Executive Board

Alexander N. Christakis

After receiving his PhD in theoretical physics at Yale, Dr. Christakis worked with the Greek architect Constantine Doxiadis as urban planner, developing a scientific approach to planning and large scale design. In in the process Alexander (Aleco) convened and dialogued with many of the leading thinkers of the day, Buckminster Fuller, Arnold Toynbee, Margaret Mead, and the founders of the Club of Rome.  Aleco’s observation among these symposia, in the formation of the Club of Rome, and at the Battelle Institute was that very wise people conversed productively within their disciplines but not very well with people outside their disciplines.

Together with John Warfield at the Virginia and George Mason universities he designed the Interactive Management (IM) system for addressing very complex problems.  In 1989, he established his own consultancy dedicated to applying and testing IM in the arena for corporate practice.  In 2002, he co-founded the Institute for 21st Century Agoras,  dedicated to fostering an effective bottom-up and democratic approach to stakeholder solutions to civic crises.  Also in 2002, he served as President of the International Society for the Systems Sciences.

Dr. Christakis is the author of two key books on the theory and practice of Structured Dialogic Design: How People Harness Their Collective Wisdom and Power to Create the Future, and The Talking Point: Creating an Environment for Exploring Complex Meaning.  He serves on the Editorial Boards of Systems Research and Behavioral Sciences, Systems: Journal of Transdisciplinary Systems Science, and the Journal of Applied Systems Studies.  He is also the only non-Indigenous member on the Board of American for Indian Opportunity.

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Ambassador John W. McDonald

Ambassador John W. McDonald is a lawyer, diplomat, former international civil servant, development expert and peacebuilder, concerned about world social, economic and ethnic problems. He spent twenty years of his career in Western Europe and the Middle East and worked for sixteen years on United Nations economic and social affairs. He is currently Chairman and co-founder of the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy, in Washington D.C., which focuses on national and inter-national ethnic conflicts. In February, 1992, he was named Distinguished Visiting Professor at George Mason University’s Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, in Fairfax, Virginia.

McDonald retired from the Foreign Service in 1987, after 40 years as a diplomat. In 1987-88, he became a Professor of Law at The George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. He was Senior Advisor to George Mason University’s Center for Conflict Analysis and Resolution and taught and lectured at the Foreign Service Institute and the Center for the Study of Foreign Affairs. From December, 1988, to January, 1992, McDonald was President of the Iowa Peace Institute in Grinnell, Iowa and was a Professor of Political Science at Grinnell College.

In 1983, Ambassador McDonald joined the State Department’s newly formed Center for the Study of Foreign Affairs as its Coordinator for Multilateral Affairs, and lectured and organized symposia on the art of negotiation, multilateral diplomacy and international organizations. He has written or edited eight books on negotiation and conflict resolution.

From 1978-83, he carried out a wide variety of assignments for the State Department in the area of multilateral diplomacy. He was President of the INTELSAT World Conference called to draft a treaty on privileges and immunities; leader of the U.S. Delegation to the UN World Conference on Technical Cooperation Among Developing Countries, in Buenos Aires in 1978; Secretary General of the 27th Colombo Plan Ministerial Meeting; head of the U.S. Delegation which negotiated a UN Treaty Against the Taking of Hostages; U.S. Coordinator for the UN Decade on Drinking Water and Sanitation; head of the U.S. Delegation to UNIDO III in New Delhi in 1980; Chairman of the Federal Inter-Agency Committee for the UN’s International Year of Disabled Persons, 1981; U.S. Coordinator and head of the U.S. Delegation for the UN’s World Assembly on Aging, in Vienna, in 1982.

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LaDonna Harris

Ms. LaDonna Harris (Founding Board member) is a national leader in the areas of civil rights, the women’s movement, environmental protection, and world peace.  She is most well-known for her consistent and ardent advocacy on behalf of Native Americans.  Harris is founder and President of Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO), a national Native American advocacy organization located in Albuquerque New Mexico, USA.  For 35 years AIO has specialized in federal/tribal governmental relations and Native leadership development.  Harris helped to develop the Indigenous Leaders Interactive System an SDD-based process, to assist Native American communities in addressing complex contemporary issues as a means to developing future strategies.

Harris was a founding member of the National Urban Coalition and Common Cause.  She was an original convener of the first Women’s Political Caucus and helped organize the Global Tomorrow Coalition and Women for Meaningful Summits.  She also served on many U.S. Presidential commissions, including Carter’s Commission on Mental Health and Johnson’s National Council on Indian Opportunity.  She was appointed by Vice President Gore to the Advisory Council on the National Information Infrastructure.  In 1999, President Clinton appointed Harris to the Commission on the Contribution of Women to American History.

