Center for Politics

An interdisciplinary, nonpartisan institution, the Center for Politics promotes the value of politics and seeks to increase civic engagement, awareness and participation among people of all ages through comprehensive research, pragmatic analysis and innovative educational programs. Unrestricted individual gifts and corporate and foundation leadership giving during the campaign have allowed the Center for Politics to host world-class conferences and speakers series. Funding has also permitted the Youth Leadership Initiative, the center’s signature K-12 civics education program, to provide students and educators throughout the nation with an innovative educational curriculum. Working beyond U.S. borders, the Global Perspectives on Democracy program has hosted international exchanges with a diverse set of countries, including Bangladesh, Bolivia, India, Argentina, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Chile and Peru.


Annual American Democracy Conference

The Center for Politics’ American Democracy Conference grew out of the first national postelection conference in 1998. The conference examines not only the most recent election cycle but also current campaigns, upcoming elections and prospects for the future of democracy in the United States of America. The conference is based on the idea that elections are the seminal event in the life of a democracy, setting the country’s direction while shedding light on the state of its political health. Every year, the conference features speakers with backgrounds as journalists, political strategists and public officials, who share perspectives and analyze current campaigns and elections.

Global Perspectives on Democracy

Launched in March 2009, the center’s Global Perspectives on Democracy program promotes citizen-to-citizen dialogue among the U.S. and other democratic societies. The program helps educate and empower young leaders across the globe by building civic participation skills and encouraging public advocacy through peaceful and productive means. In partnership with World Learning and the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Center for Politics recently hosted high school student and educator exchange groups from Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru for the opening week of a series of visits. Participants learned about civic engagement, planned civic action projects, developed team building and leadership skills and more.

Gifts at Work

The Kennedy Half Century Documentary and MOOC

In 2013 the Center for Politics produced a documentary and its first Massive Open Online Course telling the compelling story of how John F. Kennedy’s life and administration, as well as his tragic death on Nov. 22, 1963, influenced the general public, the media and every subsequent U.S. president. Kennedy’s legacy has endured for more than 50 years. “The Kennedy Half Century” (currently airing nationwide on PBS) follows the center’s 2012 documentary “Out of Order” for which the Center for Politics received an Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. The MOOC was initially offered through Coursera, an educational website that partners with some of the world’s top universities, including the University of Virginia, to provide free online courses. It is now permanently available on iTunes U.

Visit the Center for Politics Website