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Comparative Domestic Policy Program

Policy Brief
April 15, 2010

Summary: On both sides of the From Confrontation to Cooperation: Citizen Engagement

Atlantic, local jurisdictions have
increasingly sought to engage
and Consensus Building in Public Policies
the public through collaborative
Lessons from the U.S. for Italy and Europe
processes in the making and
implementing of controversial poli-
cies. For European communities, by Iolanda Romano1
where the processes of consensus-
building and deliberative democracy Introduction suffered a big drop in credibility which did
are relatively new, the American lasting damaging to his reputation and
experience provides some lessons. A few years ago, in Italy’s Piedmont region, dissolved his store of political capital.
a collaborative process was held to choose a
location for a solid waste incinerator within During my four-month long fellowship at
As a CDP fellow, Iolanda Romano
the Province of Torino, a large region of the German Marshall Fund, I focused my
spent four months asking American
more than fifty municipalities.2 After one research on how mediators face the peculiar
mediators and facilitators how they and a half years of participatory processes, challenges of participatory processes in the
face the challenges of participa- the process itself was deemed a success, as United States, particularly with regard to
tory processes, with a particular the entire 45-member advisory committee controversial policy issues.3 In conducting
focus on how their practices and unanimously agreed on the ranking of the interviews with American mediators, I
outcomes relate to and influence proposed sites. A common, shared solution highlighted this case as an example, trying
decision making processes in was at hand and it was ready for imple- to understand what might have been done
public policies. She also observed mentation. However, in the meantime, the to avoid this failure.
a number of public events that governmental agencies involved changed
utilized these practices. In this their decision-making process and their The lessons gleaned from this research can
brief, she describes the result of priorities on where to put the unpopular be summarized by one of veteran mediator
incinerator, and had instead adopted a Larry Susskind’s4 adages: “the reasons for
that effort and then puts forth a
different scenario on where to build it. This failure are always in the beginning of a
number of recommendations for
meant that the former vice president of the process.” Most of the time, agreements
her fellow mediators as well as for
Province of Torino, who had pushed for negotiated through mediation aren’t imple-
policymakers seeking to effectively and publicly supported the 18-month long mented because not enough care was taken
engage the public. participatory process, could no longer guar- in designing the process, including selec-
antee the implementation of the commit- tion of participants and joint development
tee’s solution. Because of this change, he of the group’s mandate, to ensure that a

Iolanda Romano Ph.D. is president and chief executive officer of Avventura Urbana, a company based in Torino, Italy that focuses
on public engagement and cross-sector collaborative processes on urban planning, environment, social policies, and related issues.
As a fellow of the German Marshall Fund’s (GMF) Comparative Domestic Policy Program, Dr. Romano spent four months exploring
how mediators and facilitators face the challenges of participatory processes in the United States, particularly on controversial
issues, with a focus on how these practices and outcomes relate to and influence decision-making processes in the public policy
arena. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of GMF.
Luigi Bobbio and Avventura Urbana, “Non Rifiutarti di Scegliere,” (“Don’t Refuse to Choose”) Participative process to site the waste
incinerator and landfill in the province of Torino.
1744 R Street NW 3
I would like to thank all my interviewees, 50 very smart practitioners in the Washington, DC area, as well as in California, Colorado,
Washington, DC 20009 and Massachusetts that have given me their precious time to help me understand how they face their challenges. A particular
T 1 202 683 2650 thanks to the person who has helped me most in shaping this research, who has turned out to be a key factor and a “lightening
interlocutor,” Prof. John Forester, from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.
F 1 202 265 1662 4
Larry Susskind is the founder of the Consensus Building Institute and one of the most respected experts on consensus-building and
E mediation worldwide.
Comparative Domestic Policy Program

