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Our Values

The Center for Democracy and Civic Life seeks to enact the interrelated personal and institutional values identified in the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Theory of Change:

  • Dignity – respect for the intrinsic moral equality of all persons
  • Humanity – embracing environments and interactions that are generative and organic; rejecting objectification, and the marginalization of people based on aspects of their identities
  • Decency – acting with humility and graciousness; rejecting domination for its own sake
  • Honesty – frankness with civility; congruence between stated values and actions; avoidance of deceit, evasions, and manipulative conduct
  • Curiosity – eagerness to learn, have new experiences, and tap the wisdom of other people
  • Imagination – creativity and vision, including with respect to possible futures in which all of these values have become more central to our society and institutions
  • Wisdom – discernment; comfort with complexity; nonmanipulability
  • Courage – fortitude to act with integrity even when there is a cost; capacity to thrive in the midst of ambiguity, uncertainty, and change; willingness to acknowledge vulnerability
  • Community – belief that advancing the general welfare requires organized, collective work, enacted through relationships, partnerships, and networks, leveraging the diverse perspectives and talents of many people in order to produce benefits greater than the sum of their individual contributions
  • Participation – action with other people to develop and achieve shared visions of the common good
  • Stewardship – responsibility to act individually and collectively in ways that support others’ well-being, and the preservation and cultivation of resources, including norms and processes, necessary for all to thrive
  • Resourcefulness – capacity to improvise, seek and gain knowledge, solve problems, and develop productive public relationships and partnerships
  • Hope – belief in the power of people to bring about desired transformations; tenacity