• National Issues Forum Series

Suffolk students consider ways to address the nation's debt crisis

Suffolk University received a grant to carry out a series of three public forums to engage citizens in deliberative dialogues on issues of national importance such as the national debt, money in politics, and the environment.

The first forum, "A Nation in Debt: How Can We Pay the Bills?" took place on Oct. 3, 2011, and, like the forums to follow, provided a vehicle for students, other members of the community and the general public to participate in “democratic dialogue” about important issues facing our nation. Moderated by Avi Green of MassVOTE, students from two Government Department courses weighed the pros and cons of three options for reducing the U.S. national debt to reach a consensus.

The National Issue Forums is a nonpartisan, nationwide network of locally sponsored public forums for the consideration of public policy issues. The small sessions of 20 to 30 participants are led by two moderators, and the National Issue Forums provides a framework for the discussion as well as videos and printed discussion guides for participants. Data gathered from questionnaires at each of the forums will be reported by the Kettering Foundation and the National Issues Forum at congressional briefings and at the annual "A Public Voice" program on public television.

The Moakley Archive and Institute, the Government Department, the S.O.U.L.S. Community Service Center, College Republicans (SuffolkGOP), and the Political Science Student Association are involved in planning the forums. The program was sponsored through a partnership with the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress and the Kettering Foundation. Two additional forums will be presented in February and March of 2012.

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