Policy Brief
solution will be enacted by the public agencies. Unfortunately, there policy results if policies are designed after a consultative process
is not a simple and linear solution to this problem, but some of the designed to gain advice, input, and critical observations from a
lessons learned from the American experience offer an enhanced variety of interest groups potentially affected by the decision.
toolbox of techniques that could be adapted to the Italian context
and which, had they been employed, may have made a difference in In most cases, the efforts undertaken are aimed at improving the
the case cited above as well as other similar scenarios. decision-making process, but most do not get to influence the
implementation with their outcomes: no commitment is made
Collaborative processes: A possible definition at the beginning of the consultative process as to how the result
of a dialogue might affect the policy makers’ final decision and its
There is no unanimous definition for the term “collaborative implementation. Consequently, in both the United States and Italy,
process.” Instead, there is a broad range of processes which fall this lack of accountability vis-à-vis the policy creates frustration
under various headings, but in general, these processes have in among both participants and practitioners.
common 1) a complex and often controversial public issue; 2)
a decision-making process organized in a way in which all the Despite these similarities between the countries, public consensus
interests affected by the decision are represented; and 3) a struc- building is an area in which Italy, which still lacks a culture of
ture designed to generate a commonly agreed-upon solution to consensus building in governmental structures, has much to learn
the problem through extended collaboration. from the United States. The American practice of public mediation
rests on a strong theoretical background and a sound educational
The town hall meetings on health care reform, held throughout and training system. Public mediation practices rely on a juridical
the United States during the summer of 2009, provide a clear and legislative base which provides governmental bodies, like
example of what cannot be defined as a collaborative process. federal, state, or municipal agencies, with the structural framework
These meetings addressed a very complex issue of great impor- needed to make the application of collaborative practices possible
tance to many people. The meetings were structured in a way and their outcomes binding. American governmental agencies use
that encouraged argument and polarization instead of facili- a variety of processes which offer a wide spectrum of applications
tating civil and constructive dialogue, and generally limited and potential that would be unimaginable in Italy at the present
people’s participation to just a “one shot” event instead of time.
engaging them in a process with a broader perspective over time.
The main challenges in designing an effective collaborative process
Collaborative process techniques generally range across a spec- are linked with three main conditions. First, design a process that
trum: at one end, are processes aimed at creating a neutral space is truly representative and inclusive of all points of view. Second,
for better interaction on a difficult public issue, by using tools design a collaborative work process within the group to manage
that allow deliberation among participants.5 At the other end the adversarial attitude of the people around the table and create
of the spectrum are those practices specifically aimed at solving and hold a space for open constructive dialogue. And third, design
a problem through a mediated approach. Here, collaborative the processes so that they produce sustainable outcomes.
processes have the goal of building consensus among opposing
parties in order to come to a common solution, by using an Lesson #1: Set Good Conditions to Start With
alternative approach to dispute resolution than the traditional
litigation or lawsuit. The first lesson is that there is no better way to address the
problem of achieving a sustainable outcome than focusing on
Lessons learned the process design from the outset. It is important to define in
advance, as much as possible, all aspects and conditions of the
Practitioners and policy makers in Italy (and indeed, in Europe collaborative process in order to troubleshoot potential pitfalls
generally) use deliberative democracy in local policymakers in that might arise both during and after the process is completed.
much the same way as their peers in the United States, with the
same goals and to tackle the same challenges. More and more
governmental agencies at all levels feel that they can achieve better

The term “deliberation” means a decision-making process which develops through discussion.

