The Citizens Campaign today announced the establishment of 10 Citizen Leadership Centers based primarily at Community Colleges around the nation. The Leadership Centers aim to give citizens the tools and know-how to exercise their power beyond the ballot, equipping them with the pragmatic, problem solving skills needed to work together despite their political differences. Over the next two years, The Citizens Campaign plans to establish an additional 100 Leadership Centers.
The initiative’s first wave of Citizen Leadership Centers are being established in eight states beginning with community colleges including: Bakersfield College (Bakersfield, California); Highline College (borders Seattle, Washington); Hagerstown Community College (Hagerstown, Maryland);Harold Washington College (Chicago, Illinois); Houston Community College (Houston, Texas); Mercer County Community College (Trenton, New Jersey); Middlesex College (Perth Amboy, New Jersey); Pikes Peak Community College (Colorado Springs, Colorado) and Trident Technical College (Charleston, South Carolina). A Citizen Leadership Center is also being established at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey.
These pioneering Citizen Leadership Centers will pave the way for a new National Public Service, designed to add a new dimension to America’s historically paternalistic, top-down mode of leadership. Citizens who work together at these Centers can help solve our nation’s problems by developing and advancing their own evidence-based proposals while upholding a high standard of service.
The Citizen Leadership Centers will have three core components: (1) citizen leadership training for the communities that the colleges’ serve via their continuing education platforms; (2) Civic Trusts where those who have completed the leadership training can work together in No-Blame Problem Solving sessions to improve their communities and their Country with cost-effective, evidence-based solutions; and (3) the Leadership Centers will also include citizen leadership training for college students in one or more undergraduate courses.
“Healing the public divide and fortifying our democracy requires citizens to do more than vote and then become spectators, often frustrated by the blame game of today’s politicians,” said Harry Pozycki, Founder of The Citizens Campaign. “These Citizen Leadership Centers will serve as the foundation for citizens to achieve the full measure of their political power so they can join together on the common ground of practical problem solving and break free of the often negative manipulation of cable news shows.”
Robert Putnam, nationally recognized expert on American democracy and winner of the Presidential Medal of the Humanities, praised the initiative saying: “The community-based Citizen Leadership Centers being developed across the country by The Citizens Campaign are just what we need to rekindle our American values and generate the new leaders and ideas essential to meeting the challenges of the 21st Century.”
Bart Oates, President of the NFL Alumni Association which is partnering with The Citizens Campaign in this endeavor said, “The NFL Alumni Association provides its enthusiastic backing of this essential effort to empower citizens to take personal responsibility for refocusing America on solutions and developing the pragmatic leaders we need at all levels of our nation.” Oates added, “As a former player on 3 winning Super Bowl teams, I know just how important it is to know the plays and the rules of the game. This is the kind of know-how that makes The Citizens Campaign leadership training critical for engagement in the game of government problem solving.”
R. Allen Bolar, Professor of Political Science at Bakersfield College said, “Developing new leaders who know how to work with people with whom they disagree and are skilled at identifying practical solutions is essential if we are to successfully address our local and national challenges. Those are the skills that our Citizen Leadership Center will impart to our students and interested members of the communities we serve.”
Jennifer Mason, Vice Chancellor for the City Colleges of Chicago said, “It is essential that we equip our students and our community members to be active citizens with the power to shape the future of Chicago and the Nation. Establishing a Citizen Leadership Center at Harold Washington College is important to this critical mission.”
Veronica L. Reyna, Associate Chair of the Department of Government at Houston Community College, said, “The training provided through our Citizen Leadership Center will teach our students and the community we serve to participate beyond the ballot, working together as problem-solvers on the challenges facing Houston and the broader American community.”
The robust array of tools and training offered at the Citizen Leadership Centers include, for example, the citizen leadership training manual, CITIZEN POWER, published by Rutgers University Press; an online video course which issues a certificate of training in Leadership and No-Blame Problem Solving; and a National Solutions Sharing Platform. Its educational leadership training portal is an invitation to all citizens to work together with a No-Blame commitment to put America back on the path of practical problem solving.
The Citizens Campaign is a community of citizen problem-solvers dedicated to adding a citizen driven dimension to our Country’s leadership capacity and to restoring service, civility and pragmatism to America’s political culture. For more information, visit: https://thecitizenscampaign.org/
To watch a recording of the announcement media conference: https://www.facebook.com/CitizensCampaign/videos/295683828675371/