October 20, 2009
NARA’s Presidential Libraries to Host National Issues Forums This Fall
Washington, DC…In collaboration with the National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI), Presidential Libraries of the National Archives and Records Administration will host a series of discussions on public policy issues this fall. All forums will be free and open to the public.
Building on the successes of the Presidential Libraries’ National Issues Forums series last year, each participating Library will host at least two forums focusing on current issues of national concern — the economy, health care, immigration, education, and energy. The forums will reflect the interests of the community that supports the Libraries. In some communities, other locations such as local community centers, public libraries, and university campuses will also host these forums.
“Presidential Libraries are not only places for visitors to experience fascinating museums and conduct research,” commented Sharon Fawcett, Assistant Archivist for Presidential Libraries. “They are also much like public squares in which the public is encouraged to engage with each other on a variety of issues important to both local and national communities. Hosting National Issues Forums is consistent with our goal of supporting these civil and constructive discussions.”
“Forums are public deliberation in action,” NIFI President William Muse said. “The case for public deliberation can be put simply: For democracy to work as it should, the public has to act. It is not enough to vote, not enough to merely have opinions or keep up with current affairs. Before citizens can act as a public, however, they first have to decide how. Public deliberation is one name for the way citizens go about deciding how to act.”
The Presidential Libraries of the National Archives are not libraries in the usual sense. They are archives and museums, bringing together in one place the documents and artifacts of a President and his administration and presenting them to the public for study and discussion without regard for political considerations or affiliations. Presidential Libraries and Museums, like their holdings, belong to the American people. They promote understanding of the presidency and the American experience, preserving and providing access to historical materials, support research, and create interactive programs and exhibits that educate and inspire.
NIFI is a 25-year-old nonpartisan, nationwide network of locally sponsored forums for the consideration of public policy issues. Forums are rooted in the simple notion that citizens need to come together to reason and talk—to deliberate about common problems.
Visit the NIFI web site for the most updated National Issues Forums schedule.
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For press information, contact the National Archives staff at 202-357-5300. Visit the Presidential Libraries web site.
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For press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs Staff at 202-357-5300.