News & Press: Core Values Awards

International Core Values Awards Winners Announced

Thursday, October 19, 2017  
Posted by: Ellen Ernst
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19 October 2017 (Melbourne, Australia) The International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) announced the 2017 International Core Values Awards honoring award winners from around the world at the IAP2 Core Values Awards Gala in Melbourne, Australia.

 IAP2 Federation International Chair, Ms. Kylie Cochrane congratulated the winners on behalf of the Board of Directors and national affiliates. “IAP2’s seven Core Values go to the very heart of our association and guide how we think about and practice authentic engagement and I’m proud to acknowledge the best of the best.”

 These award winners represent best practice in our field, and serve as model of excellence for others to emulate. Winners and finalists are recognized for their contributions to the field in the areas of indigenous engagement, community development, health, infrastructure, environment, disaster and emergency services as well as for their creativity, innovation and inclusion. This is a testament to the tremendous expansion, professionalism and impact of our field of expertise.

 Finalists for the ’best of the best‘ international awards were gathered from entries submitted by national affiliates in Australasia, Canada and the United States.

Winners recognized this year are:


Project of the Year

The Dahlia Campus for Health and Well-Being

A partnership between the Mental Health Center of Denver and the Northeast Park Hill community, Denver, Colorado (United States)

Facilitating Grassroots Support for a Controversial Construction Project in an Economically Distressed Community of Color


In 2012, the Mental Health Center of Denver (MHCD) purchased the dilapidated Dahlia Square property in the Park Hill Neighborhood. MHCD had served Northeast Park Hill residents for years, but in offices that were difficult to reach via public transportation. MHCD announced their intention to construct a community mental health facility on the site in hopes that a local “footprint” would enhance its capacity to provide wrap-around mental health care for individuals and families of all ages.

Residents of the neighborhood saw things differently, however. According to Dr. Lydia Prado, project lead for the Dahlia campus, “Communities often resist construction of mental health facilities, in response to a strong (but largely unfounded) stigma associated with the work. The team at MHCD had a compelling recognition that the campus would only achieve its full potential if it was closely connected to and supported by local community members.”

Two MHCD leaders took primary responsibility for public outreach: Dr. Lydia Prado and Dr. Forrest Cason. The result of their intense community engagement process was construction of Dahlia’s 4-acre, 46,000-square foot child and family wellness center: the first of its kind in the country. In addition to mental health support for children, families, and teens; the campus offers quality childhood early education, pediatric dental care, deaf and hard of hearing support, access to fresh produce and healthy proteins (through a one-acre urban farm and 5400 square foot aquaponics greenhouse), a teaching kitchen, a multi-purpose community room, and a gymnasium. In its first year of operation, Dahlia served over 4,000 people in its community spaces. Now, 18 months after opening, all of these spaces are booked out until 2018. Staff/resident connections continue to grow, and residents actively partner with staff to offer classes and other programs of local interest and concern. Learn more at


Organisation of the Year

 Lake Macquarie City Council (Australia)

Building a culture of shared leadership

Some of the most important and difficult discussions and decisions affecting communities need to happen at a local level. How neighbourhoods will adapt to climate change, how our built environments can become more sustainable and inclusive, and how we can harness new technology and traverse the ‘digital divide’ are just some of the challenges that local councils and their communities face as they look to the future. In 2010, Lake Macquarie City Council implemented a Community Engagement Strategic Guideline based on ten principles closely aligned to the IAP2 Core Values.

This year, Council completed one of the most extensive community engagement programs in its history, Shape Your Future, with a reach of more than 170,000. Although recognised as ground-breaking for both its reach and innovation, Shape Your Future is perhaps more significant because it demonstrates Council’s success in building a culture of shared leadership with its community.

This new statement of vision and values represents strong participation and influence of the community at the core of the City’s strategic planning. It will provide focus and direction for Council’s plans and actions for the coming decade and beyond.  For more information, visit


Please join us in congratulating all the finalists and winners. More details and highlights of all finalists and winners can be found in the 2017 Core Values Awards Showcase on As you read through the summaries of the award winners and finalists presented here, we hope you will gain some valuable insights into how IAP2 Core Values are being applied to the practice around the world.

Special thanks are extended to the international jury members, Mr. Kyle Bozentko, Jefferson Center (USA), Mr. Timothy Hart, SRK Consulting (South Africa) and Ms. Claire Paddison, LandCorp (Australia), as well as all the members of the judging panels for the IAP2 Affiliate Awards programs. On behalf of IAP2 you have our sincere thanks for your commitment and dedication to advancing and promoting international best practice in the field of public participation.

IAP2 has 501(3)(c) charity status in USA and is able to receive donations from within the USA.

International Association of Public Participation
PO Box 7580, Denver, CO 80207 USA