The Forum for Public Dialogue (the FPD) is an independent, not-for-profit, Section 21 South African think tank with no political affiliation. The FPD encourages and facilitates robust public debate about potential threats to South Africa's democracy and socio-economic transformation. Founded in 2012, the FPD conducts high-impact research with a focus on strong democratic institutions, political pluralism, and free competition of ideas informed by high quality analysis.
In the last three years FPD has been instrumental in bringing out successful research products. FPD has realised that the Think Tank arena is a highly contested environment and believes that its focus needs to be changed from a research based organisation to a dialogue facilitator as a more robust and efficient methodology to support democratic debate and change.
As public engagement dialogue and contestation is at an all-time low, and traditional dialogue forums like Nedlac are in a state of implosion. In addition the business community is anxious and the space for them to engage the state is dwindling fast as a cosnequence of self-censorship, patronage and interest conflicts. In this environment, traditional research agencies and Think Tanks are often unable or unwilling to ask the hard political, economic, social questions.
There is an urgent necessity for dialogue in South Africa. The country is at crossroads and there have been new developments which need the attention and intervention of citizens in the form of facilitated debate, opinion sharing and the disciplined search for common ground.