Both in the US and abroad, a need for more effective and widespread education on democratic citizenshiphas been identified. Whether it is the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement study (IEA), the Carnegie Corporation and the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE) or the US Department of State, the importance of promoting democracy through education has been noted as an important goal for supporting the development and health of democracies around the world.
But how education, as an element of society, should assist in the development of democratic citizens is an enduring question that is being asked and answered in both established and emerging democracies everywhere. From his more than a decade of experience in the field, Alden Craddock has pointed to the importance of understanding and embedding context in the development of civic education,
“But civic education is not something that can be simply enacted or copied from elsewhere. For it to be effective, civic education must capture the principles of democracy within the context of the particular country where it is to be implemented. Although this holds true for other educational and social policies, because of the nature of civic education, it is even more important. Since at its core civic education is democratic political socialization of young people, it is crucial that it reflect both the past and current realities of the society. ”
With this in mind, the goal of the International Democratic Education Institute will be to bring together BGSU Faculty, community leaders and other educators from the US and abroad to promote democracy through education in such a way that students are provided the skills and knowledge necessary for them to perform their role as informed, responsible, committed and effective members of their respective democratic political systems.