Action Civics Goes Abroad

Posted: 9/13/2012

Youth voice and participation in the political process are universal musts to a democracy’s future, agreed Mikva Challenge and Canadian not-for-profits, Samara and Student Vote.

Photo Courtesy of US Consulate General TorontoThe three student civic engagement champions participated in a video conference call hosted by the U.S. Consulate General Toronto on Monday.  

Mikva staff shared the organization’s 12 years of experience with the relatively younger groups. Executive Director Brian Brady emphasized the importance of hands-on learning or “Action Civics”. Moreover, instruction is most effective in developing leadership skills when it is localized and non-partisan, said Brady.

Action Civics doesn’t necessarily goal produce—or aim to produce—big political advocacy wins, according to Mikva’s Jill Bass. Instead, unsuccessful lobby or campaign efforts become learning experiences themselves.

“I found [it] fascinating…that this ‘failure’ helps the students learn resilience and perseverance skills,” wrote Samara’s Civics Program Manager Kendall Anderson. “Rather than becoming disenchanted with the political system, even with failures, the students report feeling empowered by the process.”

And that empowerment is the goal and philosophy of all three organizations, proving that Action Civics is crucial from Chicago to Toronto and across all borders.

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