Harris has made numerous international presentations on the need for Indigenous peoples to maintain cultural and political autonomy in the face of globalization and to share the Native American experience of co-existence.  Most recently, Harris was a key presenter regarding the importance of diversity in building civil society at the Civil Society and Durable Development Conference held in Fez, Morocco.  Currently, she is engaged in the development of an international emerging Indigenous leaders exchange program which will help build an transnational alliance of Indigenous peoples.  Harris looks forward to contributing Indigeneity (Indigenous values and philosophies) to the modern world.

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Thomas Flanagan, Ph.D., MBA

Tom is president of the Institute for 21st Century Agoras.  He is also founder and director of the SouthCoast Community Collaborative Design Studio in Southeastern Massachusetts.  He is a board member and officer of the corporation of the Barrington Public Library, and has serveed on the Barrington School Board, the New Bedford Economic Development Council,  the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Alumni Council, and the Massachusetts Office of Dispute Resolution and Public Collaboration,

Tom’s background includes a doctorate in neurobiology with research, publications and patents from work he has led within academic and corporate R&D groups.  His management training from MIT’s Sloan School focused on partnership development.  He has worked in many highly innovative technical teams, and has founded and led non-profit and for profit ventures.  He has taught university students in business management, engineering, chemistry and biology, and he has pioneered an international online course in Democracy and Sustainability.

Tom’s recent management work has focused on university-industry-government linkages related to sustainable, technology-based regional economic development. His current design mission is tobring democratic design practices that have been validated in many organizations into broad civic use throughout the greater New Bedford area.

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Yiannis Laouris, Ph.D.

Yiannis is Senior Scientist and Chair of the Board of the Cyprus Neuroscience & Technology Institute (known also as the FWC: Future Worlds Center), where he and his team pioneer the further development of the science and application of structured democratic dialogue (SDD) to solve complex societal problems.  FWC organizes every year summer schools to train senior and younger facilitators in the science of dialogic design. Yiannis leads SDD sessions on topics such as accessibility for all to broadband services, safer internet related problems and challenges, educational reforms and curriculum development, youth initiatives and empowerment and others in European and global scale.

Yiannis has been a leader in the Cyprus unification process for almost 20 years.  Between 1994 and 1997 he was one of the “Bicommunal Conflict Resolution Trainers,” who introduced SDD to thousands of Cypriots thus facilitating the creation of a peace movement. In the years of an absolute communication ban between the two sides, his UN funded tech4peace project served as platform for information and training. In 2005, together with Aleco Christakis and Marios Michaelides, he applied SDD to re-engage peace builders in the process.

In 2009, 10 Cypriot cities employed SDD to uncover the root causes of their community difficulties in self-governance with the aim of redesigning the process of democratic participation. Currently, FWC in cooperation with Aleco Christakis is working with prominent civic figures in the Palestinian and Israeli communities to build mutual respect and resolve conflicts, on an EU-funded project called: Human Rights and Reconciliation – Civil Society Acts Beyond Borders. Yiannis also founded Cyberkids, a chain of computer learning centers for young children, which succeeded in introducing IT, embedded in concepts of creativity and social responsibility, to almost 10% of the country’s children population.

Yiannis is a trained neurophysiologist and systems scientist with a medical and PhD degree (Leipzig), an MS in Systems Engineering from the US and academic and research training in universities in Germany, US, Greece and Cyprus.

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Reynaldo Treviño-Cisneros

ReynaoldoReynaldo Trevino graduated in 1964 with a degree in chemical engineering and later earned his Master’s degree in Systems and Planning.  He was a Jesuit at the Mexican Province of the Societatis Iesu for eight years where he undertook advanced studies in Philosophy, focusing himself in Metaphysics, Theory of Knowledge and Epistemology.

He worked for 15 years at the Universidad Iberoamericana as a researcher and teacher, and developed educational programs for many different disciplines both at the Chemical Engineering Faculty and at the Center for Universitarian Integration.  In 1982, he became Numeral Professor at the Universidad Iberoamericana, campus Mexico City.

Reynaldo was researcher and later director at the Center for Strategic Studies at ITESM, Campus León.  With the collaboration of four fellow researchers, he produced the Study of Regional Development for the State of Guanajuato with a vision onto the 21st Century.  In 1994, he was one of the leaders of an international event named the First Interloquium in the colonial City of Guanajuato.  Some Nobel Prize winners and renowned international and national experts joined in using dialog design methodology to look for the interactions between the most relevant trends at the global and country levels. They attended this invitation to use structured and focused dialog processes for a new collective intelligence experience to the world.  After this, Reynaldo created four families of scenarios for the world, for Mexico and for the State of Guanajuato to 2010, which were later published as part of the Guanajuato, Siglo XXI, Regional Development Study. These scenarios are remarkable materials, which later helped to take governmental decisions at the regional and country levels.

