Youth Civic Engagement and Model United Nations | Connecticut Public Radio

Youth Civic Engagement and Model United Nations

Oct 25, 2013

Model U.N. conference.
Credit Creative Commons

In a time when some say youth civic engagement is declining dramatically, there are programs that exist to teach students effective deliberation, debate, and discourse. This November, high school students from across the state will flock to UConn to debate current and pressing foreign policy issues, in a simulation of the United Nations. 

Previously, we talked with a philosopher and an economist who worry about fractures in our democracy that showed up during the recent government shutdown. A lot of our conversation was about ideology and how adhering to very narrow views for short term political gain can help to break down the sense that we’re “all in this together.” 

At the root of this problem is a concern that people aren’t really all that engaged in our democracy. Not enough of us vote or organize or even care about how civic structures work.  This is a especially a problem among young people.  This hour, a few ideas about how to solve the problem of youth civic engagement. We’ll hear from people involved in Model UN programs And we’ll talk to author and professor Peter Levine about his book We are the Ones We have been Waiting for: The Promise of Civic Renewal in America.


  • Peter Levine, Director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, and Tufts University professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Author of We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For: The Promise of Civic Renewal in America
  • Alexandra Buda, ​Secretary-General of UConn's  Model United Nations
  • Gregory Frank, Social Studies Curriculum Specialist for South Windsor Public Schools, Faculty Chair of the World Affairs Council of Connecticut

This program was produced by Garrett Connelly.