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Danielle Allen on achieving democracy's ideals

35 minutes

Danielle Allen is a leader of two large-scale efforts to make democracy truly inclusive and reimagine the way we teach new generations of democratic citizens. She joins us this week to discuss both initiatives and how to build coalitions for effective change

Allen is the James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University and Director of Harvard's Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics. She is a leader and spokesperson for Our Common Purpose from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Educating for American Democracy, a collaboration among dozens of civics-focused organizations and educators.

These projects share a theme that democracy is in crisis and the only way out of it is to double down on democratic reforms while wrestling with our complicated past and admitting that the United States has never been a fully inclusive democracy. Allen says that reforms are achievable and desired by many people across the country and across the political spectrum. 

Getting there won't be easy, however. Chris describes these efforts as the "Manhattan Project for democracy," but Allen says she is a "not an optionalist," meaning that, if we want democracy to succeed, we have no other choice but to push forward despite the naysayers out there.

Additional Information

Our Common Purpose

Educating for American Democracy

Allen's lecture for the McCourtney Institute 

Allen on Twitter

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Start listening to Citizenship, patriotism, and democracy in the classroom
33:55
Start listening to Citizenship, patriotism, and democracy in the classroom
33:55