From 2000 to 2004, Reynaldo was technical advisor at the Presidential Office for Public Policies during President Vicente Fox’s administration, and later in 2005 he became General Director for Economic and Social Policies.  He was the pioneer and inspirer of two great federal projects:  Prosoft, National Development of the Software Industry and Construction of a Unique Registry of Federal Programs Benefitiaries. Later in 2007, he was Director of Strategy for the Identity Card Project at the Mexican Ministry of Interior.  Today he is the Long Term Planning Director of the National System of Statistical and Geographical Information at the National Institute of Statistics and Geography in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

He has become an internationally recognized practitioner of the Structured Dialogic Design (SDD) approach to the solution of very complex problems.

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Eleanor M. Vogt R.Ph. PhD

Dr. Vogt’s career spans positions within academia, clinical pharmacy practice, the pharmaceutical industry, health policy and planning, regulatory affairs and patient advocacy. She is an internationally recognized leader in education for health professionals, policymakers and consumers. Dr. Vogt was appointed the 2004-2005 Presidential Chair at the University of California, San Francisco School of Pharmacy and currently is Health Sciences Clinical Professor.

Dr. Vogt served as Senior Fellow for The Institute for the Advancement of Community Pharmacy, established by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and The National Community Pharmacists Association (2000-2003). She served as Senior Fellow of the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) at the American Medical Association and was a member of the Foundation’s pioneer founding team (1997-2000).

Prior to joining the NPSF, Dr. Vogt served as Vice President for Public Policy for the National Pharmaceutical Council (an association of the major research-based pharmaceutical companies) for 12 years. She also served as Director of Policy and Program Development for The Milwaukee Regional Medical Center and was a tenured full professor of Health Policy and Community Affairs at the University of Wisconsin for 13 years.  Dr. Vogt practiced pharmacy in a variety of hospitals, clinic and long-term care settings and served as a consultant to academia, health planners and policymakers and, the U.S. Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Dr. Vogt received the Pinnacle Award for Career Achievement from the American Pharmacists Association Foundation in 2003 for her work in medication safety. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores honored Dr. Vogt with their 2004 Schwarz Pharma Leadership Award for Community Pharmacy.  She has been recognized nationally for her leadership in safe medication use in older adults by the National University Education Association and by the FDA in developing the precedent setting Pharmaceutical Safe Use Initiative. Dr. Vogt is a co-founder of the Women in Government (WIG) Legislative/Business Roundtable and is the recipient of WIG’s first Wings Award for outstanding service.

Dr. Vogt received her B.S. in Pharmacy from Creighton University; an M.Ed. in Adult Education from Boston University; and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Wisconsin.  She currently is a Board Member Emeritus of Women in Government and holds memberships in the American Pharmacists Association, The Drug Information Association, Research America, the Institute of Noetic Sciences, and the Ninety Nines – the International Association of Women Pilots.

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Peter H. Jones, Ph.D.

Peter Jones is managing partner of Dialogic Design International, an organizational and community design consultancy founded in 2007, with Drs. Christakis, Flanagan, and Bausch. He is also president of Redesign Research, Inc.  an innovation think tank based in Toronto and Dayton. Redesign conducts ethnographic and design research to guide innovations consistent with advancing systemic change in organizations, social systems and markets. Dr. Jones is a design faculty member at Toronto’s OCAD University, teaching and advising in the Strategic Foresight and Innovation graduate program.

Peter is Editor in Chief of a new scholarly book series, Design Emergence Media and Organization (DEMO). He wrote We Tried to Warn You: Innovations in Leadership for the Learning Organization, published in 2009 by Nimble Books. He published Team Design: A Practitioner’s Guide to Collaborative Innovation in 1998, revised 2002. He is currently writing Design for Care: Design as a Critical Healthcare Profession (Rosenfeld 2011, http://designforcare.com )

Peter completed his doctorate (2000) in Design and Innovation Management at The Union Institute, Cincinnati, and an MA in Human Factors Psychology from the University of Dayton. Articles are available at his blog site at: http://designdialogues.com.  Some of his many publications are:

  • Jones, PH. (2010). The Language/Action Model of Conversation: Can conversation perform acts of design? interactions, XVII.1, Jan-Feb 2010.
  • Jones, P.H. (2008). Socialization of practices in a process world: Toward participatory organizations. In Proceedings of Participatory Design 2008. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University.
  • Jones, P.H. (2002). When successful products prevent strategic innovation. Design Management Journal, 13 (2), 30.

