Jim Diers / Asset-Based Community Development

Gui Auditorium / Knowlton Hall
September 17, 2014 - 5:30pm


Jim Diers will present the lecture "The Role of Professionals and Agencies in the Global Community-Building Movement" in Knowlton Hall’s Gui Auditorium at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 17. The lecture is free and open to the public. Diers teaches courses in community organizing and development in the School of Social Work at the University of Washington where he connects university resources with community initiatives. As a member of the faculty for the Asset-Based Community Development Institute, Diers lectures and conducts workshops throughout North America and beyond.

Diers has been working with hundreds of places in 15 countries throughout the world. Increasingly, he is observing that crises related to the economy, democracy, climate change and more are causing residents and agencies to rediscover the value of community. In this lcture, Diers will use global stories to illustrate the unique power of community to care for one another and the earth; contribute to health, safety and resilience; create great places; sustain the local economy; and advance social justice. Diers will draw on his 14-year experience as the founding director of Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods to explain the paradigm shifts that agencies must make in order to be effective partners with the community. He will describe how government and other agencies are making similar shifts in other countries. Finally, he will talk about the role of professionals of all types in supporting the community-building movement.

Diers’ has a passion for participatory democracy. Since moving to Seattle in 1976, he put that passion to work for an Alinsky-style community organization, a community development corporation, a community foundation and Group Health Cooperative. He was appointed the first director of Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods in 1988 where he served for 14 years under three mayors.

Diers received a BA and an honorary doctorate from Grinnell College. His work in the Department of Neighborhoods was recognized with an Innovations Award from the Kennedy School of Government, a Full Inclusion Award from the American Association on Mental Retardation and the Public Employee of the Year Award from the Municipal League of King County. Diers’ book, Neighbor Power: Building Community the Seattle Way, is available through the University of Washington Press. More information can be found on his website: www.neighborpower.org.