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Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship

Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship

The Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship is a new project designed to understand citizenship in 21st century America and identify ways to foster the skills and values that will make it stronger. The Commission will work across disciplines to develop an understanding of how native born and newly arrived Americans engage with the institutions of their democracy, and how they exercise their rights and responsibilities as citizens. The focus of the initiative is not on a legal definition of citizenship, nor on a limited assessment of voting.

The Commission presents an opportunity to deepen the dialogue around democracy, citizenship, and community, by emphasizing new forms of civic engagement and democratic practice—many of which have been made possible through new technologies. Beyond civics education, Americans engage in activities such as the Boy/Girl Scouts, community groups and voluntary associations, and religious and charitable organizations. In the 21st century, new approaches to civic engagement include following elected officials on social media, sharing political views online, joining virtual campaigns, signing digital petitions, and more.

Members of the Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship


  • Danielle Allen
    Harvard University
  • Stephen Heintz
    Rockefeller Brothers Fund
  • Eric Liu
    Citizen University


  • Sayu Bhojwani
    The New American Leaders Project
  • danah boyd
    Data & Society
  • Philip Bredesen
  • Caroline Brettell
    Southern Methodist University
  • David Brooks
    The New York Times
  • David Campbell
    University of Notre Dame
  • Lisa Conn
  • Alan Dachs
    Fremont Group
  • Dee Davis
    Center for Rural Strategies
  • Stacy Donohue
    The Omidyar Network
  • Jonathan F. Fanton
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Lisa García Bedolla
    University of California, Berkeley
  • Sam Gill
    Knight Foundation
  • Marie Griffith
    Washington University, Saint Louis
  • Hahrie Han
    University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Antonia Hernandez
    California Community Foundation
  • Wallace Jefferson
    Alexander Dubose Jefferson & Townsend
  • Joseph Kahne
    University of California, Riverside
  • Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg
    Tufts University
  • Yuval Levin
    National Affairs
  • Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg
    Tufts University
  • Yuval Levin
    National Affairs
  • Carolyn Lukensmeyer
    National Institute for Civil Discourse
  • Martha McCoy
    Everyday Democracy
  • Lynn Nottage
  • Steven Olikara
    Millenial Action Project
  • Norman Ornstein
  • Bob Peck
    FPR Partners
  • Pete Peterson
    Pepperdine University
  • Alejandro Portes
    University of Miami
  • Miles Rapoport
    Harvard University
  • Helena Richardson
    The Heritage Foundation
  • Michael Schudson
    Columbia University
  • Sterling Speirn
    National Conference on Citizenship
  • Marcelo Suarez-Orozco
    University of California, Los Angeles
  • Ben Vinson
    George Washington University
  • Diane Wood
    7th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Judy Woodruff
  • Ethan Zuckerman
    Center for Civic Media
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Project Staff

  • Paul Erickson
  • Gabriela Farrell
  • Darshan Goux
  • Julian Kronick
  • Natoschia Scruggs

Support for the Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship is provided by the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation.

Project Chairs

Danielle Allen, Harvard University

Stephen Heintz, Rockefeller Brothers Fund

Eric Liu, Citizen University

Learn More About this Project