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Center for Engagement and Community Development

News Features

Civics and Civility Summit brings community leaders together, inspires discussion

K-State Engagement E-News, December 2007 (PDF)

by Stephanie Faulk

Participants listen to guest speaker at summit.

Participants listen to guest speaker at summit.

The 2007 Civics and Civility Summit brought people together under a shared purpose — to understand the current state of civility, to build awareness of civic programs in schools, and to identify civic community needs and their solutions. These goals may seem lofty for a single day, but knowledge can often be the first step to action.

Many distinguished leaders spoke at the event including K-State President Jon Wefald, former Kansas Governor John Carlin, and U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten. Ron Thornburgh, Kansas secretary of state, delivered the keynote address.

"By getting young people engaged in the process we'll increase voter turnout," Thornburgh said. "And, at the end of the day, young people will be more independent minded."

Congresswoman Nancy Boyda also spoke at the summit in a panel discussion. She argued that the media portrays compromise as giving up or as something that is not worthy of newspaper headlines.

"Compromise is not a dirty word," Boyda said.

Not only were summit participants able to hear great speakers, but they also attended various breakout sessions. These allowed small groups of individuals to come together and discuss ideas in an intimate setting. Dale Dennis, the deputy commissioner of the Kansas State Department of Education, presented civic education awards to various individuals during the lunch hour.

The summit was sponsored by CECD, the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy, the Center for Civic Education, We the People, the Kansas Press Association, KTWU Local Public Television, the Kansas State Department of Education, and the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site. About 100 people attended the event.