Skip to content
Debate 2012 - October 16, 2012

A Guide to the Presidential Debate and Pride, Politics & Policy Education and Event Series

Print this page

Host a Deliberative Forum

The Center for Civic Engagement Facilitates Issue Discussions around Long Island

Deliberative Forum

Political institutions in this society are suffering a deep legitimacy crisis. According to a USA Today poll (12/21/11), only 8% of the American public approve of the work Congress is doing. Part of this legitimacy crisis extends from a combination of a declining level of civic literacy coupled with a declining level of civility among those who do participate in candidate and town hall forums.

Hofstra University seeks to take advantage of the excitement generated by our hosting a Presidential debate in 2012 to promote civic literacy on Long Island (home to the country’s oldest suburbs) through facilitating a series of public deliberations. Between the Spring and Fall of 2012, the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) will sponsor a series of town hall meeting-style forums on issues facing the nation, particularly in light of the 2012 Presidential, Congressional and State elections. The issues addressed include immigration, America’s role in the world, the debt, the economy, education, energy, the internet, and youth violence. The deliberations are conducted in a scrupulously nonpartisan manner by trained moderators who strive to involve participants as members of a jury would be: weighing carefully the pros and cons of policy proposals, clarifying what additional data is needed to make informed judgments, seeking common ground, and exploring whether or not agreement can be reached on policy directions (all the while eschewing partisan/political party-identified debate).

One hundred forums will be held at a diverse array of local middle and high schools, public libraries, and Hofstra University. Preliminary results of the deliberations will be presented as part of CCE’s annual Day of Dialogue—scheduled to take place on the Wednesday prior to the debate. In addition to printing and posting the results online, we will conduct surveys to evaluate the effects of the forums upon participants.

The forums are facilitated by students affiliated with the Center for Civic Engagement. Participating students receive extensive training through a course offered by a Professor with years of facilitation experience.

It is our expectation that the project will build stronger communities of active citizens capable of both recognizing and working through complexities to identify policies that address multiple interests. It is our hope that, in meeting this expectation, we will strengthen the grassroots basis of an effectively functioning democracy.

For more information about recent forums, to meet the facilitators, or to schedule a forum in your community, please visit