- SEMESTER IN DIALOGUE
- SFU COMMUNITY
Robin Prest is the Program Director at Simon Fraser University’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, where he strengthens the democratic process through dialogue-based engagement and builds the capacity of governments, citizens and stakeholders to co-create solutions to pressing issues.
As the Project Director for the 2017 Citizen Dialogues on Canada’s Energy Future, Robin oversaw and co-designed the first ever cross-Canada deliberative dialogue where randomly selected citizens made recommendations on federal energy policy. In 2019, he served as lead consultant for the City of Burnaby’s record-breaking Your Voice, Your Home public engagement process. In 2014, he served as the lead designer for Reconciling Injustices in a Pluralistic Canada, which brought together three levels of government, major institutions and six communities affected by historical and contemporary injustices to develop principles to support improved approaches towards reconciliation.
Robin regularly supports elected officials and senior decision-makers to improve the clarity and impact of public engagement initiatives, and to embed engagement within organizational cultures. This work includes launching the International Climate Engagement Network to help national and sub-national governments accelerate climate action, advising Canada's Treasury Board Secretariat in the development of its 4th Open Government Plan and facilitating the Mayor’s Task Force on Public Engagement at the City of New Westminster.
Robin’s commentary and insights have been featured in such forums as The Hill Times, The Globe and Mail, the Open Government Global Summit and the Union of BC Municipalities Annual Convention. He has supervised the creation of several of the Centre’s core methods, including its Strategic Framework, which enables better integration between public engagement and the needs of decision-makers, and Participatory Systems Change: A Primer, which explores ways to address deeply systemic problems in ways that both leverage expert knowledge and maximize democratic contributions. Robin’s current interests include improving the integration between engagement and decision-making functions, enhancing the role of equity in the design and delivery of engagement processes, and developing new participatory methods to enhance legitimacy and address declining levels of trust in major institutions.