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Frontiers of Democracy Conference

Frontiers of Democracy is an annual conference hosted by the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University since 2009. The 2018 conference will take place from June 21 (5:00 p.m.) until June 23 (1:00 p.m.) at Tufts University’s downtown Boston campus in Chinatown.

Partners for the conference in 2018 include the Bridge Alliance, the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, the National Conference on Citizenship, and the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.

You can now register and pay to hold a spot. Please note that speakers and session organizers must purchase tickets.

Frontiers 2018 Theme

According to Freedom House, democracy has been in retreat worldwide for 12 years. Many people are pushing back, including activists and organizers who are nonviolently struggling, using tactics like strikes, boycotts, and mass demonstrations against entrenched power. Other individuals and groups take different approaches, some seeking a greater degree of neutrality and emphasizing deliberative dialogue, particularly when they work within institutions such as schools, public agencies, and newspapers. This year, Frontiers will bring people from these communities of scholarship and practice together to ask how they can learn from and complement each another.

Propose a Session

You may propose sessions for Frontiers 2018 using this form. For best consideration, please submit your proposals no later than March 16, 2018.

Three kinds of proposals are welcome:

  1. A presentation by you (or by you with a colleague) that the conference organizers can combine with other presentations to create a session
  2. A panel that you organize with several other confirmed presenters
  3. Another other kind of session that you organize, such as a design workshop, deliberation, debate, planning meeting, training session, etc.

Individual presentations are limited to 10 minutes. Sessions last 90 minutes and must use interactive formats. The submission form will require the names and contact information of your confirmed co-presenters. You may propose more than one idea using the same form.

Frontiers of Democracy immediately follows the Summer Institute of Civic Studies, a selective 2-week seminar for scholars, practitioners, and advanced graduate students. Applications for the Summer Institute are being received until March 16, 2018.

Frontiers 2017

Thanks to everyone who joined us at an exciting, thought-provoking, and timely Frontiers of Democracy 2017. You can watch video of this year's introduction, "short take" speakers, and one of our afternoon plenaries, below. (You can click on each video's title to watch on YouTube and, in the description, find timestamps that allow you to skip to a specfiic speaker's presentation.)

Frontiers 2017 was focused on multiple frameworks for civic and democratic work developed respectively by Caesar McDowell of the Interaction Institute for Social Change and MIT, Archon Fung of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and Tisch College’s Peter Levine. Our short take speakers included Rev. Dr. F. Willis Johnson, the senior minister of Wellspring Church in Ferguson, Missouri; Wendy Willis of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium and the National Policy Consensus Center; and Hardy Merriman, President of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.

In addition, the Journal of Public Deliberation, the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, and The Democracy Imperative held a preconference symposium on “Deliberative Democracy in an Era of Rising Authoritarianism.”

Check out the preconference symposium's agenda and readings and the full Frontiers 2017 schedule.

Sign up for Updates

Fill out this short form for occasional announcements about the Frontiers of Democracy Conference and the Summer Institute of Civic Studies. Please note that completing this form does not mean that you have officially applied to either.