Deep Democracy Institute

FAQ- Untying the knots


(And Some Infrequently Asked Questions Too)

Below are our answers to some questions that we received over these last months. Many relate to the current focus of our work in the Middle East, and especially to our Palestinian Training Program. We appreciate the opportunity to answer them here. If you have questions that you would like us to answer, please write to:


Question: There are many groups that use the term Deep Democracy. How are you different from them and what is your affiliation to the founders of Deep Democracy, Arnold and Amy Mindell?

"Deep Democracy", a concept developed by Arnold Mindell in 1988, is a key concept in a new paradigm called Process Work.

In the 20 years since its formulation, Deep Democracy has crossed over and is being applied by many other groups and individuals, in addition to the professional Process Work community. Among them are well known politicians like Ralph Nader and Hillary Clinton. Many of these groups focus on one aspect of Deep Democracy, for example the idea that the "ruling" majority needs more relationship to the "ruled" minority, etc.

In the field of these groups, the Deep Democracy Institute International, headquartered in Portland, prides itself on being the one that is closest to the complete, original concepts, applying them in areas of collective and individual transformation. We belong to IAPOP the worldwide community of Deep Democracy practitioners, who like us are interested in researching, studying and applying these original concepts, and have undergone a rigorous IAPOP affiliated training.

We very much appreciate the various spinoffs, and look forward to connecting and working with more of them.

If you would like to know more about this, read our Deep Democracy and the Deep Democracy Institute page.

Question: Where do you stand in regard to the Middle Eastern conflict, the role of Israel, Iran, the USA, the Jihadists, and other political groups?

We teach a leadership, coaching and business development course in Palestine. We hope it will add value to the local entrepreneurial and community building skillsets, which will in turn help the region to grow economically. We are not involved in taking political sides in the conflict. When traveling to and from Palestine, and working in Palestine, we respect the various legal conditions that the governments of the USA, Israel, and the Palestinian National Authority impose. This is what we belief our contribution to more stability in the region.

Because you work in Palestine, we would especially like to know where you stand in regard to Israel? Why are you working in Palestine and not in Israel?

We were invited to work in Palestine and took up the offer, as we do in every region that asks, provided we can find a grant or means to support the program. If we are invited to set up a program in Israel, we will do so.

Question: We hear so much about terrorism these days, and especially in association with some of the regions in which you are working. How do we know that a donation that we make won't fall into the hands of groups that mean our country harm?

Your donations are given to DDI. DDI uses donations to sponsor the development and delivery of training programs. The money that is transferred to Palestine is used exclusively to establish and run the program. Our accounts are open to inspection by every donor.

In addition, we comply with the policies of the US State Department.  We ask that all of our co-workers in all countries submit photocopies of their passports. We check all of these submissions with the State Department's lists of excluded people. This is a procedure that in essence, we also follow when working with any organization or academic institution. Although first and foremost, we trust our friends, we believe that this measure shows compliance with US government policies, and provides realistic accountability towards our donors and supporters.

Question: How does the work that you do help with global warming and environmental problems?

A leadership culture that is open to a facilitative approach will support the need to understand and work with global warming, climate change, and environmental issues. An important aspect of our training program involves working with a complex experience that includes both material facts and non-measurable emotional experiences: Earth-based psychology is an important element of our work, which allows individuals to develop new and respectful relationships to nature, and to hear and follow her guidance. Green and Brown Politics.

Question: How do you deal with your own security issues when you work in these regions? Is it safe?

We make a risk management analysis that includes what we hear from our friends that live in the specified region, news (especially from BBC, which we have found to be highly reliable), statistics regarding incidents that have and might occur, and travel assessment from the US state department. We have a conservative approach: If we feel after considering these sources that the risk factor for travel into a particular region is higher than 5%, we don't go.

Question: The term "Deep Democracy" might suggest a political flavor. Are you a left wing group? 

No, we are not. Deep Democracy is a term that refers to a perspective that values all information that is present in a given system, and doesn't favour one political viewpoint over another, but rather facilitates their relationship.

Question: Are you a right wing group that is trying to export American/Western values under the umbrella of leadership?

No, we are not. America is a diverse culture that in essence has a lot to contribute to global leadership. However, our methodology is meant to appreciate and support the development of local leadership paradigms and assist in finding new relationships to global development. For an example of how this plays out, please see our Traffic and Health Leadership Programs for Sierra Leone.

Question: You teach beside self-discovery and awareness also more mainstream entrepreneurial skills - how do you value wealth, material development, and individual initiative?

Many groups, organizations, and individuals, have a primary orientation towards the commercial world. We value and support them and their orientation in the same way that we value and support many other groups with diverse orientations, for example spiritual groups, government and non-government groups. We believe they all have much to contribute to happiness on the planet, and should collaborate more with each other.

Question: How much money do your facilitators and trainers make?

Our facilitators and trainers agree to work without pay, and pay their own expenses as a contribution to DDI. In the case that we secure a grant or donation for a project, they are being paid standard facilitation fees, depending on the level of experience.

Question: Your model uses a particular framework - Deep Democracy - which has its own philosophy, theory, and methodology. This makes us nervous. We would rather see something more eclectic to assure us that this is not a sect.

No, we are not a sect. Worldwork is an interdisciplinary approach that as such is highly eclectic. Its loose framework allows ample space for individual interpretation. Muslims, Jews, Christians, business people, community activists, academics, government groups, and the law enforcement groups also use our services.

Question: Does your method explain why some people think that Elvis lives, and others deny it?

This is a complex question that cannot be answered easily. We are working on formulating an answer that is consistent with our basic theoretical concepts, including Quantum Mechanics.  :-) in the meantime, we are using the question to show, that we believe humor has a role to play in all of working together on the pressing issues of our planet.

Question: How do we get a training program started in the region in which we live?

Write to us. If you are really into it, we will be too!

Question: Aren't you naive to think that a few courses can impact a region? Especially one that is in the midst of many complex and difficult economic, social and political processes!

Yes, we believe that what finally brings growth and happiness to a given region is the result of many groups and people working towards these goals, even if the groups have differences in many areas. In this respect, we believe we add value. Change happens from the ground up, leaders help us partially by reflecting back to us where we are in terms of our individual and collective development.

Question: Some regions in which you are working seems to call for conflict resolution. With all of the political unrest, why do you not work with conflict resolution?

We focus on leadership, business and community development, and if asked we make conflict resolution a core part of our program. The community and learner decides what we offer, not us.

Question: Do you also create training programs that will result in an academic degree?

Yes, we are currently exploring various options for conducting our present Palestinian program and our upcoming programs in the Ukraine and in East Africa as academic programs that will result in a Master degree.

Leadership DevelopmentOrganizational Myth

TYPO3 Cumulus Flash tag cloud by TYPO3-Macher - die TYPO3 Dienstleister (based on WP Cumulus Flash tag cloud by Roy Tanck) requires Flash Player 9 or better.

  • Tip A Friend
  • Print

Discovering Innate Solutions