Institute of Civic Studies and Learning for Democracy

(I will not be able to attend this whole event because of my teaching responsibilities at Tufts, but I will help with planning it and certainly endorse it.)

Call for Applications

We are happy to invite applications for the Institute of Civic Studies and Learning for Democracy (ICSLD) that will take place at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia (USA), from September 3–10, 2023. The ICSLD is organized by a team from University of Augsburg, Germany (Tetyana Hoggan-Kloubert), North Carolina State University (Chad Hoggan), and the Madison Center for Civic Engagement at James Madison University (David Kirkpatrick, Kara Dillard), with support from Tufts University (Peter Levine) and University of Maryland (Karol Soltan).

Objectives and Topics

The Institute of Civic Studies and Learning for Democracy is an intensive, 8-day, seminar and residential retreat—bringing together an international group of practitioners, graduate students, and scholars from diverse professions and fields of study. Participants will be staying in the same hotel and participating in workshops, planning sessions, and social events all day and evening throughout the nine days. Costs for hotel and meals are covered by ICSLD.

The ICSLD deals with issues related to the development of civic society, the role of the individual/citizen in society, the role of education in promoting democracy, the role of institutions in the development of a civic society, and questions related to the ethical foundation of civic issues in a democratic society. These topics will be examined in international and comparative perspectives.

The ICSLD engages participants in challenging discussions such as:

  • What kinds of citizens do democracies need?
  • What do citizens need to know and be able to do in order to participate effectively in democratic society?
  • What practices and institutional structures promote effective adult civic learning?
  • What ought to be the relationships among empirical evidence, ethics, and strategy?
  • How can we learn from influential theorists and practitioners at important turning points in history?

The Institute of Civic Studies and Learning for Democracy is a continuation of the Summer Institute of Civic Studies, which was organized annually by Peter Levine, Karol Soltan, and Tetyana Hoggan-Kloubert from 2015-2019 (and at Tufts University 2009- 2018).

How to apply

All application materials must be submitted in English. The application must include the following:

  • A cover letter telling us why you want to participate in the ICSLD and how the seminar will help you promote civic capacities and engagement in the area in which you live (currently or in the future) (maximum 2 pages)
  • A curriculum vitae or resumé

All application materials should be sent as an email attachment in .DOC or .PDF format to The total number of participants will be limited to 20. We will consider applications from any country. We are interested in applicants who have a long-term interest in developing the civic potential in their respective countries. Participants will be asked to attend two brief online meetings prior to the ICSLD and to prepare by reading provided texts in advance of the Institute.

The working language of the ICSLD will be English. Your mastery of the English language must be sufficient to read and understand complex texts from multiple disciplines, and to take part in lively discussions.

Deadline For best consideration apply by March 15. Decisions will be announced late April.

Expenditures Participants will be provided with lodging, meals, and full event access. Participants will be responsible for their own travel costs. We are seeking additional funding to contribute towards travel costs. If those funds become available, we will inform applicable participants.

Contact For more information about the Institute of Civic Studies and Learning for Democracy, please contact We encourage you to share this message with your networks of people who might be interested in attending.

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About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.