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Center for Democracy and Citizenship
Harry Boyte, Co-Director
The Center for Democracy and Citizenship is a university-wide resource based in the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, a leading public affairs graduate and research institution. The mission of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship is the promotion of democracy and the strengthening of citizenship and civic education within a variety of settings, with a special emphasis on youth.
The Center expresses its mission through outreach, teaching and research projects designed to strengthen community and civic capacities. It approaches civic participation in ways that democratize patterns of professional interaction with citizens and communities and involves young people, and others in governance and responsibility for problem solving.
The Center's activities have begun to make the University of Minnesota a national leader in helping higher education institutions to recast themselves in ways that revitalize their community orientation.
Specifically, the Center:
Through this work, the Center for Democracy and Citizenship aims to persuade policy makers, foundation leaders, institutional leaders, grassroots organizers and practitioners, and the general public to support the civic development of all citizens, especially young people.
- provides ongoing technical assistance to federal, state and local governments, and community-based institutions as well as national organizations interested in enriching their service, civic, and youth development efforts
- provides training in core civic concepts and skills, through a network of regional partners for a variety of service, educational, and community-based organizations.
- strengthens the civic capacity of institutions through staff and board development projects tied to their larger public missions.
- undertakes action-research projects aimed at community and institutional change, service and civic renewal, deepening knowledge and civic stories about how such change takes place.
- develops and sustains a nationwide network of civic educators and learners dedicated to reflecting on best practices of civic problem-solving and education, providing consultation and advice to the Center, and helping to develop strategies for dissemination, continuation and replication.
The Center on CPN The Center is a founding partner of the Civic Practices Network. The Center makes cases studies, training manuals, and other resources available on CPN, including:
- The New Citizenship: White Paper. In 1993, the Center for Democracy and Citizenship helped coordinate the drafting of this document, which was important in initiating the New Citizenship project.
- Can the White House Help Catalyze Civic Renewal?. The major recommendation to the White House of the Reinventing Citizenship Project. The Reinventing Citizenship Project was initiated by the Center and the Walt Whitman Center in 1994. The project was funded by the Ford Foundation and convened in conjunction with the Domestic Policy Council at the White House, under the leadership of William Galston, Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs. The final report to the Ford Foundation is available from the Center.
- The Meanings of Citizenship, an excerpt from Building America: The Democratic Promise of Public Work, Temple University Press, 1996, by Harry C. Boyte and Nancy N. Kari
- Reinventing Citizenship: The Practice of Public Work. A 76-page guide (1995) that presents a conceptual approach to public work, citizen politics and civic organizing, and distinguishes these from other modes of problem solving in a service society. Examines the development of public leadership, one-on-one interviews, power mapping, and other techniques. Excerpt available online.
- AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps is a national service program whose goal is getting things done: AmeriCorps programs address the nation's education, public safety, environmental, and human needs and achieve demonstrable results, as well as strengthen communities and develop participants. By The People: An AmeriCorps Citizenship and Service Training Guide is a 55-page training guide prepared by the Center in collaboration with Americorps participants, April 1995.
- Public Achievement. Public Achievement is the youth and politics initiative of Project Public Life, part of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship. It provides training in citizen politics for many youth organizations and teams around the country, which engage in year-long projects together.
- Public Achievement Provides Youth Training for Citizen Politics. Story.
- Making the Rules: A Public Achievement Guidebook. A 95-page manual for young people and adult coaches involved in Public Achievement or other community building and public problem solving project
- Beyond Deliberation: Citizenship as Public Work, article from The Good Society, spring 1995, by Harry Boyte.
- East Brooklyn Congregations Build Nehemiah Homes. Story.
- Baltimore's Commonwealth of Schools. Story.
The Center for Democracy and Citizenship
Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs
University of Minnesota,Twin Cities Campus
301 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455