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Intentional programming shapes the learning experiences of the Public Democracy Scholars and other Drake students with an interest in politics, community leadership, public service, law, policy, or social change.

Elevating Civility in Local Elections

An invitation and call-to-action for elected officials and potential candidates.

In the American Bar Association’s recent annual Survey of Civic Literacy, 85% of Americans believe society is less civil than it was a decade ago, and they blame social media and public officials for that decline.

Local elected officials are the closest to the people, literally and figuratively. You are connectors and leaders in your community and often the most accessible to the constituents your serve. You are the best conduit to carry the message of civility forward during the upcoming elections.

Join us on May 30th from 4:30 - 6:00 p.m. at Drake University for a panel discussion and candid conversation on civility in our local elections. Strategies will be shared that can enhance civility as you lead and serve as an elected official or as you are making plans to campaign for public office.

Register for free at the link below! 

Register Now 

Learn more about our panelists:

  Russ Trimble, Mayor of West Des Moines                    
   Paula Dierenfeld, Mayor of Johnston
   Joseph Jones, Windsor Heights City Council Member

Civic Leadership Academy for High School Students

During the summer of 2023, Drake University will host the Civic Leadership Academy - an exclusive opportunity for juniors to learn from scholars, policymakers, and thought leaders.

The Academy, being held July 10-12, 2023, immerses 25 high school students in an intensive and rewarding leadership development program that gives students the skills to stand out as student leaders. 

There is no cost to students to attend; meals, lodging, and fun evening activities will be provided. Students will be responsible for their own transportation to and from the Drake University campus in Des Moines, Iowa.

Center for Public Democracy Summer Institute

Beginning in the summer of 2024, the Center for Public Democracy will convene an intensive democracy-in-action experience focused on a contemporary issue capturing the public’s imagination. Public Democracy Scholars will work with faculty and staff from within the Center to plan, develop, and implement this signature event (contributing to their Democratic Practice hours). These summer institutes, “Talking Politics, Practicing Democracy,” bring together civic leaders, policymakers, journalists, scientists, activists, scholars, and citizens. The summer institute will also include leadership training for high school students who will actively engage in the institute with summit participants.

National Civility Summit for Local Government

In partnership with the National League of Cities and the Iowa League of Cities, the Center for Public Democracy at Drake University hosted the first annual National Civility Summit for Local Government on Wednesday, December 7, 2022. Plans are underway to host the annual summit again on Wednesday, December 6, 2023. Please return to this site for updated information.

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