In partnership with the University of Virgnia’s Center for Politics,The Madison Center hosted a MongoliaLEAD delegation at James Madison University on November 15, with young leaders joining us for a day to share ideas about the importance of advancing democracy and the role of civic engagement to address shared public concerns.
JMU President Jon Alger addressed the delegation and spoke about the important role of higher education in creating active and informed participants in democracy. “Part of our job as a university is to model for society how you can bring people together to learn from each other and solve problems together. We can’t have a strong democracy without a strong education system. James Madison believed that citizens need to be educated. I tell students we can’t take for granted the rights we have,” President Alger told the delegates. In response to questions from delegates about the role of higher education in supporting democracy abroad, President Alger said, “We try to teach our students how important it is to transcend boundaries and think of communities beyond self.”
The day also included workshops by Dr. Chris Blake (Political Science) on ethics in public service. “The really hard ethical decisions are the ones that force us to from choose among our core values,” Dr. Blake told delegates as they worked through ethical decision-making. Dr. Carah Ong Whaley also led a workshop on evidence-based advocacy and deliberative civic engagement.
JMU Music Education students Graham McDowell (Music Industry), Riley Millward (Music Education), Mason Moy (Music Composition), Lindsey Showalter (Music Education), Ben Dingus (Music Industry), and Andrew Foote (Music Education) played “Purplegrass” at the evening reception, demonstrating once again how music can build a culture of democratic engagement.
The MongoliaLEAD delegation presented President Alger with a scroll saying “James Madison University” in traditional script. “One of the most important things we’ve learned in U.S. is importance of education in democracy,” the delegates said.
…Stay tuned for another post soon with more reflections from the delegates from Mongolia…