On Sunday June 29, I will be traveling to Dayton, OH for a meeting with representatives of all 12 Presidential Libraries. We will be planning a series of National Issues Forums to take place in each of our libraries prior to the November election. Texas Forums will be hosting forums on Health Care at the LBJ Library on September 17 from 6-8 p.m.
Below is the press release for this upcoming meeting.
Some 30 Representatives of the nation’s Presidential Libraries and the National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI) will gather in Dayton, Ohio, June 30-July 1 for a workshop designed to prepare for a series of forums in all 12 Presidential Libraries between Labor Day and Election Day this fall.
The workshop will introduce representatives of the Presidential Libraries to the philosophy of public deliberation and plans developed by the libraries’ representatives and NIF coordinators for the fall forums will be shared.
During the run-up to the presidential election, each of the Presidential Libraries will host a series of three forums with some Libraries hosting additional forums. Forums will be on a range of topics including health care, immigration, federal debt, education and energy.
All forums are free and open to the public.
“Hosting National Issues Forums at the Presidential Libraries is consistent with our emphasis on civic education,” Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States, said. “Presidential Libraries are public places and it is appropriate for citizens to engage in discussions about major public policy issues in the midst of a presidential campaign.”
“Participants in a forum,” NIFI chairman William Winter, said, “deliberate with one another eye-to-eye, face-to-face, exploring options, weighing others’ views, considering the costs and consequences of public policy decisions. In a democracy, citizens have a responsibility to make choices about how to solve problems and forums help enrich participants’ thinking on public issues. By offering citizens a framework for deliberative forums, NIFI helps the public take an active role in acting on public issues.”
The Presidential Libraries of the National Archives are not libraries in the usual sense. They are archives and museums, bringing together in one place the documents and artifacts of a President and his administration and presenting them to the public for study and discussion without regard for political considerations or affiliations. Presidential Libraries and Museums, like their holdings, belong to the American people. They promote understanding of the presidency and the American experience, preserving and providing access to historical materials, support research, and create interactive programs and exhibits that educate and inspire.
NIFI is a 25-year-old nonpartisan, nationwide network of locally sponsored forums for the consideration of public policy issues. Forums are rooted in the simple notion that citizens need to come together to reason and talk -to deliberate about common problems.