Lars Hasselblad Torres is staff researcher for AmericaSpeaks, responsible for tracking the field of deliberative democracy, internal evaluation, and online innovation. As part of his efforts to map the field of deliberative democracy at home and abroad, Torres is leading AmericaSpeaks’ development of an interactive online inventory of deliberation experiences and an international research effort to map deliberative and inclusionary processes being carried out with partners in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Torres also develops research partnerships with universities across the country to design and implement quantitative and qualitative measures of the impact of deliberation, both on policy outcomes and on participants.
A significant part of this work is directed at better understanding whether participation in deliberative forums results in lasting changes in participants’ political attitudes and behavior. A final area of focus in Torres’ research is ongoing exploration into online innovations in citizen engagement. These innovations include online deliberative forums, social networks and online communities, the revolution in citizen journalism, and the integration of mobile and wireless devices into administrative process. Torres studied at the University of Southern California and the School for International Training, where he received a bachelor’s degree in international studies in 1995.