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Over the last generation, citizens have increasingly expressed discontent with national politics. Approval ratings for Congress are consistently low regardless of which party is in power, and many feel that the government is riddled with too much gridlock and partisan gamesmanship. Senior statesmen and women have noted that the collegiality they shared in the past with peers of differing political ideologies has disappeared in this era of polarization. The ability to discuss issues from varying points of view and then compromise on solutions appears to be fading from the American political process. Is the art of debate and compromise lost on contemporary politics in the United States? Is it possible to restore civility to Congress, and should we try? Was civility ever as dominant as current characterizations often suggest?
The Community Idea Stations and the University of Virginia Center for Politics tackle this subject through a production partnership resulting in Out of Order, a thirty-minute documentary, premiering on Thursday, October 25 at 8:30pm on WCVE PBS Richmond and WHTJ PBS Charlottesville.
This timely documentary explores the decline in civil discourse; the news media’s role in this, including the internet; partisan gridlock; vanishing commitment to reasonable compromise; declining civic engagement; and the roles of factors such as gerrymandering, filibustering, increased showboating, scandal, and cynicism. The documentary proposes some reforms that might restore what Thomas Jefferson referred to as “the most legitimate engine of government.”
Out of Order relies on interviews with prominent academics, journalists, political observers, and senior (current and former) elected officials. The production features first-hand accounts by respected statesmen and women. Out of Order interviews include Senator Mark Warner, Senator John Warner emeritus, CBS news’ Bob Schiefer, Senator Alan Simpson, and others.
More viewing times around Virginia are listed below:
WCVE Richmond PBS
October 25 8:30pm
WCVW Richmond PBS
October 26 12:00am
October 29 8:00pm
WVPT Harrisonburg PBS
October 28 4:30pm
WBRA Roanoke PBS
October 30 3:30pm
Grooming for civil discourse, public service
By Dave Redmond, October 7, 2012
Though the campaign season is closing, the coming lull is a respite, nothing more.
Democracy is renewal. One election cycle ends; another begins. Like the tides, people and issues come and go. But the need for qualified, capable leaders is constant, and it's critical to the largely excellent function of government and industry in Hampton Roads and throughout the commonwealth.
For that, as much as any other institution, Virginians should support the Thomas C. Sorensen Institute For Political Leadership at the University of Virginia, which is recruiting the next rising political class in Virginia and, as always, searching for the financial means to support it.
The Sorensen Institute is cosponsoring the only televised debate between Rep. Robert Hurt and challenger John Douglass. It will be held from 7 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 10, at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville.
Moderator Bob Gibson, executive director of the Sorensen Institute, will be joined on the panel questioning the candidates by Sharon Gregory, news anchor, NBC29 in Charlottesville; Len Stevens, news anchor, WSET-TV in Lynchburg, and Tiffany Holland, reporter, Danville Register & Bee.
The event will be free and open to the public and is sponsored by the Sorensen Institute, the Danville Register & Bee, NBC29 and WSET-TV.
The live television broadcast is 7-8 p.m. on NBC29 and WSET-TV.
The 2012 Political Leaders Program class visited Southwest Virginia last weekend, where they attended sessions on "Energy and Public Policy in Virginia" and "Heathcare Issues in Southwest Virginia." Beyond the classroom, they descended 3,000 feet into the McClure deep mine and attended Bristol's annual Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival.
You can view larger versions of these photos by choosing the fullscreen icon in the bottom right, or by clicking the Flickr logo to view the set on Flickr.
The Danville-Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce and the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership are proud to cosponsor an informational forum on uranium mining in Virginia to be held Oct. 2 at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville.
The forum will feature four panelists, two each on either side of uranium mining issues, and will be free and open to the public from 7 to 8:30 p.m. that Tuesday evening.
Panelists will include Patrick M. Wales, project manager of Virginia Uranium Inc.; Stephen S. Fuller, director of the Center for Regional Analysis in George Mason University's School of Public Policy; Jay Poole, spokesman for the Alliance for Progress in Southern Virginia; and Bob Burnley, an advisor to the Alliance for Progress in Southern Virginia.
Moderator of the forum is Bob Gibson, executive director of the Sorensen Institute and a 34-year veteran political writer from Charlottesville.
Inaugural Emerging Leaders Program Focuses on Bipartisanship, Public Policy
September 4, 2012 | Lisa Kessler
It all started this spring, when Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s office contacted the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, seeking assistance in developing the next generation of state government leaders.
The inaugural Emerging Leaders Program, sponsored by Colonial Williamsburg and State Farm, ended Aug. 26 in Colonial Williamsburg. Its 21 students – Virginians ages 22 to 32 who have worked in state or local government, had spent the month of August developing their leadership skills and learning more about public policymaking in Williamsburg and Richmond. More »
Everyone at the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership is proud of this inaugural class of Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) graduates. The class produced and defended three legislative proposals dealing with improvements to state policy for highway safety, returning ex-offenders to society and helping service members reenter Virginia's workforce and higher education system.
