With young people inspiring and mobilizing political movements across the globe, Close Up’s Institute for Deliberative Democracy—developed in partnership with Stanford’s Center for Deliberative Democracy and the National Network of Schools in Partnership—will provide you with the tools, knowledge, and experience you need to become a powerful advocate and leader. The Institute is a great way for students who have participated in our Empowering Girls’ Voices, IMPACT, Empower Youth Voices, and Close Up, DC programs to deepen their skills and meet passionate students from across the country.
We are offering a one-week National Youth Impact Summit and a two-week Advanced Deliberative Democracy Course as part of the Institute for Deliberative Democracy. Both programs will give you an unrivaled opportunity to meet and deliberate with other passionate high school students. Together you’ll develop a deep understanding of pressing national issues, deliberate to form lasting solutions, create a cohesive agenda for action, and learn how to effectively advocate for your proposals in front of public officials. Moving beyond political labels, you’ll come away from your experience with a nationwide network of fellow leaders, ready to make change at home.
The week-long National Youth Impact Summit equips you with the tools and knowledge to become a catalyst for change in your community. You will have the opportunity to network with a diverse group of peers from across the country and hear inspiring stories from young activists and policymakers on strategies and models of advocacy and activism. You will deepen your understanding of the characteristics and causes of pressing national issues, participate in a program-wide deliberation led by Stanford’s Center for Deliberative Democracy, work in small groups to create meaningful solutions, develop a cohesive Youth Agenda for Action, and meet with public officials to advocate for your proposals.
Building on a deep understanding of the national policy landscape and deliberation process from the National Youth Impact Summit, students that participate in the Advanced Course (week 2) will move towards examining why it is so difficult to enact change on pressing challenges facing the nation. Led by both Stanford and Close Up faculty, you will work with your peers on a real-world deliberative democracy project using the method of Deliberative Polling. You will gain the knowledge and facilitation skills needed to lead deliberations in your school and home communities and develop resources and events to encourage youth participation in nationwide deliberations. As part of the program, you will be certified by Close Up and Stanford’s Center for Deliberative Democracy as a Student Ambassador of Deliberative Dialogue.
Participation in a Close Up program requires parent or guardian approval for any participants under 18 years of age.
The application process is now open! You’ll be asked to provide contact and demographic information, answer a short essay prompt, and submit a teacher recommendation. We encourage you to apply as soon as possible, as space is limited and applications are reviewed in the order they are received.
You’ll be immersed in the real world of decision-making, deliberation, and advocacy work with a diverse group of students from across the United States. You’ll hear directly from policy experts, advocacy organizations, and policymakers from both sides of the aisle; examine the complexities of policy issues that matter to you; and practice crafting persuasive arguments to support various positions.
Each weekday, workshops will include a mix of lectures, discussions, hands-on activities, and group work. After dinner, you’ll have a chance to participate in social activities and explore Washington, DC, with your peers and Close Up facilitators until curfew at 11:00pm.