'Third Sector' Critical to Future Governance: Seattle Hosts NLC's Fourth Leadership Summit

Article excerpt

NLC's fourth annual Leadership Summit invited participants to "break the mold" of traditional thinking toward governance and challenged local officials to consider the importance of the nation's "civil sector" in seeking to energize constituents and fuel the notion of community.

The event began with welcoming words from the Seattle Mayor Norman Rice, and C-Span filming the opening program. The summit was convened last month bq Carolyn Ratto, chair of NLC's Leadership Training Council.

This year's conference brought together several leading visionaries in the area of democracy and public policymaking, including Jeremy Rifkin, Mayor Daniel Kemmis, Michael Sandel and Bruce Adams. The speakers shared their perspectives regarding current and future trends in governance.

NLC President Greg Lashutka, First Vice-President Mark Schwartz and Advisory Committee Chair Anthony Capizzi offered remarks during the course of the two and a half day conference.

The Leadership Summit is NLC's premier training event. This year's conference theme was Leadership for the Civil Society and highlighted the importance of the civil sector of our society in renewing our democracy and strengthening our economy.

The End of Work?

Jeremy Rifkin, author of more than a dozen books on economic trends discussed the scope of his latest book, The End of Work. He challenged tile audience to break the current political paradigm that considers only the the market place and government as the two sectors that operate within the economy. Rifkin suggested that the 1.4 million non-profit organizations in the U.S. form an important third sector. Further, Rifkin said, this civil sector is critical to sustaining a vital post-industrial economy and needs to become the center of a new politics that emphasizes the importance of community.

Importance of The Civil Sector

Dan Kemmis, mayor of Missoula, Mont. and author of The Good City and the Good Life, also emphasized the central importance of the civil sector in reclaiming democracy. Kemmis addressed the central role of cities in forming a renewed sense of citizenship and connection of people to one another in community. …