Section 1


Events at the Cline Center


The Cline Center for Democracy organizes two types of conferences on a regular basis. One derives from its public engagement mission, the other from its research mission. The public engagement mission requires that educators reach beyond academia so that their expertise can make immediate and concrete contributions to society. The research mission requires that scholars devote their energies to the generation of new knowledge, the generation and dissemination of which is the raison d'etre of research universities. If universities did not generate an on-going flow of new knowledge its societal contributions would be greatly diminished.

The Center is deeply committed to public engagement and its most visible public contributions are a set of symposia series it organizes, some of which are active others of which are not. These include: the Cline Symposium, the Northern Trust Forum on Democracy, Globalization and Societal Welfare, and the Lincoln Symposium. Organizing these annual events is a major activity within the Center because they are central to its mission. While each series has a different focus, each is an effort to enrich American civic life by creating better informed citizens and civic leaders. The Center uses its resources to identify key public issues and assemble relevant information and speakers. It then assembles students and prominent citizens within a structured setting that facilitates meaningful dialogue and a deep, rich understanding of the issues at hand.

The generation of new knowledge requires a variety of commitments, including targeting and designing research projects, implementing research strategies, and assessing the results. Scholarly conferences can play a role in each of these areas. Consequently, the Center periodically sponsors research conferences that are likely to pay large dividends. Sometimes these conferences are organized by the Center and are an integral part of its research activities; in other cases the Center supports conferences organized by others that are directly related to its mission.