Our Story

Since 1971, over 900,000 students and teachers have come to our nation’s capital to experience first-hand the power of the political process and how it affects them.


Close Up was founded to help students better understand their own democracy.

For nearly 50 years, we have strived to fulfill our mission by inspiring, empowering, and engaging young people and educators from across the United States and the world.



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Close Up exists to help young people become informed and engaged citizens.

Our unique approach engages students in the democratic process through current issue debates, collaborative learning, and the development of citizenship skills in order to help students become active and involved in our country’s political process.



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Our multi-partisan approach encourages students to learn about different perspectives and develop critical thinking skills.

Our students come from all walks of life, including urban, suburban, and rural communities, as well as those from a wide range of racial, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds. This diversity creates a dynamic learning environment where our students can discuss and debate the policy issues impacting our nation today.

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We are committed to helping all students find their voice.

Critical to our mission is facilitating the participation of students from all communities, including socioeconomically disadvantaged communities. All participation is made possible through the efforts of partnerships with parents, schools, teachers, and generous donors nationwide.

We help young people become informed and engaged citizens through...