Center for Civic Leadership

About the Center for Civic Leadership

 

Established in 2005 under the direction of former Illinois Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Ryan, Benedictine University's Center for Civic Leadership (CCL) seeks to engage, recruit, and train high school aged and undergraduate students to become interested and active in the political and governmental systems. 

Each year CCL sponsors a speakers series as part of its fall symposium and spring Youth Government Day at Benedictine University.  In recent years CCL has hosted President Barack Obama, U.S. Senator Mark Kirk, Washington Post columnists Bob Woodward and David Broder, CNN's Peter Bergen, Children's Defense Fund Director Marian Wright Edelman, University of Chicago legal scholar Cass R. Sunstein, and human rights advocate Paul Rusesabagina.  These keynote addresses are free and open to the public, and through CCL's Youth Government conference more than 1,500 area high school students have visited campus to hear many of these speakers and participate in a variety of civics simulations.

As a vehicle for civic education and engagement, The Center has also placed many undergraduate students into public service and government internships, where they gain valuable firsthand experience working closely with some of Illinois' finest public servants and elected officials.  Through CCL, Benedictine students have interned in the State's Attorneys offices, with members of the General Assembly in Springfield, and with the Citizens Advocacy Group in Elmhurst, to name just a few.  Other students have been placed as volunteers with political campaigns.  

The cultivation of civic-minded young adults has continued through the Public Service Fellows program in Benedictine's Department of Political Science.  Each year three distinguished undergraduate Political Science majors are awarded scholarships and in return the students are expected to work closely with Mr. Ryan and The Center, coordinating the speakers' events, developing plans for high school student simulations, and serving as group leaders during the Youth Government events.  

In 2010, the Center for Civic Leadership and the Department of Political Science were awarded a $55,000 federal Help America Vote (HAVA) grant to recruit and train undergraduates to become election judges.  One of only 15 academic institutions to have been awarded a HAVA grant in 2010, Benedictine trained more than 300 students, enabling them to work as election judges for the 2010 elections.  A similar number of students also participated in the fall 2011 elections as judges.

Upcoming Events

Oct
18
Presidential Election Series 2016: FOX News Political Analyst, Juan Williams
Main Campus in Lisle
7:00 PM
Event Details

Presidential Election Series 2016: FOX News Political Analyst, Juan Williams

Date: October 18

Time: 7:00 PM

Campus: Lisle

Location: Goodwin Hall Auditorium

Event Sponsor: The Center for Civic Leadership

Event Sponsor: The Center for Civic Leadership

Contact: Jen Zingg    (630) 829-6460    jzingg@ben.edu

Event Description:

Juan Williams
Fox News contributor, best-selling author and Emmy-winning documentarian

Juan Williams is a regular panelist on “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace,” the weekday political newscast “Special Report with Bret Baier,” and substitute host for “The O’Reilly Factor.” His views of American politics, diversity in the workplace and changing American demographics have made him a popular choice for debates and seminars.

Williams has interacted with many American political leaders, including presidents, members of Congress and justices of the Supreme Court. His debates with conservative politicians and talking heads such as Sean Hannity and Don Imus during the 2012 presidential election landed him a place in the political limelight.

He spent 23 years at The Washington Post as a political columnist and national correspondent and 10 years at NPR.

In 1988, Williams won an Emmy for his work on “Eyes on the Prize,” a PBS documentary about the civil rights movement. He is the author of seven books and has contributed articles to several national magazines, including Time, Fortune, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, Ebony and GQ.

Mar
9
Rukmini Callimachi
Main Campus in Lisle
7:00 PM
Event Details

Rukmini Callimachi

Date: March 09

Time: 7:00 PM

Campus: Lisle

Location: Goodwin Hall Auditorium

Event Sponsor: The Center for Civic Leadership

Event Sponsor: The Center for Civic Leadership

Contact: Jen Zingg    (630) 829-6460    jzingg@ben.edu

Event Description:

Rukmini Callimachi
Award-winning journalist and foreign correspondent

As a foreign correspondent for The New York Times and The Associated Press, Rukmini Callimachi has covered 20 foreign countries and exposed the inner workings of terrorist organizations. Her George Polk Award-winning series, “Underwriting Jihad,” revealed that ransoms paid by European governments had become one of the main sources of financing for al-Qaida. Another series, “The Al-Qaida Papers,” uncovered internal procedures of the extremist organization, including their expense reporting process and correspondence from the man considered to be the general manager of the terrorist network.

Callimachi was born in Romania but fled with her mother and grandmother when she was 5 years old, ultimately immigrating to the United States. She began her reporting career as a freelancer for Time magazine, covering the Gujarat earthquake in 2001 before covering city hall at The Daily Herald from 2001-2003. She joined AP’s Portland bureau, and moved to New Orleans in 2006 to cover the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

She is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, winner of the Michael Kelly Award and the first journalist to win both the Hal Boyle Award and the Bob Considine Award in the same year.

Apr
27
Robert "Bob" Baer
Main Campus in Lisle
7:00 PM
Event Details

Robert "Bob" Baer

Date: April 27

Time: 7:00 PM

Campus: Lisle

Location: Goodwin Hall Auditorium

Event Sponsor: The Center for Civic Leadership

Event Sponsor: The Center for Civic Leadership

Contact: Jen Zingg    (630) 829-6460    jzingg@ben.edu

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"In each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation."


–John Fitzgerald Kennedy