Each member of this outstanding class crafted a personal statement about their own leadership goals. They are quite likely to show solid leadership for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Sorensen thanks Colonial Williamsburg and State Farm for their sponsorship of this first-ever Emerging Leaders Program.
To learn more about the members of the 2012 ELP class, visit their new class page.
Aspiring Virginia leaders meet in August in Williamsburg
By Jennifer L. Williams, firstname.lastname@example.org | 757-247-4644
August 8, 2012
A new program for aspiring Virginia leaders kicked off with sessions in Colonial Williamsburg and continues throughout this month.
The eight-day Emerging Leaders Program is sponsored by the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia and was developed in partnership with Gov. Bob McDonnell's office, according to a statement from officials.
The 21 participants, ages 22-32, have each worked in state government and were selected through an application and interview process. Their work with the program includes exercises on policy formation in Virginia.
The group met at Colonial Williamsburg for three days last weekend. Sessions continue Aug. 10 and 20 at the University of Richmond, and Aug. 24-26 at Colonial Williamsburg.
"It's the first time we've ever done this program for young policy makers, and it couldn't have gone better," said Bob Gibson, executive director of the Sorensen Institute. "Colonial Williamsburg was a great starting place. They have the history and the people to interpret the history and bring it to life."
Participants are going through the training because of an interest in becoming more active in public service and public policy, whether as community leaders or appointed officials in the executive or legislative branches, according to officials. The curriculum focuses on three core subject areas: ethics in public service, public policy and policy advocacy skills.
Three groups of seven each will work on policy in three subject areas: How to improve highway safety to cut traffic deaths, how best to re-integrate former felons back into society and how to facilitate the better return of service people into the economy of Virginia, Gibson said.
Each group will put together a culminating project and present it to a group of legislators and academics on Aug. 25.
Speakers from Colonial Williamsburg, the administrations of the current and previous Virginia governors, the University of Virginia, State Farm Insurance and Christopher Newport University were scheduled to address the group in Williamsburg on the subjects of citizenship, ethics in politics and public service, the Revolution, cooperation in state government and team building.
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and State Farm are major sponsors of the program.
High School Leaders Program 2012
Day 15: Saturday, July 21
Reported by: James Bollinger, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
After waking up and meeting our parents, we walked to Garret Hall for graduation.
Executive Director Bob Gibson, Director of Youth Programs Lauren Gilbert, Dr. Stephen Bragaw and Honorable John Hager all gave thoughtful and inspiring addresses.
Lester Coleman was our elected class speaker. He gave a great send-off address, which brought back highlights of the two weeks and also captured perfectly the dynamic and bonds that have formed among us as a class.
Sean McIntosh and Karen Xia were awarded the Spirit of Citizenship Awards. Congratulations to all the graduates!
After graduation, we walked back to Bice Hall for the final time. Leaving was sad, but I’m sure I speak for all us when I say we will take many memories and lessons from our two weeks at Sorensen. It’s hard to leave, but I look forward to seeing you all at a reunion soon!
The HSLP Class of 2012 now has its own alumni page featuring the class photo as well as individual photos and bios.
High School Leaders Program 2012
Day 13: Thursday, July 19
Sean McIntosh, Edison High School (Alexandria) and Emily Votroubek, Broad Run High School (Ashburn)
As Sorensen's HSLP is coming to a close, we are all feeling the pressures of our final culminating projects. Throughout the week, we have been consulting with our both our groups and advisors on our projects, trying to fine tune every aspect of our proposals. Everyone is stressing about the projects tomorrow; however, we are all very excited to reach the home stretch.
Today, with our last day of the Thoughtful Citizen, Dr. Bragaw ended the class with the Budget Game. In this game, we had to divide our class into two separate groups, the House and the Senate. The morning started off with both sides breaking off to formulate their own separate budget proposals. After a few hours of intense discussion, both groups were divided into their own separate halves, to meet up with the opposition to start budget committees. These budget committee meetings were very heated, but in the end, both sides met in the middle to form a productive conclusion.
After a short intermission for lunch, we had renewed vigor to participate in discussions. However, this time, everyone met up with their respective sides to have the general debate on both budget proposals formulated by the two committees. After around two hours of intense discussion, it was time to vote between the two different proposed budget plans. In the end, Conference Committee One’s proposal reigned supreme, receiving the vast majority of both houses.
Afterwards, we had the luxury of some free time. However, this time was short-lived as we quickly had to convene with culminating project groups to prepare for any last-minute decisions before our mock presentations with the Youth Program Managers and Lauren. Throughout the evening, they provided essential information in order to further improve our projects. Yet, this was not just any random day. Tonight, all the Sorensen students celebrated one of our favorite YPM’s birthday. We planned a fantastic surprise birthday party for Troy, and everyone had a great time! There was plenty of cake and drinks, and there was even sparkling cider! All in all, this will be one of the most memorable moments at Sorensen, and we will surely miss it.
- Mar 6 2014 - 2:29pm
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