject and present several approaches, are prepared to frame the deliberative work.

By offering citizens a framework for deliberative forums, the NIF network helps the public take an active role in policy decision making. The health of this nation's democratic enterprise depends on the active participation of responsible citizens who take the initiative to deliberate about the public policy choices and to set the public agenda.

Forums are organized by civic, service, and religious organizations as well as by libraries, colleges, universities and high schools, literacy and leadership programs, prisons, businesses, labor unions, and senior groups. The network of convening institutions is both large and diverse. NIF participants vary considerably in age, race, gender, economic status, and geographic location. Studies of NIF deliberation tell us that every type of citizen seeks out and participates in these public forums.

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