"I didn't know people were capable of having such thoughtful and intelligent dialogue with one another." We hear that a lot. Democracy Cafe's dialogue initiatives -- whether a Constitution Cafe, Socrates Cafe, Spirit of '76 Cafe, Constitution Conversation, what have you -- transform the way we regard one another, and ourselves. We tend to sell ourselves short when it comes to our ability to engage diverse people in reasonable, imaginative, passionate discourse. We aim to change the way we engage in public places and spaces, and as a result, not only make society more civil-minded, but civic-minded. We use a version of the Socratic method that inspires sympathetic immersion in diverse views, and the sustained consideration of compelling objections and alternatives to any given way of seeing things. The result more often that not is that stronger bonds are forged among intimates and strangers alike. This 'cafe experience' builds a more vibrant and inclusive democracy. It celebrates many kinds of diversity. It brings us closer to others we'd otherwise never have much to do with, and closer to ourselves.
Democracy Café is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit that strives to come to a greater understanding of the nature and future of democracy, and to influence its nature and future through such signature endeavors as Constitution Café™ , Socrates Café and Spirit of '76 Café™ that cultivate thoughtfulness, reasonableness and inclusiveness in an age of polarization.
We aim to expand the public debate around the globe about the possibilities for democratic governance and civic participation, and hold that genuine self-determination and enfranchisement hinges on continual participation and input of all citizens, including our children and youth.
A big part of the way we expand this debate is by changing the nature of how we go about debating. To that end, we promote a unique form of empathic civil discourse -- of a sort that cultivates those ‘dialogue virtues’ needed in order to foment far more inclusive civic discourse. To that end, we model a form of Socratic inquiry developed by our founder, Christopher Phillips. In our view, civil-mindedness must be a springboard to greater civic-mindedness, and so we aim to inspire people of all walks of life to come together and discover uncommon common ground, so that over time an entire citizenry is inspired and equipped to contribute to democratic vibrancy on both local and global scales.
BOARD MEMBERS and OFFICERS
Christopher Phillips, PhD, Founder/Executive Director (www.ChristopherPhillips.com )
James M. Burke, PhD, Director, Performance Management Group, Virginia Commonwealth University
Sam Fairchild, Chief Executive Officer and Director, Optiwind Corporation; President, the Tadpole Group; Director and CEO of Trailblazer Resources, Inc.
Cecilia Chapa Vargas, MEd, Secretary/Treasurer
Bobbie G. DeLeon, EdD, Defense Acquisitions University, Chair of Democracy Cafe
Stephen Duncombe, PhD, Associate Professor, New York University, Gallatin School
David Blacker, PhD, Professor, School of Education, University of Delaware
Linda Pierce, MBA, Performance Management Group, Virginia Commonwealth University
Paul Martin, Chief Investment Officer, Martin Capital Advisors, LLP
Andrew Murphy, PhD, Associate Professor of Political Science, and Director, Walt Whitman Center for the Culture and Politics and Democracy, Rutgers University
Dr. Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law and Leadership, Harvard Law School, Director of Harvard’s Safra Center for Ethics, Author of 'Republic Lost'
Dr. Cornel West, Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice, Union Theological Seminary, Professor Emeritus, Princeton University, Author of 'Democracy Matters' and 'Race Matters.'
Dr. Damon Horowitz, former In-House Philosopher at Google, Professor at Columbia University, (http://www.ted.com/talks/damon_horowitz_philosophy_in_prison.html)
Julie Silverbrook, Executive Director, ConSource
Mike Li, Philosopher, Walter Kaufmann scholar (www.walterkaufmann.com)
Thaddeus Russell, PhD, historian, scholar, essayist, author of 'A Renegade History of the United States'
Peter Schoonmaker, PhD, Environmental Scientist, Founder of Illahee (www.Illahee.org), Founding Chair, MFA in Collaborative Design, Pacific Northwest College of Art
Brian Austin, Detective, SWAT cop, Founder of Cops for Labor, Madison, WI
Stewart Harris, Professor of Law, Host, ‘Your Weekly Constitutional’
Christopher Martin, PhD,University of British Columbia, Specialist in Discourse Ethics
FOUNDING SPONSORS ($5,000 or more)
Wolfgang Somary, Banker, Author, and Poet
The Whitman Institute
If you’d like to support our mission, please follow the link below
Contributions are tax deductible.