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2021 – Stanford's Inaugural Democracy Day

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Is Democracy in Danger? panel and Q&A event

Schedule of Events

Donuts & Democracy: A Deliberative Discussion on Social Media

Wilbur Field; Students

Donuts and Democracy expert panel

Based on the concept of Deliberative Polling®, participants deliberated in small groups on policy questions and heard directly from issue area experts in plenary sessions. This was an exciting, hands-on opportunity to learn about deliberative democracy and its ability to change the way we think, interact, and govern. Co-sponsored by the Center for Deliberative Democracy and part of the practicum course led by Alice Siu, Deputy Director of the Center for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford, and Tom Schnaubelt, Executive Director of the Haas Center for Public Service. 

Merging Science & Contemplative Practice for Climate Action with Project Drawdown

Virtual; Open to All

Project Drawdown has led years of research and analysis by scholars around the world to identify the proven technologies and practices that are most effective in reversing the buildup of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere. Crystal Chissell, Project Drawdown's Senior Director of Drawdown Communities, discussed the Drawdown framework of climate solutions and a template for making a personal climate action plan that can be supported by contemplative practice. Co-sponsored by the Stanford Prevention Research Center and the Department of Medicine. 

Democracy Day Discussion with Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

Virtual; Open to All

A virtual discussion with Oregon Senator and Stanford alum Jeff Merkley, '79, on the state of American democracy, the importance of civic engagement, and how students can shape America’s future. Co-sponsored by Stanford in Government. 

Is Democracy in Danger? An Interdisciplinary Conversation

Meyer Green (panel) and Canfield Court (reception); Open to All

Democracy Day faculty panel

Moderated by former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, faculty talked about threats to American democracy and what gives them hope for the future in response to questions from the audience. Panelists: Cheryl Phillips, Hakeem Jefferson, Janine Zacharia, and Mehran Sahami.


Democracy Day reception and discussions

Following the panel, participants had an opportunity to enjoy some food together and reflect on the panel and civic engagement in their own lives. Student facilitators trained by the McCoy Center for Ethics in Society led small-group discussions. 

#AllVoteNoPlay Party

The; Students

Participants heard from athlete alumni on the importance of civic engagement in sports, and gathered for good food and fun. Co-sponsored by the and Stanford Athletics.

Can Democracies Beat Climate Change? A Roundtable Discussion with Profs. Paul N. Edwards and Adam Bonica

Haas Center for Public Service; Students

Democracy Day Climate Roundtable

Students enjoyed pizza and an intimate conversation with Prof. Paul Edwards, Director of the Science, Technology, and Society program and a lead author of the 2021 IPCC report, and Prof. Adam Bonica, Associate Professor of Political Science. Co-sponsored by Students for a Sustainable Stanford.

Dinner & Dialogue

Various Dining Halls; Students and Faculty

Instructors hosted lunch or dinner conversations with students in dining halls across campus to talk about the role of civic engagement, participation, and citizenship in their lives.

Movie Night: Boys State

Meyer Green; Open to All

Participants gathered to watch Boys State, an award-winning 2020 documentary following participants in the Texas chapter of Boys Nation, a program where thousands of high school boys are tasked with building a representative government from the ground up.

Mural Painting

Students painting Democracy Day mural

All Day
Meyer Green; Open to All

Participants painted a democracy-themed mural on the terrace above Meyer Green with a great view of the faculty panel event. The finished mural is displayed in the Haas Center.