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David Loye, Ph.D.

David is co-founder, with Ervin Laszlo of the General Evolution Research Group; co-founder of the Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology and the Life Sciences; co-founder with his wife Riane Eisler of The Center for Partnership Studies. He has founded a progressive Internet publishing company, the Benjamin Franklin Press www.benjaminfranklinpress.com.



David is author of many books including:

  • Darwin’s Second Revolution
  • The Healing of a Nation
  • The Knowable Future
  • The Sphinx and the Rainbow
  • Darwin’s Lost Theory of Love
  • An Arrow Through Chaos
  • with Riane Eisler The Partnership Way.

His Darwin Anniversary Cycle books are acclaimed as “revolutionary” and a “work of genius” by leading world scientists. His Moral Evolution Cycle probes the corruption and degradation of the American ideal and how we may reclaim the high road for human evolution.

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Marie J. Kane

Marie J. Kane is President of Executive Evolution and has been a corporate consultant and executive coach since 1981. She works with companies to develop and implement strategy, leverage the talent of their people and create optimal culture and communication. Her areas of expertise include leadership and management development, strategic thinking and planning, team development, change management and employee selection, retention and development. She also serves clients in conflict resolution, board development and a variety of profiles, assessments and surveys. Marie has worked with organizations from small to Fortune 500 corporations in both the public and private sectors in a variety of industries. She also volunteers her professional services to specific non-profit organizations as a contribution to the community.

Marie is author of  Skyrocket Your Sales and Profits,2010 and of  a self study system that shows small and medium size businesses how to effectively use surveys in market research, not only to gather market intelligence, but also to build relationships,  She is also author of The Crucial Difference Between Teams and Work Groups and How To Make Them More Effective, 2004 and of an extended series on leadership and the qualities of leaders for Competitive Edge Magazine in 2000 and 2001 including extensive interviews with CEO’s and other leaders.

She is creator of the “TEAMS” team assessment and development process (1997); and is creator and facilitator of “The Leader’s Way – Discovering the Inner Art of Leadership” program (1997).

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Roy Smith

In the year 2000, Roy retired from being an internal consultant in the Ford Motor Company Process Leadership Office.  He has substantial and long-term experience in working with groups on complexity.  For some years he gave an annual lecture at the City University School of Management that attracted a large crowd of students.  He is active in his local church and community, and use SDD in resolving difficulties and doing strategic planning with those groups

His evaluation of the effectiveness of Structured Dialogic Design is expressed as follows.   “In my view, SDD and CS II are very helpful evolutionary steps from ISM (Interpretive Structural Modeling).  In 2004 I wrote: “I learned of ISM in January 1995. Since then I have run some 150 workshops for about 1,400 participants. Ninety-five workshops have been in Industry and Commerce, and fifty-five in the Social Arena. Fifty-one have been with ISM preceded by NGT, and about ninety-nine have been with NGT alone. ISM preceded by NGT is the best method I know for dealing with the most troublesome situations that one might ever encounter.”

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Jay H. Grossman

A corporate communications professional with 32 years experience.  His expertise is in strategy and organization, corporate reputation and positioning, media relations, employee communications, financial communications, branding, crisis management, culture change, campaigns and budgets, managing creative consultants and agencies, coordination with clients and business units.  Strong writer and effective counselor to senior management.

He is the principal of The Grossman Group, a strategic communications consultancy.  Previously, he was staff vice president-media relations for Unisys Corporation.  Prior to that, he spent 29 years with Bell Atlantic Corporation, including assignments as the company’s executive director of reputation management, executive director of corporate communications, director of corporate media relations and director of employee communications.

Jay is a member of the Overseas Press Club and a board member of the Institute for 21st Century Agoras.   He also is past president of the Pennsylvania State University’s College of Communications Alumni Society Board and served on the boards of the Philadelphia Arts in Education Partnership and the InterAct Theater Company in Philadelphia.  He was a member of the National Press Club and managed successful local election campaigns in New Jersey.

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Bela Antal Banathy

Bela is former president ISSS and chair of the ISSS special interest group for Information Systems Design; Research Fellow of the International Systems Institute; former faculty Saybrook Graduate School; member of the Research Group on the Foundations of Information Science as well as the General Evolution Research Group. He has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and serves on the editorial boards of Systems, Journal of Applied Systems Studies, Organizational Transformation &Social Change, and the International Journal of Information Technologies & the Systems Approach.