Distributed March 20, 2003
News Service Contact: Kristen Cole
Choices for the 21st Century
High school students travel to state capitols for civic education program
High school students from Connecticut, Illinois, Nebraska, Rhode Island, and Utah, will travel to their state capitols March 21 through April 18 to debate the role of the U.S. in the world, the war with Iraq, and critical international concerns on the environment, immigration, trade, and conflict resolution. The students are participating in the Capitol Forum on America’s Future, designed by Brown University’s Choices for the 21st Century Education Program.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — High school students from Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska, Rhode Island and Utah will travel to their state capitols March 21 through April 18 to deliberate on U.S. foreign policy and critical international problems relating to the environment, immigration, trade, and conflict resolution. The trip caps six months of classroom study and debate as part of the Capitol Forum on America’s Future, designed by the Choices for the 21st Century Education Program at Brown’s Watson Institute for International Studies.
The Capitol Forum is a civic education initiative designed to give high school students a voice in public consideration of current international issues. The program, run on a statewide basis in participating states, involves students both within the social studies classroom and beyond the classroom at their state capitol. The forum seeks to raise awareness of critical international issues and to help develop a foundation for long-term civic engagement.
At the heart of the Capitol Forum is an exploration of four distinct visions, or “Futures,” for the United States in the coming years. While deliberating, students will have an opportunity to articulate their views and concerns to state and congressional officials. The yearlong program culminates in a student ballot that is shared with elected officials and the media.
In each participating state, the Capitol Forum is a partnership between Choices, the office of the Secretary of State, and a statewide organization that supports civic participation and youth development. The National Association of Secretaries of State and the National Council for the Social Studies has endorsed the program, which has received funding from the Longview Foundation, the United States Institute of Peace, and private donors.
The Capitol Forum Schedule and local contacts:
For more information about the Capitol Forum on America’s Future, contact Nancy Hamlin Soukup at the Watson Institute for International Studies, (401) 863-3438, or Nancy_Soukup@Brown.edu. An outline of the Choices for the 21st Century Education Program is available at www.choices.edu.