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The Democracy Project Launches Discussion Series with Diverse Communities of University Students

October 16, 2018
This week, The Democracy Project launched a series of university events to deepen understanding of young Americans’ attitudes about democracy, as examined in The Democracy Project.

The Democracy Project Launches Discussion Series with Diverse Communities of University Students

Students to Explore Fundamental Questions about Democracy

October 16, 2018 – This week, Freedom House, the George W. Bush Institute, and the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement launched a series of university events to deepen understanding of young Americans’ attitudes about democracy, as examined in our bipartisan national polling initiative called The Democracy Project. These moderated discussions on four diverse university campuses across the country will explore key questions about our democratic system, its strengths and weaknesses, and how we can build youth participation.

Events will take place at the following universities:

  • University of Pennsylvania: October 16; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Arizona State University: 4:30-6 p.m. October 25; Phoenix, Arizona.
  • Florida International University: 2-4 p.m. October 30; Miami, Florida.
  • Southern Methodist University: 3-4:30 p.m. November 5; Dallas, Texas.

The Democracy Project, a polling research study released in June 2018, drew its findings from 10 focus groups and a nationwide telephone survey of 1,400 adults. The findings revealed significant gaps between 18-29-year-olds and people over 30 on a series of questions about democracy. Namely, young adults felt less strongly about the importance of democracy. While 81 percent of younger participants rated the importance of living in a democracy between 6 and 10 on a 10-point scale, only slightly less than the public overall, just 39 percent rated it “absolutely important”— far below the 60 percent figure for respondents overall.

These discussions will seek to garner additional insights into how young people view issues impacting our democracy and how these gaps in enthusiasm may be addressed. This effort is part of The Democracy Project’s goal to develop strategies that will strengthen support for fundamental democratic values.

Media interested in attending these conversations should contact Miriam Spradling, Manager of Communications at the George W. Bush Institute, at mspradling@bushcenter.org.