Comparative Domestic Policy Program

Policy Brief
To Achieve Sustainable Outcomes, Get Clarity of Intentions disrupt the deliberative charter process during its course came
from within the city council itself. And the response was that, after
While inclusion of as many perspectives as possible can be critical every attack, a group of five committee members would attend
to a successful collaborative process, the U.S. experience in media- municipal council sessions to defend the process, and it worked.
tion has shown that a basic condition for success is “selecting the
stakeholder participants on the basis of their willingness to find If You Want Sustainable Outcomes, Set Feasible Goals
a solution to the problem.”6 On every policy issue, the stake-
holders are going to array along a spectrum with a center, which In conducting a conflict assessment, mediators generally ask the
represents those with a “centripetal pull” toward the search for people who are deeply familiar with the problem, or who have
common ground, and the fringes, which represent those with a a stake in it, what specifically the deliberative process should
“centrifugal pull” in all other directions, generally away from a address. The scope of the process is something with which all
common solution. The fringes tend to have very little interest in important stakeholders must agree, but this is not an easy goal to
discussion and don’t believe that a common solution is even a reach, as an example cited by mediator Juliana Birkhoff9 illustrates.
remote possibility. Where mediators can be effective is in creating
a “political center” on the issue at hand and to create the opposite In this example, a Canadian province brought in Birkhoff to guide
centripetal politics by choosing stakeholders who can “withstand them in developing a Forest Management Plan. In the early stages
the pull from the end of the spectrum.” of the process, Birkhoff investigated the possibility for a consensus
building process, but quickly realized that it would not be possible
To Achieve Sustainable Outcomes, Build Support around in the current climate. The most extreme environmentalists
the Process Itself refused to sit at the same table with the forestry company repre-
sentatives. So she sought a more feasible alternative, and formed
As to what a mediator can do to reinforce the outcome’s long- a smaller group which included the forestry company and those
term sustainability, mediation expert Frank Blechman7 calls for environmental groups which were willing to participate. They in
a focus on soliciting “feed-forward” (rather than “feedback”), in turn focused their attention on the conservation area maps which
order to build overall political support for the process. That is, delineate the lands off-limits to forestry extraction, following
mediators must confront head-on all “behind-the-scenes” conver- provincial criteria, and discovered that there were large areas of
sations which accompany every process focused on an important preservation which contained species which were not particu-
public policy challenge, either at its very beginning or throughout larly endangered, while the most endangered species were in very
the course of the process. In doing so, mediators must try to link small sections of conservation areas. In essence, if their aim was
these disparate views actively into the process, by creating a clear to conserve the environment over the long-term, they were not
and direct connection between the participants in the deliberative protecting the right pieces of land. The group then began negotia-
process and those who have a vested interest and an institutional tions to make tradeoffs between the forestry company’s property
commitment to the same issue. and the conserved land, and developed new maps with a more
targeted and thus more effective conservation strategy.
One typical tactic is the choice to allow a representative of these
institutions to have a seat in the stakeholders group, as mediator Perhaps most importantly, the deliberative process led to much
Susan Podziba8 did with the Chelsea (Massachusetts) Charter better relationships between stakeholders.
project. When she formed the advisory committee tasked with
writing a new city charter for Chelsea, a city of 40,000 north of To Engage Stakeholders, Narrow the Definition of the Problem
Boston, after years of corruption and receivership, she suggested
that it should have three seats reserved for members of the In addressing value conflicts, most mediators warn that it is
municipal council. A wise decision, as many of the attempts to critical to be especially careful in framing the purpose for the

Quote from Peter Adler, President of the Keystone Center, a leading American organization 9
Juliana Birkhoff is senior associate mediator at Resolve (, an organization based
engaged in public mediation. in Washington, DC engaged in environmental disputes across the United States.
Frank Blechman, an experienced mediator in the Washington, DC area, formerly directed the
George Mason University Institute of Conflict Analysis.
Susan Podziba is a mediator with significant experience in regulatory negotiation in
Massachusetts and at the federal level.

Comparative Domestic Policy Program

Policy Brief
suggested conversation. Particular attention must be paid to the Lesson #2: Understand Who Should Be Involved and How
high degree of sensitivity of participants with regard to values
which are deeply entrenched in their identities. A straightfor- The second lesson learned from this research is to acknowledge
ward request to face head-on the value conflicts which divide two that every process has different criteria regarding who should be
parties can produce a negative reaction. Oftentimes it is more involved and how; there are many different ways to think about
worthwhile to simply create a space for conflicting parties to get to what may be appropriate in one context and not in another. This
know each other and to develop the will to begin a conversation. is a step that must be very carefully planned and agreed upon
before the start of the process.
When mediator Mike Hughes10 facilitated a dialogue focused on
the very sensitive issue of physician-assisted suicide between pro- To have an Inclusive Process, Ensure All Voices Are Heard
life and pro-choice representatives, at the beginning of the process
he was asked by the parties “to agree on what they would not want When there is a wide spectrum of interests and communities
to agree” – this was in fact the very core of the dispute. Once this potentially affected by a policy decision, it is very important that
was agreed, it was much easier for them to engage in an open and the mediator ensure that all voices with a stake in the issue be
truthful discussion, because both parties felt that they didn’t have heard and taken into account, beyond the necessarily limited
to deny an important aspect of their values and related identi- number of representatives who can have a seat at the stake-
ties. This initial condition helped them to find several other areas holders’ table. When the number of competing interests exceeds
of common ground on which to build the basis for agreed-upon the number of seats available at the table, many mediators create
solutions. different spaces and times in which to solicit the views of all
other representatives, using what seems to be a “creative geom-
To Engage Stakeholders, Broaden the Definition of the Problem etry” of group composition.

