The Frank Islam Institute for 21st Century Citizenship has been created to address an increasing civic engagement deficit in the United States and around the world, and to enhance the concept of citizenship for the challenges and opportunities of our times. 21st century citizenship is the active civic participation of citizens of all ages, in ways that are issue-oriented, informed, independent, and involved.
In our view it will require:
- The continuous engagement of the citizenry.
- An expansion of civic responsibility into all areas of life–individual, organizational, political, community, and social
- A blurring of boundaries between government and the governed.
- The embrace of technology and globalization as positive forces for change
To this end, we’ve launched the Institute with:
- A blog, Pivot Points, that focuses on the areas where change is both most possible and most necessary at the present moment in time.
- A monthly newsletter (sign up here) that covers the latest, most thought-provoking, innovative, and impactful research, writings, apps, services, projects, platforms (and more) generated all over the world in support of the goals of the 21st century citizenship movement.
- An annual competition, Civic Engagement Champions, in partnership with the National Association of State Boards of Education, to highlight the work of outstanding middle school teachers who are fostering civic engagement in their classrooms. Educational research indicates the formation of a positive orientation towards a subject early in schooling is critical, middle school is where we believe this orientation should start (and where the engagement gap is largest), and teachers are the ones to make it happen. Good teachers are the difference makers in their classroom and beyond. They empower their students to become good citizens and make their schools and communities better.
- Books that cover the ideas and ideals of 21st century citizenship in immersive depth, beginning with our own.
- Showcases celebrating exemplary 21st century citizenship initiatives, programs, and applications in education, communities, and technology, plus individuals who model what it means to be a 21st century citizen.
- Our international writings on major issues facing countries outside the US, in support of the global dimension we believe new citizenship will acquire and require.
More will be added over time.