Civitas Bosnia and Herzegovina Celebrates 20th Anniversary of Project Citizen Finals Showcase

Jun 08, 2017 / Civitas International Programs, Project Citizen

Nearly four hundred students, teachers, and young artists participated in the 20th annual Project Citizen Finals in Bosnia and Herzegovina this year, presenting public policy portfolios that represented thirty-five elementary and high schools. The event was hosted by Civitas Bosnia and Herzegovina (Civitas BiH)–a Civitas International Programs partner–as well as the U.S. Embassy Sarajevo Office for Public Affairs and the state government Ministry of Civil Affairs.

Students show their understanding of public policy by applying it to issues that affect their lives and communities.

Students show their understanding of public policy by applying it to issues that affect their lives and communities.

Participants assembled in the Great Hall of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina on Saturday, May 20, as Paul Horowitz, the United States Deputy Chief of Mission, declared the opening of the showcase. Other notable attendees were Leah Pease, head of the U.S. Embassy Office for Public Affairs; Rahela Dzidic, the U.S. Embassy education specialist; Adnan Husic, Deputy Minister of Civil Affairs; Predrag Damjanovic, head of the Republika Srpska Pedagogical Institute; and, Zoran Matosevic, Deputy Minister of the Middle Bosnia Ministry of Education.

Project Citizen teaches students the fundamentals of democracy at all academic levels and provides practical ways for young people to participate as responsible citizens. Students identify a public policy problem in their community. They then research the problem, evaluate alternative solutions, develop their own solution in the form of a public policy, and create a political action plan to enlist local or national authorities to adopt their proposed policy. Participants develop a portfolio of their work and present their project in a public hearing showcase before a panel of civic-minded community members. Students often contact public officials and attempt to convince them to adopt their policy proposal.

In this year’s showcase, students explored social problems and advocated for their resolution by suggesting changes to public policy. Project Citizen is one of the many programs led by Civitas BiH. Since its establishment in 1996 as a joint initiative of the Center for Civic Education, Civitas BiH has been viewed as a leader in civic education. The academic and training materials developed by Civitas BiH are the only materials in the official curricula in use by all ethnic groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s elementary and high schools. With interculturalism as a focus, Civitas BiH organizes multiethnic youth democracy camps, homestay exchanges, volunteer activities, and school lessons to create a democratic culture in schools.

Although the Project Citizen Finals weekend was drawn to a close by Drew Giblin, the U.S. Embassy Attaché for Culture and Education, Civitas BiH continues to promote the goals of increasing civic education and creating a willingness in young people to use democratic procedures for making decisions and managing conflict.

Maggie Walker Governor’s School Places First in We the People National Finals

May 22, 2017 / We the People

The Center for Civic Education celebrated 30 years of the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution program with the 2017 We the People National Finals, held April 21–24 on Capitol Hill and at a new location: the National Conference Center in Leesburg, Virginia.

Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School placed first in the 30th Annual We the People National Finals.

Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School placed first in the 30th Annual We the People National Finals.

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Fishers Junior High School Takes Top Honors at the We the People National Invitational

May 22, 2017 / We the People

More than 250 middle school students from across the country competed in the Fifth Annual We the People National Invitational, held April 28–May 1 at the National Conference Center in Leesburg, Virginia. The competition tested students’ knowledge of the Constitution and the fundamental principles of American government. Read the rest of this entry »

Victoria Bull Named Colorado Civic Educator of the Year

May 22, 2017 / We the People

We the People teacher  Victoria Bull was recently presented with the 2017 Governor’s Award: Colorado Civic Educator of the Year by Colorado Assistant Commissioner of Education Leanne Emm on behalf of Governor John Hickenlooper. The award is sponsored by Civic Canopy. Read the rest of this entry »

We the People Teacher Richard Clark Receives Excellence in Education Award

May 22, 2017 / We the People

Reno High School We the People teacher Richard Clark was recently presented with an Excellence in Education award by NBC affiliate News 4. Read the rest of this entry »

“Hard Work Is The Great Equalizer” Utah’s Sky View High School on Competing in the We the People National Finals

May 06, 2017 / We the People

This story from Utah Public Radio profiles Sky View High School’s We the People team. Teacher Michael Rigby said, “It is paramount that these kids understand democratic processes. Regardless of what they do they’ll be active members in the community. They’ve done some longitudinal studies, the statistics show that well over 90 percent of these students become active voters, and they become politically and civically engaged.” Listen to and read the story: http://upr.org/post/hard-work-great-equalizer-sky-views-we-people-competing-dc

We the People Teacher Katie Boland “Changes Lives”

Mar 09, 2017 / We the People

Katie Boland and her students at the 2015 We the People National Finals

Katie Boland and her students strike a pose at the 2015 We the People National Finals

Though we here at the Center for Civic Education know how incredible all We the People teachers are, one high school teacher from Trumbull, Connecticut is receiving nationwide recognition for her exceptional performance and “life-changing” attitude. Read the rest of this entry »

Alaska Middle Schoolers Shine With Project Citizen

Mar 08, 2017 / Project Citizen

In Eagle River, Alaska, three middle schoolers are striving to make a difference in their community, and Project Citizen is here to help. In Project Citizen, a Center for Civic Education program, students identify a public policy problem in their community. They then research the problem, evaluate alternative solutions, develop their own solution in the form of a public policy, and create an action plan to enlist local or state authorities to adopt their proposed policy. Read the rest of this entry »

Congratulations, Constitution 101 Graduates!

Dec 14, 2016 / We the People

Recently, Indianapolis residents had the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in lessons about our political system, its philosophical roots, and the ideals embodied in our Constitution. The workshop was made possible by the support of Robert Leming, the National Director of the We the People Program.

Workshop participants were asked critical questions about the present-day challenges facing the Constitution, as well as questions about how the document shaped American institutions and practices. Overall, the workshop proved to be a great opportunity for community members to analyze the relationship between the Constitution and the creation and basic framework of our political system.

On the last day of the workshop, eighth grade students from the We the People program were able to demonstrate a simulated congressional hearing. All participants took home an American Legacy Constitution Booklet, and a We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution textbook. With these tools in hand, they will be able to continue to think critically about what it means to be an active citizen.

All content for the workshop was based on the We the People curriculum, a nationally acclaimed course of study that focuses on the history and principles of the Constitution.

Special thanks to Winning Experiences for co-sponsoring the event. The workshop was held on each Tuesday, from October 25- November 29, 2016, at the Francis W. Parker Montessori School in Indianapolis, IN.

Milwaukee Project Citizen Class Tackles Tough Issues at Hmong American Peace Academy

Nov 07, 2016 / E-news, Project Citizen

In only his second year of teaching Project Citizen, Michael Hanley at the Hmong American Peace Academy in Milwaukee showed that he is an excellent teacher. In an eloquent video and article from the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, Hanley explains that he believes “each child, no matter where they are from or what ethnicity they are, should have access to a high quality education.” Read the rest of this entry »