When a conflict resolution process is stalled, it is most often In addition to the problem of different levels of knowledge,
because the definition of the problem is too narrow. A frame- skills, or interest in an issue, other obstacles exist which prevent
work in which each party always wins at the other party’s expense some from voicing their concerns or opinions. Most recurrent is
generally prohibits anything other than continuous conflict. the problem of access—psychological, cultural, or physical —to
the deliberative arena. The question of how to involve weak or
Mediator Todd Bryan11 emphasizes helping conflicting parties disadvantaged groups in a process is commonly faced by
to come to agreement on what the problem actually is. Using mediators as a challenge, and sometimes as a frustration. This is
the example of a process he led in Boulder, Colorado to find a most often a matter of capacity-building, as mediator Don
suitable location for a homeless shelter, Bryan explained that he Edwards12 explains. In order to obtain a fair representation of
started by asking participants their thoughts on a sentence that these interests, without being perceived by other stakeholders
he wrote on a board: “How can we accommodate the home- at the table as biased, he works on the subtle line of “coaching.”
less population, while also preserving and maintaining property That is, Edwards creates a particular vehicle for that voice,
values and avoiding an increase in crime?” He asked whether they coaching them on how to be at that table and how to work with
thought that that sentence had really captured the problem, or their constituencies.
if they could add other dimensions. For example, were they also
concerned about traffic congestion or losing customers? Partici- To Ensure a Representative Process, Identify the Right Stakeholders
pants contributed by adding other concerns to the sentence on
the board until they thought that it best defined the problem. Whatever the geometry of the process, there is a point in its early
By enlarging the vision the stakeholders could then accept the stages when the mediator focuses on selecting which stake-
problem, as reframed, as a common goal. holders should participate. Most mediators adopt a sophisticated
outreach process which starts with a core group of key stake-

Mike Hughes is Vice President and Director, Center for Science and Public Policy of the Key- 12
Don Edwards is founder and President of Justice and Sustainability, an organization primarily
stone Center. focused on the creation of collaborative processes that are just and fairly representative of all
Todd Bryan is Senior Associate Mediator at the Keystone Center. interests—with particular regard to disadvantaged stakeholders, such as those living in poor and
deprived neighborhoods.

Comparative Domestic Policy Program

Policy Brief
holders and then reaches out to a larger number in a “snow ball” have built some basic conditions for stakeholders to be able to
progression. work together. In order to create a space of trust, recognition,
and ability to listen to each other, mediators must focus on what
One approach is based on self-selection: mediators establish they have in common.
a set of criteria to identify and select candidates, who are then
recruited via a public application process. The choice of criteria Choosing an Approach: Directive versus “Elicitive” Facilitator
allows mediators to clarify requirements for the group, and by
so doing, to emphasize the “public dimension” of the arguments A very important factor in determining the success of group
that should be used during the discussions. work is the role of the mediator, which American practitioners
engaged in conflict transformation agree is a very complex task.
Another approach is more centered on the role of the intervener, Directive mediators, who explicitly direct the group during
and relies on his accountability as a “confianza” mediator.13 the conversation, tend not to be the most effective. It is very
Mediator Bill Potapchuck14 uses this approach when he needs important for participants to feel they own the process and that
to create trust among disenfranchised communities or skeptical they are committed to it. A directive facilitator can push them
stakeholders. A “confianza” mediator uses very informal negotia- too much in situations they are not ready to face, leading to a
tion methods through individual contact and interviews until boomerang effect. Empowerment of participants and mutual
he can identify a number of people representing a variety of recognition within the group are two of the most critical factors
perspectives- who have developed a mutual trust. in coming to a situation where they learn from each other
instead of fighting. This only happens when participants sense
To Ensure a Legitimate Process, Look for Shared Information and that they are responsible of the process, not the mediator.
In essence, as many mediators affirm, ninety per cent of media-
Projects dealing with complex issues commonly require support tion work happens before the process actually begins, and that
from experts who can envision the trade-offs involved in the ninety per cent is focused on effective preparation of the group.
various options under discussion. “Joint fact-finding,” a method During a meeting, mediator Bob Stein16 assumes an elicitive role,
employed by mediator Scott McCreary15 among others, is an “putting himself in a de-centered position”, limiting himself
effective way to build shared information within the group. The to shepherding the group, and responding to their requests
joint fact-finding method is aimed at “mapping areas of scien- by reflecting, like a mirror, what they are already able to see
tific agreement and narrowing areas of disagreement and uncer- (example: “here’s what I see; and here’s what you said your goals
tainty.” Thus it is critical that the experts chosen to support this were; what do you want to do about it?”).
delicate phase are widely perceived to be reliable and balanced.
To Effect Change, Agree on Ground Rules
The ways in which experts are selected and appointed is of
crucial importance to the integrity of the work and the account- Much of what a mediator can accomplish during the process
ability of results. The self-selection approach to choosing stake- depends on a set of ‘ground rules’ upon which participants in
holders, mentioned above, can also be applied when selecting the process must agree from the outset.
Agreement on the ground rules which govern how the group
Lesson #3: Prepare the Group on How to Work Together will work together allows the mediator a foundation on which to
Effectively build a relationship of trust with the stakeholders. Mediator Lisa
Beutler, before designing the process, asks the people in indi-
Before even thinking of building a process to seek a solution to vidual conversations or caucuses prior the meeting, what kind
a particular policy challenge, it is of fundamental importance to of a process could offer them a chance “to see their interest met”.

