WHO WE ARE
Democracy Café envisions an inclusive and participatory society where regular exchanges of ideas take place, and people approach one another with greater openness, and less fear.
Our goal is to inspire curiosity and wonder, to nurture self-discovery and democracy.
The vision of Democracy Café isn’t just about facilitating good conversation. “It’s grass-roots democracy,” Democracy Café founder and executive director Christopher Phillips, PhD, a foremost specialist in the Socratic Method, told Time magazine. “It’s only in a group setting that people can hash out their ideas about how we should act not just as an individual but as a society.”
Our signature initiatives include the global Socrates Café movement, as well as Constitution Café, Democracy Café, First Amendment Conversations with Cops, and Design your Democracy. These programs have touched 30,000 people across the world. Many of these programs have been replicated across the country, and in Australia, India and Japan, among populations that crave meaningful discourse that galvanize more direct civic engagement.
Our newest undertaking, The Declaration Project, celebrates the spirit of all Declarations that strive to make ours a more open and inclusive world. It gives people of all ages and walks of life the chance to connect with their revolutionary heritage, to discover their political voice, and to take action.
The website for the Declaration Project aims to display the largest collection of Declarations in one online location, and will give people a transformative place to share and formalize their individual convictions. It also provides a forum for engaging in exchanges to discover ‘uncommon common ground’ that can galvanize diverse people into taking unified action.
As the Los Angeles Times notes, ours are “orchestrated discussions on … Solomonic topics at nursing homes, maximum-security prisons, churches, homeless shelters, bookstores and coffeehouses across the country, gently prodding students, urban professionals, unreconstructed slackers, street people and others to share their worldviews and scrutinize their most basic assumptions.”
Those who take part rekindle their passion for inquiry --and “not about any chance question,” as Socrates put it in Plato’s Republic, “but about the way one should live.”