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Director's Welcome:

Center Director, Larry J. SabatoDear Friends:

Around the world in 90 days! The last few months have been filled with excitement for the Center for Politics as we spread our message of “Good Politics” across the globe. I’ve traveled to London, hosted international visitors, and two of our staff members just returned from a trip to Sri Lanka. Meg Heubeck and Daman Irby of the Center’s Youth Leadership Initiative crossed the Pacific to share ideas about adult civic education with marginalized citizens in a country where too few yet believe that politics and government can help to improve lives. These outreach activities are part of the Center for Politics’ newest program, Global Perspectives on Democracy, designed to foster dialogue between citizens of the United States and other democratic societies, in the hope of ultimately increasing peaceful and productive political awareness and engagement worldwide.

Even with the launch of our bold international endeavors, our programmatic efforts and outreach have not slowed at home. This summer’s Virginia Political History Project conference focused on the 50th anniversary of the formal ending of Massive Resistance, a shameful time in Virginia’s history when public schools closed their doors rather than see black and white students integrate them. In conjunction with the conference, we are currently working with award-winning producer and director Mason Mills of PBS Community Idea Stations to produce an original documentary on the same subject, which we expect to premiere this fall and be more widely broadcast early in 2010.

We continue to spread our message that “Politics is a good thing!” through the use of new media, which allows us to reach a greater national and international audience. Visit to see our newly launched website, which provides greater access to videocasts, podcasts and downloadable publications. As an academic, I am not a natural early adopter of the latest technologies, but I am excited to be on Twitter, which is the cutting edge of online social media. You can “follow me” on Twitter to hear my thoughts on breaking news as it happens. Although I’m a few years behind my students in signing up, a fan group for the Crystal Ball can now also be found on Facebook. How the times, and technology, change!

I am very proud of all we have accomplished over the past few months. I am even more proud when I think of all the support we have had in these endeavors. Friends of the Center, like you, allow us to dream big and accomplish great things. As we grow, we find that even greater challenges await. We are committed to meeting those challenges and spreading our message in new ways across the state, across the country, and now across the world!

Best Wishes,

Fall 2009 Newsletter Articles

2009 Virginia Political History Project Looks at "Massive Resistance"
Fifty years ago the Commonwealth took a decisive step in turning the page on one of the darkest periods of its history, as it dealt a crippling blow to the official institutional policy of "massive resistance" to the racial integration of its public schools. Bringing together journalists and scholars, and students and activists of the era, this year’s Virginia Political History Project sought to illuminate the events that led up to that period in Virginia’s history and to examine what has happened since. Read More.

Funding the Future: Advancement Efforts at the Center
Like many other nonprofit organizations and academic institutions, the Center has seen a dip in individual donations. At the same time, it confronts the sobering reality of reductions in state and federal government support, especially for the Youth Leadership Initiative, a technology-based curriculum provided to K-12 teachers and students entirely free of charge. Read More.

WHO'S ON FIRST? Does the Ballot Order of Candidates Make a Difference?
Each election year, ballots are printed, listing the candidates from which voters will choose. But in what order will the candidates be listed? Center for Politics Director Larry J. Sabato takes a close look at how each state chooses who goes first on their ballots and if it even matters… Read More.

Well Served by the Time Spent: Senate Legislative Aide Colin Allen Remembers the Center for Politics
Mr. Colin Allen recalls how the Center for Politics piqued his interest in Virginia and national politics, and retraces the path that has now placed him as a legislative assistant on Capitol Hill. Read More.

Global Perspectives on Democracy - Civic Engagement Around the World
The Center for Politics was initially envisioned to promote the value of politics, government, and civic engagement to American citizens. However, the new wave of emerging democracies across the globe now provides the Center with an opportunity to offer our civic action tools and resources to leaders in grassroots organizations and marginalized communities internationally. Read More.

Test Your Political Knowledge!
Test your knowledge of political trivia for a change to win a copy of Professor Larry J. Sabato's newest work, The Year of Obama: How Barack Obama Won the White House. Read More.