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Thanks for a great day!

Citizen University’s annual national conference was held on March 21, 2014 and it was a giant success! Over 400 activists, catalysts, and educators came out to learn and practice the art of powerful citizenship. To get a taste of the experience – which ranged from a stirring keynote by Larry Lessig to packed workshops to a giant communal dinner to performances by world-class artists – check out our Facebook page and search #CitizenUCon on twitter and other social media sites.

Citizen University 2013


12 Noon Doors Open More Details
Conference Participants - Check In, Workshop Sign Up

Have lunch on your own, or bring a brown bag to Fisher Pavilion. Check in, sign up for workshops and browse the bookstore.

1PM Opening & Keynote More Details
Eric Liu - Welcome

Founder & CEO of Citizen University

Lawrence Lessig - Keynote

Author and Professor, Harvard Law School

2PM Hands-on Workshops – Session I More Details
Cristina Jiménez - Harnessing the Power of Personal Story

How can today’s civic activists use storytelling (and the tools of new media) to build powerful movements for change? Cristina Jimenez of United We Dream, an undocumented American and rising leader of a movement of DREAMers, shares lessons and strategies from the front lines of national immigration reform – lessons that can be applied to any civic issue. She will guide participants in dynamic, authentic exercises and examples so you can share, shape, and harness personal and community narratives to public campaigns for action.

Zach Silk - How to Flip Social Norms

As the campaign manager for R-74, which enacted marriage equality in Washington state, Zach Silk learned how to tap into universal values and aspirations to create a new alignment of social norms. As the campaign manager now of the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility and Initiative 594, which proposes criminal background checks for gun purchases, he has a live case study to share. In this participatory workshop he’ll share strategies for any citizen who wants to change norms through law and elections.

Joan Blades - How to Talk (and Listen) to the Other Side

Joan Blades leads a training and exploration of Living Room Conversations, a method for talking to – and listening to! – individuals with whom you disagree on substantive political issues. Just as a wildfire can start with a single spark, a shift in culture can start with a single conversation. A living room is the match, the conversation is the spark, and the people will become the wildfire that will forever change the landscape we call democracy. This open-source project aims to make respectful, constructive conversation the new normal. In this workshop, you’ll learn how to plan, host and participate in a Living Room Conversation, discuss solutions for potential challenges, and discover how to uncover common ground on seemingly impossible topics.

4pm Hands-On Workshops – Session II More Details
Lawrence Lessig - How to Start a Rebellion

In January, Harvard Law professor and anti-corruption activist Larry Lessig led a citizen march across New Hampshire to spark an awakening of citizens who’ve become jaded to the corrosive effects of money on civic life and politics. This New Hampshire “Rebellion” is part of a larger project in bottom-up change and passionate cross-partisan political rejuvenation that Lessig will describe and share learnings from in this dynamic workshop.

Kate Lydon & IDEO - Redesigning the Citizen Experience

What is “design thinking?” Can good design give the powerless more power, the voiceless more voice? Kate Lydon and IDEO’s team of teachers will bring current case studies from communities where people are reinventing what it means to be an active citizen (Greece, Cairo, Silicon Valley) to inspire you to create shared experiences that “matter” in American citizenship. You’ll learn how to design for heritage, commitment and collectivism, and you’ll create powerful new formats for shared experiences.

Ai-jen Poo - Popular Culture and the Heart of Citizen Power

Ai-jen Poo is a hard-nosed activist. But her work organizing domestic workers taught her something revelatory: the power of love and an ethic of care to open up big shifts in social attitudes and public policy. In Ai-jen’s workshop, you’ll learn how to use popular culture to build intergenerational, multiethnic coalitions on the issues you care about. This work is bigger than the mechanics of labor or immigration reform; it is about renewing a social contract and creating new meaning in civic life. You’ll leave with methods you can bring to your work immediately.

5:30pm Action Debrief More Details
Eric Liu - Workshop Wrap Up
6PM Networking Dinner Break More Details
Dinner - The Armory

Dinner is on us! Take your dinner voucher to one of the many casual and delicious restaurants inside The Armory such as Skillet Diner, Plum Bistro, MOD Pizza, Kabab, Quincy’s and many more. Enjoy dining together in our special seating area.

6:45pm Dessert & Wine Reception More Details
Dessert & Wine - Conference registrants only

Satisfy your sweet tooth and have a glass of wine on us before the Salon. We’ll also have a no-host bar.

7:30pm Citizen University Salon More Details
Bridging The Divide - Public Event!

The Salon follows a full day of activity at CitizenUCon! Join us for this fast-paced, fun evening of activists and artists sharing new projects, ideas and works inspired by the theme Bridging the Divide. A truly one-of-a-kind event! (Salon admission is included for conference participants.) Salon ONLY tickets: $20 & $15 (25 & under).

Doors open at 7pm: Join us for a no-host bar and our CU Action Zone featuring book signing with conference authors and Elliott Bay Book Company plus opportunities to get active with WAmend, Seattle Mayor’s Office/Income Inequality, Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, Swedish Healthcare, SVP Fast Pitch, and KUOW 94.9FM & CityClub.

The Salon features:

Craig Kielburger - We Day
Damian Woetzel - Aspen Institute Arts Program
Heather Watts - Former ballerina, arts educator
Grover Norquist - Americans For Tax Reform
Andrew Slack - Harry Potter Alliance & Imagine Better Network
Hollis Wong-Wear - Writer, Performer, Creative Producer
Cheryl Stumbo - Gun Responsibility Activist
Sandra Jackson-Dumont - Seattle Art Museum
Rodrigo Garcia - Student Veterans of America
Mark Meckler - Citizens for Self-Governance
Ayron Jones - Ayron Jones and The Way


Beautiful Seattle Center

Partners & Sponsors

Thank You!


The 2014 conference has ended.

Conference Registration: Advance registration has exceeded capacity, but registration may be available on a space-available basis at the conference at our current price of $175. Please come to conference check-in at Fisher Pavilion and register onsite.

Lodging: Special rates are based on availability March 17 – 24. Call the Maxwell Hotel at 866-866-7977 and ask for the Citizen University group rate.

Meals: We’ll provide dinner vouchers for dining in the The Armory. Break bread with fellow participants in our special seating area and then head over to Fisher Pavilion for a hosted dessert & wine reception.

Transportation & Parking: Park in the 5th Avenue garage near the Gates Foundation building. WE Day is the same day as Citizen U, so other garages and street parking will be full of school busses. Seattle Center is located 20 minutes from Sea-Tac Airport. LINK Light Rail to Westlake Station, walk 1 block & hop the Monorail to Seattle Center. Multiple bus routes, bike racks abound and parking is easy & affordable. Plan your trip.

Map: Use this map for conference parking and routes to facilities.

Books: An on-site conference bookstore by Elliot Bay Books will offer a selection of books by conference authors and more. Book signing at 6:45pm.

What to bring: REFILLABLE WATER BOTTLE! We will not provide plastic water bottles. Pen/pencils. Notebook.

Volunteers needed:  Email Alex to volunteer before and during the conference.

Final Promo

America today is in the midst of a revival of citizen spirit.
Be part of it!