Home / Content / 2019 - 2020 Citizenship and Civic Leadership in America

A series inviting the people of the United States to deliberate together about the ingredients necessary for civic bridge building, reviving civic knowledge and civic participation, and engaging in institutional renewal. Citizenship and Civic Leadership in America is the latest season of "The Civic Discourse Project", an annual lecture series designed to bring top minds to Arizona State University to discuss the most pressing issues of our time. 

The series will be aired on PBS Arizona, as well. Watch previous episodes of The Civic Discourse Project here

Angela Dillard and Peter Myers
Our annual Martin Luther King Day lecture provides an indispensable forum for the School to include historical and contemporary conversations about race in American society within the framework of civic discourse that inspires all of our public programs. The Martin Luther King Day lecture seeks to illuminate the challenges we have confronted and continue to face with regard to race in American society, as well as to acknowledge the promise and progress that King perceived in the American political principles expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. 
This conversation with Angela Dillard, the Richard A. Meisler Collegiate Professor of Afroamerican & African Studies at the University of Michigan, and Peter Myers, Professor of Political Science and U.S. constitutional Law, at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, will make the case that the Civil Rights Movement was marked by an intellectual and ideological diversity that incorporated a wide range of perspectives in debates about the nature of citizenship and the “proper” strategies for civil rights activism. Some of these threads stretch forward to our contemporary context, while others connect us profoundly to American founding principles. 

January 22, 2020 | 5 p.m. | Old Main, Carson Ballroom


Each year, the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership hosts an annual conference to invite scholars, prominent writers and speakers to come together each spring to discuss the school’s annual speaker series topic.
The 2020 Spring Conference welcomes Rich Lowry of the “National Review” and Yascha Mounk, a Johns Hopkins University professor and author of “The People vs. Democracy," as its keynote speakers. Lowry and Mounk will speak about the themes of American nationalism and the contemporary challenges to democracy in American and around the world.
The conference panels will begin with the theoretical questions – what is a citizen? What are the characteristics, advantages, duties, and responsibilities of a citizen?  These fundamental questions will inform the discussion throughout the two-day conference as we explore the features of citizenship under the American Constitution and in practice in contemporary American democracy and within a global context. And, the conference will conclude with a consideration of the sort of civic education that is conducive to active citizenship and a renewal of American civic institutions.
The 2020 Citizenship and Civic Leadership in America spring conference is dedicated to a discussion of the concept of citizenship: its origins, its meaning, and its contemporary place and relevance in American democracy and the global community.

February 28 & 29, 2020 | Memorial Union, Ventana Ballroom


SCETL-Heather Wilson
Every leader has to make tough decisions and faces ethical dilemmas. Dr. Heather Wilson will talk about values-driven leadership and lessons she has learned along the way.

Dr. Heather Wilson became the President of University of Texas at El Paso at the start of the 2019-20 academic year.
Wilson came to UTEP after serving as Secretary of the United States Air Force. She is the former president of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, an engineering and science research university in Rapid City, South Dakota and represented New Mexico in the United States Congress for ten years. Wilson has also worked in the private sector, serving as a senior adviser to defense and scientific industry and as president of Keystone International, a company she founded that conducted business development and program planning work.
The granddaughter of immigrants, Dr. Wilson was the first person in her family to go to college. She graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in the third class to admit women and earned her masters and doctoral degrees in international relations from Oxford University in England as a Rhodes Scholar.

March 18, 2020 | 5 p.m | Old Main, Carson Ballroom
SCETL - Tyler Cowen
Why is everyone disillusioned with everything? Why has trust in both government and big business declined so much? Is it events, the internet, or globalization causing these major shifts in our world? Tyler Cowen will consider these and other topics in his ASU talk "Has Leadership Disappeared in the Modern World?"
Tyler Cowen is Holbert L. Harris Chair of Economics at George Mason University and serves as chairman and faculty director of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. With colleague Alex Tabarrok, Cowen is coauthor of the popular economics blog Marginal Revolution and cofounder of the online educational platform Marginal Revolution University.
A dedicated writer and communicator of economic ideas, Cowen is the author of several bestselling books and is widely published in academic journals and the popular media. Cowen’s latest book is Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Antihero, which Cass Sunstein described as "iconoclastic, charming, [and] wise" and as "essential reading." He writes a column for Bloomberg View; has contributed extensively to national publications such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Money; and serves on the advisory boards of both Wilson Quarterly and American Interest. His research has been published in the American Economic Review, the Journal of Political Economy, Ethics, and Philosophy and Public Affairs.
Cowen is host of Conversations with Tyler, a popular podcast series featuring today's most underrated thinkers in wide-ranging explorations of their work, the world, and everything in between. Past guests include David Brooks, Malcolm Gladwell, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

March 31, 2020 | 4 p.m. | Memorial Union, Turquoise Room 220 

Previous events:

What happens when a campaign is over?  Daniel Scarpinato of the Ducey for Governor campaign, and Sarah Elliott of the Garcia Campaign, will share what they learned during the campaign and what they discussed after the dust of the campaign had settled. The panel will be co-moderated by The Arizona Republic's Maria Polletta, who covered the 2018 gubernatorial race and currently covers state politics. 

November 5 at 5 p.m. | Memorial Union, Alumni Lounge 



Reihan Salam Tomas Jimenez

Immigration has played an important role in almost every era in U.S. history, but it is often at the center of contentious political and economic debate. What does it mean to “become an American?” What responsibilities do new immigrants have to their newly adopted country? Reihan Salam and Tomás Jiménez will discuss the importance of civic integration for new immigrants to the United States and why it is necessary for both the new American and his or her new country.

October 30 at 5 p.m. | Memorial Union, Room 220


What is the role of the media in the renewal of our understanding of ourselves as citizens and participants in the American political order? What is the responsibility of the media in the promotion of civic literacy? David Leonhardt and Ramesh Ponnuru will discuss the role of the media in elevating civic literacy in a way that contributes to informed active citizenship. This event is free and open to the public, and a reception will follow. 

 October 7 at 5 p.m. | Old Main, Carson Ballroom


America today is characterized by deep and accelerating inequality; unprecedented political polarization; vitriolic public discourse; a fraying social fabric; public and private narcissism — Americans today seem to agree on only one thing: This is the worst of times. Harvard University professor and author of "Bowling Alone" Robert Putnam will discuss today's polarized times and how they relate to previous eras in the United States of America. This event is free and open to the public, and a reception will immediately follow.  

September 25 at 5 p.m. | Old Main, Carson Ballroom