Citizen University’s mission is to build a culture of powerful, responsible citizenship across the country.

We design gatherings, rituals, and workshops for people who are searching for new ways to strengthen civic culture in their hometown. In our programs, these civic catalysts explore ideas (like power + character = citizenship), pick up new tools, develop connections, and build a renewed sense of civic spirit. They’re sparking new ways of thinking about citizenship, deepening the resolve to take responsibility, and rekindling faith in our democracy and one another.

We envision a great civic revival across our nation.

Our dream is a country in which Americans are steeped in a sense of civic character, educated in the tools of civic power, and are problem-solving contributors in a self-governing community.

We are working to realize the country we know is possible.

A mass multiracial democratic republic that works for everyone. A society with healthy, responsive institutions where every person feels represented and knows how to contribute. A society where we share responsibility for strengthening community and country by reckoning with our past, and recommitting to each other.

We believe that the American creed promises everyone freedom, equality, and justice.

Whether one’s family has lived on this land since time immemorial or has only recently arrived. We envision a society in which that promise is truly realized for everyone, because America is not America until “we the people” means all the people.

It’s one thing to feel responsible, and another to actually have the toolkit to make things happen. Citizen University was the first place that I came to.

Alma D. Civic Saturday Fellow
A large conference room, full of round tables with people sitting around them, as well as a stage with a podium and large American flag.

Our Story

Citizen University began with a simple idea: what if each of us believed we had the power to make change happen in civic life, and felt a responsibility to try? Evolving from an annual conference to national programs, we gather and train people to become effective civic catalysts. Explore→

A group of young people sitting and smiling together.

Our Task

We’re countering a culture of hyper-individualism, cynicism, and powerlessness. Everyone in the Citizen University network is building a different kind of culture — one of powerful, responsible citizenship. Explore→

Two people talking and smiling while seated.

Our Core Beliefs

Our work is rooted in the belief that democracy matters — and it is never a given. Democracy relies on strong citizens and a healthy civic culture to survive and thrive. In this time of polarization, we work with “partisans for democracy” wherever they come from. Explore→

Three people standing together and smiling for the camera.

Our Programs

We design gatherings, rituals, and experiences that revitalize and strengthen civic culture. Our programs equip you to bring these home to your community. Explore→

And you may be wondering…

What do you mean by “citizen”?

We speak of citizenship in the deep ethical sense, as the way we show up for our community — not just what passports or papers we may have. Citizenship is about participating and taking responsibility for the good, the bad, and the ugly of our society. It’s about practicing civic power and cultivating civic character. Wherever our ancestors and we were born, we can find purpose by choosing to live like a citizen.

Read more about citizenship →

Are you an actual university?

We’re a university in spirit! We’re in the business of inspiring new ways of thinking and feeling about our role as citizens. We connect the curious, the passionate, the do-ers. We equip people with the tools they need to improve their communities. And then we encourage everyone to put those ideas into action throughout their lives. So yeah, we’re a university — a citizen university. (But no, we don’t offer degrees or charge tuition!)

Learn how you can participate →