Citizen Roundtable

Sponsored by the Center for Communication & Civic Engagement (CCCE)

The CCCE’s Citizen Roundtable on Politics and Democracy Series is an outreach program that showcases the university’s top talent and prominent visiting speakers through its series of intimate and engaging presentations. Following presentations by experts in their field, community members in groups of 20 to 30 participate in active discussions with the lecturer(s) and with one another. This series reflects our continuing commitment to building bridges between the university and the community — it brings together interested community members and CCCE supporters with renowned faculty, authors, and experts.

The first Citizen Roundtable took place in 2004 when Professor Lance Bennett presented an analysis of the U.S. political process and the election that was coming up later that year to a group of community members and UW alumni at the request of Dick Wesley. The event generated interest in an ongoing Citizen Roundtable.

The growing list of community members and UW alumni who have participated indicates the vitality of citizen interest in contemporary issues and the talent that UW faculty and community experts bring to those topics. Over the years, topics have been as varied as social and political inequality, government corruption, organizing mothers for better family policy, how to emphasize happiness and well-being as economic measures, and global policy in a changing world.

Selected Past Citizen Roundtables

    • 2011: Paul Gilding (Author of The Great Disruption) and John de Graaf (Author of What’s the Economy For, Anyway?) “Authors’ Forum on Economy & Sustainability”
    • 2010: Richard Wilkinson & Kate Pickett (Authors) “The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger”
    • 2008: David Cay Johnston (Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter) “Loss of Skepticism: How Subsidies for Wal-Mart, Tyco and The Donald Became ‘Good’ News”
    • 2007: Leah Cecciarelli “The Political Attack on Science in America”
    • 2007: David Barsamian (Alternative Radio) “Targeting Iran: The Intersection of American Media and Foreign Policy”
    • 2007 (May): Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner (Co-author of The Motherhood Manifesto & Founder of “How Family-Friendly Is America, Really?”
    • 2007 (March): John de Graaf (Documentary Filmmaker) “What’s The Economy For, Anyway?”
    • 2006: Katharyne Mitchell (Simpson Professor in the Public Humanities, Department of Georgraphy, University of Washington) “Beyond the Media Image: A Citizen Roundtable on Politics and Democracy”

Since Roundtable topics are worth thinking about after the evening is over, we have created the Citizen Roundtable Blog for members of the community to continue the conversation or to catch up on discussions that they have missed. You can visit the blog and comment on its issues here.
We invite you to join the Citizen Roundtable.

For more information, please contact Dick Wesley (