The term is borrowed from multi-track diplomacy and indicates someone who has the confi- 16
Bob Steins is Vice-President of the Public Conversation Project, in Watertown, Massachusetts.
dence of the people he wants to involve, due to previous experiences or personal connections. 17
Meggie Herzig is founding associate of the Public Conversations Project.
Bill Potapchuk is president and founder of the Community Building Institute.
Scott McCreary is principal and co-founder of Concur, a company engaged in environmental
dispute mediation in the West Coast.

Comparative Domestic Policy Program

Policy Brief
For Meggie Herzig,17 this is an opportunity for the mediator to When the list is completed, it is distributed to all participants
clarify with participants which behaviors and approaches would for review. This process undergoes several more rounds until the
be acceptable and which would be perceived as damaging to the language of the questions is considered appropriate by all. The
process. It is also an effective method for clarifying the group’s result is the foundation on which the mediator can then build a
sense of purpose. very structured agenda for the dialogue.

Some of the most important ground rules focus on the group’s To Enable Change, Search for Common Ground
interactions. For example, in the Chelsea project, participants
negotiated the rule that decisions would be made on the basis The various methods described above are aimed at laying the
of full consensus, with the agreement that only if consensus groundwork for a more productive conversation among partici-
was not reached would they fall back on a voting mechanism pants in a participative process. That is to say, they occur before
requiring a majority of eighty per cent. Susan Podziba credits the process even begins. What happens in the “deliberative
this decision as one of the key factors for the success of this arena” has much to do with improvisation and the dynamics
particular process. The rule led to more discussion than usual generated by the interaction within the group. Most of the time
on each point of contention, because each participant had to the quality of interaction is determined at the outset: in order
understand how to meet other participants’ needs without drop- to launch a productive discussion, many mediators open the
ping their own interests. This ground rule forced participants to first meeting with some activity which helps to identify or build
listen very carefully and helped Podziba, as the mediator, to act common ground among the people in the room.
as a “midwife” to the process by helping participants to clarify
and solidify their thinking. One of the most effective tools is storytelling. As mediator Nike
Castarphen puts it after many years of experience in conflict
To Enable Change, Ask the Right Question management, storytelling is a highly effective method for
helping people to “humanize the enemy”. In a mediation process
Much of the elicitive role of the mediator develops around the Castarphen led with a group of police officers and youth gang
questions she/he poses to the people participating in a dialogue, members in a Virginia suburb, she asked all participants to talk
both before and during the meetings. about violence, describing how they had been attacked. What
happened when the gang members realized that the police
Mediators must focus on ways to encourage participants to officers feared for their own lives was a big shock to the gang
remain as open-minded as possible toward the issue under members. In fact, each group heard for the very first time the
discussion, as well as the other participants in the dialogue. other side of the story. They had learned to listen to each other.
This focus on broadening participants’ perspectives is used by All in the room, police officers and gang members, discovered
mediator Bob Stains in the rehearsal work that he conducts they had something in common, and that led to the group devel-
with participants in advance of the actual dialogue. He asks oping a common hope for the future.
them to imagine what they think it will be like to meet with the
other stakeholders—those they consider to be opponents - once Conclusion
they are “in the room.” Then he guides them to remember - to
call back from their experience - which internal resources they Many of the lessons learned during this research could well be
already have at their disposal to face this situation constructively applied in future efforts to resolve public controversies in Italy in
(i.e., think of a similar situation which occurred in your past the near future, even though the Italian context is less favorable
where you succeeded in reaching across a similar divide. How both culturally and institutionally.
did you handle that?)
In the United States, the White House issued a memorandum
Another mediator and psychotherapist of the Public Conversa- (8 December 2009) which directs executive departments and
tions Project, Sallyann Roth, asks participants to develop a list of agencies to take specific actions to implement the principles of
questions that they think would increase understanding among transparency, participation, and collaboration set forth in the
the group. Participants must formulate the questions without President’s previous memorandum issued on January 21, 2009.
naming the issue -as it is framed differently by each stakeholder. This order opens a new phase in which a change in govern-

