PublicSquare convenes highly informative and interactive seminars led by distinguished commentators that explore innovative policy solutions to the critical issues of our time. Its community-based discussions, lectures, and forums are designed to educate the public, inspire civic participation and, in turn, revitalize democratic culture. Modeled after the 17th-century New England town meeting, which Thomas Jefferson called “the best school of political liberty the world ever saw,” PublicSquare expands upon long-established, American traditions of collective deliberation and direct democracy.
Influential guest speakers including journalists, writers, researchers, scholars, and activists are invited to analyze key policy issues ranging from health care to immigration, climate change to economic inequality, and human rights to foreign affairs by focusing upon the historical context, social values, cultural frameworks, and political climate of which they are emblematic. Participants are drawn from a cross-section of elected representatives, community leaders, members of clergy, nonprofit activists, state/local government agency staff, plus faculty and students from institutions of higher education. After providing an assessment of current policies and future options, speakers lead the participants in a rigorous evaluation of which alternatives merit adoption and which strategies promise the greatest success.
Each seminar includes between 35-45 invited guests, lasts for two hours, and is followed by a reception. Prior to each one attendees receive carefully selected readings pertaining to the issue under discussion. Following each one, they are encouraged to contact the various local, regional, state, and national organizations/networks advocating around the issue. Neither partisan nor sectarian, PublicSquare promises to reinstate the kind of reasoned conversation about political affairs that has largely disappeared from American civic life and that is essential to the perpetuation of our democracy.