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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
  • David Brooks
    The New York Times
  • Alan Dachs
    Fremont Group
  • Dee Davis
    Center for Rural Strategies
  • 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
  • Kahne Joseph
    University of California, Riverside
  • Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg
    Tufts University
  • Yuval Levin
    National Affairs
  • Carolyn Lukensmeyer
    National Institute for Civil Discourse
  • Martha McCoy
    Everyday Democracy
  • Steven Olikara
    Millenial Action Project
  • Norman Ornstein
  • Pete Peterson
    Pepperdine University
  • Alejandro Portes
    University of Miami
  • Miles Rapoport
    Harvard University
  • 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
  • Ethan Zuckerman
    Center for Civic Media
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Project Staff

  • Paul Erickson
  • 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