June 17, 2004

Contact: Barbara Ballard, summit chair, (785) 864-4381.

KU summit to promote youth participation in civic affairs, politics

LAWRENCE -- The University of Kansas Civic Literacy Council, the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics and Kansas Campus Compact are sponsoring a summit to encourage participation in politics by college students, a traditionally underrepresented group in the national political discourse and on Election Day.

The Youth Participation in Politics and Civic Engagement Summit will be June 18 and 19 at the Dole Institute at KU. The summit will bring together students from eight institutions of higher education to exchange information and ideas about how to spur greater interest and involvement in politics and civic life by young people. KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway and Kansas Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh are among the scheduled speakers.

"Engaging young people in politics is key to the future of our country and an important role for all educational institutions," said Barbara Ballard, summit chair. "Our youth summit will facilitate an open exchange of ideas and information to encourage young people to participate in the political process and civic life."

In addition to taking action to increase student political and civic involvement on their respective campuses, group members also will compile "best practices" for promoting political and civic engagement and will create training opportunities for student organizations and individuals seeking to promote youth engagement and participation.

KU is a partner institution in the National Campaign for Political and Civic Engagement, led by Harvard University's Institute of Politics, located at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

The Dole Institute of Politics, established at KU in 1997 to honor the former U.S. senator and KU alumnus, is designed to foster new thinking on major policy issues and encourage student participation and citizen involvement in public service. The facility, dedicated in July 2003, is home to the world's largest congressional archive.

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