Power in Action!

Our annual national conference is like no other civic gathering in America. Hundreds of changemakers, activists, and catalysts show up to learn about power, build their networks, and recharge their sense of purpose.

Our theme this year was Citizen Power Now, and over 550 people from 30 states and across the political spectrum joined us. This is a time when citizens are solving problems in new ways, bypassing broken institutions, stale ideologies, and polarized politics. We are part of a movement to rekindle citizenship in America. Join us!

Citizen University National Conference 2015

2015 Videos

2015 Agenda

Friday March 20

5:30p Opening Reception Doors Open. Paul Rucker (Artist)
6:30p Keynote The Future of Elder Care: What We Need for a Changing America Ai-jen Poo (National Domestic Workers Alliance, Caring Across Generations)
Plenary Panel Dignity and Economic Justice Ai-jen Poo, Carmen Rojas (The Workers Lab), Susie Young (SEIU), Silvia Gonzalez (Casa Latina). Moderated by Courtney Martin. Co-presented with Reclaiming Prosperity Series.
Plenary Panel Ferguson and Beyond Bukky Gbadegesin & Waylon McDonald (Organization for Black Struggle, St. Louis), Reuben Riggs (St. Louis Students in Solidarity), Jazmine Cañez (Women of Color for Systemic Change), Leslie McSpadden (YouthBuild St. Louis). Moderated by Eric Liu.
8:45p Book Signing

Saturday March 21

8:00a Conference Check-in
8:30a Conference Opening How Power Works Eric Liu (Citizen University)
9:00a  Plenary Talks Opportunity Youth United National Council of Young Leaders
Social Disruption and the Sharing Economy Matt Kibbe (FreedomWorks)
Understanding and Dismantling Mass Incarceration Alison Holcomb (ACLU)
10:30a Breakout Session I,
choose one
Opportunity Youth United National Council of Young Leaders
Fight the Power: How Social Media Can Undermine Special Interest Politics Matt Kibbe (FreedomWorks)
Understanding and Dismantling Mass Incarceration Alison Holcomb (ACLU)
Mapping Civic and Creative Power Hanmin Liu (Wildflowers Institute) & Janet Seibert (City of Austin)
Action Civics: Get Off the Sidelines! Heather Van Benthuysen (Mikva Challenge)
A Difficult Conversation: A Dialogue on Race & Inequity Using the Power of Love & Good Questions Barbie-Danielle DeCarlo (Coming To The Table)
12:00p Lunch Let’s Eat, Family-Style!
1:00p Plenary Talks Online Conversations to Offline Movement: Changing the Conversation on Gun Violence In America Shannon Watts (Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America)
The Peer Effect Mauricio Lim Miller (Family Independence Initiative)
The Power of An Inclusive Economy Nick Hanauer (Entrepreneur)
2:30p Breakout Session II,
choose one
Your Message in a Minute Shannon Watts (Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America)
Catalyzing the Peer Effect Family Independence Initiative Families
Flipping the Frame on Prosperity Nick Hanauer (Entrepreneur)
Improving Ourselves, Improving Our World Ruthie Ackerman & Asha Curran (92nd Street Y)
‘We The People’ and The Climate Movement Annie Leonard & Rachel Rye Butler (Greenpeace)
What is Prison For? Lynn Novick (Florentine Films)
4:00p Plenary Discussion The Art of Social Change Claudia Rankine (Poet) & Robert Schenkkan (Playwright) with Eric Liu
5:15p Conference Closing Pastor Patrinell Wright (Total Experience Gospel Choir)
5:30p Closing Reception Book Signing

Times and speakers subject to change.

Conference Resources


Fisher Pavilion, Seattle Center


Thank You


We are sold out for 2015. Registration is closed. Stay tuned for registration info for 2016. 

Conference Headquarters: Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center, located west of the Armory & south of the International Fountain. Here’s a map of Seattle Center 

Traffic and Parking Alert: Park in a Seattle Center garage or lot — or use public transit. We suggest Seattle Center 5th Avenue Garage near the Gates Foundation on Friday or Saturday. We also suggest the 1st Ave N and Thomas garage on Saturday. 

Tips & Resources

  • Pre-reads and videos from some of our speakers and presenters are here
  • Sign up for breakout sessions begins Friday night. Arrive early to get your first choice.
  • Bring an umbrella or raincoat. It will rain.
  • Wear comfortable clothes, shoes and dress in layers. It will be cool.
  • Bring a refillable water bottle. We will not have water for purchase. 
  • Bring a notebook and a pen. 
  • Social Media: follow & use #CitizenUCon15
  • Like us on Facebook. Follow @CitizenUniv on twitter. 

Arrive. Check-in. Sign Up! When you arrive at Fisher Pavilion you will pick up your name badge and sign up for breakout sessions (descriptions are below). Space is limited in each breakout, so arrive early to get your first choice. 

  • Doors open at 5:30pm Friday. Reception with light snacks and a cash bar 
  • Doors open at 8:00am Saturday | Coffee, tea and snacks available 

Food: There will be a reception with light snacks and a cash bar on Friday at check-in, and at the end of the day Saturday. There will be coffee, tea and snacks on Saturday morning. Family-style lunch is provided on Saturday. If you need a full meal on Friday evening or breakfast on Saturday there are many places to eat in the Armory.

Accommodations: There are many hotels in the Lower Queen Anne neighborhood near Seattle Center. Use RoomKey.com to find a good deal on a hotel near Seattle Center.