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The Project on Civil Discourse

AU School of Public Affairs fosters civil discourse among students, faculty, staff, and the AU community.

The Project on Civil Discourse

We are the architects of our voices

The American University Project on Civil Discourse encourages and supports students in understanding speech not only as a matter of rights, but of responsibilities, values, and opportunities. It works on the principle that each of us must be the architect of our own voice, choosing to use it in service of our goals and values and in a manner that contributes to our learning community.  

Each voice includes a commitment to listening. Listening is a core competence for scholarship, careers, and life in a community. The way we listen—to understand rather than rebut; to connect rather than combat—also shapes the way we use our voices. The Project on Civil Discourse supports students in developing as listeners and as speakers. It starts with two questions: What do I want for myself? What do I want from myself?

Latest News

Lara Schwartz, Director of the Project on Civil Discourse, appeared on the Leading Equity Podcast, discussing civil discourse in the classroom.

The Director of SPA's Project on Civil Discourse, Lara Schwartz appeared on the Heterodox Academy Hall Hour of Heterodoxy Podcast discussing False Equivalence.

Lara Schwartz, appeared on a plenary panel at the Open Minds Conference to discuss “Successes, Strains, and Stories to Inspire.” 

Paradox of Tolerance

The paradox of tolerance states that if a society is tolerant without limit, its ability to be tolerant is eventually seized or destroyed by the intolerant. Watch as the panel discussed whether and to what extent religious tolerance warrants limits on laws, such as anti-discrimination laws, designed to ensure tolerance for, access by, and participation in society for members of the protected classes.

Lara Schwartz

Message from the Director

The American University Project on Civil Discourse is led by Director Lara Schwartz, who teaches in the AU School of Public Affairs.

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Successes, Strains, and Stories to Inspire

Lara Schwartz on a panel at the Heterodox Academy Annual Conference

Past Events

  • November 20: "What's With AU?" a panel discussion breaking down the mold of an AU student and the pressures they face. 

  • November 18: "American Jewish Identity," a discussion on the use of anti-Semitism in American politics.

  • November 9: "The Picture of Dorian Gray Talkback," a discussion on separating art from artist. 

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Pencil, Keyboard, and Notepad

Real Talk Blog

American University's Project on Civil Discourse Blog

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Laura Schwartz and Josh Blackman at event

On Campus ·

Understanding the Role of Free Speech on Campus

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Olivia Ivey

On Campus ·

The Project on Civil Discourse: Finding Truth in a Divided World

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