Comparative Domestic Policy Program

Policy Brief
mental culture, open to participative process, is sought with
unprecedented determination from the top institutional levels in About CDP
United States.
At the turn of the 21st century, metropolitan regions are home to
Even within this promising new framework, mediators and the nearly three quarters of the population of the United States and
communities they work in continue to face a number of key Europe and are projected to continue growing. The major economic,
challenges. First, they must ensure a stronger link between the environmental and social transformations shaping these nations over
solutions developed as outcomes of the process and the subse- the next century, as well as the severe economic crisis facing them
quent actions taken by policy makers to implement change. today, will necessarily play out in urban contexts. Thus, the
Likewise, much work still must be done to ensure better integra- metropolitan built environment, its impact on the natural
tion of the two often competing priorities of ensuring a manage- environment, and the resources available to citizens will be crucial
able group of stakeholders and ensuring a group of stakeholders for successfully meeting the complex challenges facing the
which includes a broad spectrum of the public, especially weaker transatlantic community.
and more marginalized populations. Third, a better and deeper
While cities in the United States and Europe face similar policy
understanding of the value of social reconciliation should be
challenges in related post-industrial contexts, individual
promoted. In a modern society in which identity and value
communities that attempt to implement creative strategies have
conflicts generate more and more barriers and divisions, media-
limited opportunities to learn from one another’s experiences.
tors and policy makers must focus on building greater capacity
Recognizing the necessity for communities to collaborate in crafting
for civilized and non-violent communication even, or espe-
approaches to local problems that have global implications, GMF’s
cially, on highly polarizing issues. Fourth, mediators and policy
Comparative Domestic Policy (CDP) Program provides a framework
makers must work together to implement alternative ways to
for dialogue between individuals who make, influence, and
resolve disagreements over many of the environmental disputes
implement urban and regional policy on both sides of the Atlantic.
which generate impasses and frustration in the public domain,
At the core of the CDP program is the Transatlantic Cities Network,
including where to locate undesired public facilities like waste-
a durable structure for ongoing exchange among a select group of
water treatment facilities.
civic leaders representing 25 cities in the United States and Europe.

Last but not least, mediators and policy makers must remember
that public mediation and facilitation demands an optimistic About GMF
approach, trust in citizens’ abilities, and a strong conviction that,
as Mike Hughes says, people “can get along, can solve the prob- The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) is a
lems, can make things good ... always.” nonpartisan American public policy and grantmaking institution
dedicated to promoting greater cooperation and understanding
between North America and Europe. GMF does this by supporting
individuals and institutions working on transatlantic issues, by
convening leaders to discuss the most pressing transatlantic themes,
and by examining ways in which transatlantic cooperation can
address a variety of global policy challenges. In addition, GMF
supports a number of initiatives to strengthen democracies. Founded
in 1972 through a gift from Germany on the 25th anniversary of the
Marshall Plan as a permanent memorial to Marshall Plan assistance,
GMF maintains a strong presence on both sides of the Atlantic. In
addition to its headquarters in Washington, DC, GMF has seven
offices in Europe: Berlin, Bratislava, Paris, Brussels, Belgrade, Ankara,
and Bucharest.