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Director's Welcome


Center Director, Larry J. SabatoDear Friends:

Blessedly, the official start of spring is less than a week away. Despite the SnOverkill of 2010—an all-time record snowfall total for Charlottesville and lots of other places—winter has been a busy time at the Center for Politics.

In November, we continued our roll-out of the Center’s new Global Perspectives on Democracy (GPD) program with a lecture series in Rome, sponsored by the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Italy. We also launched a new Democracy Corps program in Sri Lanka that aims to teach civic engagement, following up on our first GPD conference last spring. Daman Irby offers an update in this issue.

Here at home, I hope you’ve had an opportunity to view our new documentary, “Locked Out: The Fall of Massive Resistance” that began airing on PBS stations nationally in February. Produced in partnership with the PBS Community Ideas Stations, the film features moving stories by former public school students whose schools were shut in the late 1950s in order to prevent even token desegregation. If you are not moved by the stories in this extraordinary documentary, well, you cannot be moved. You can view the documentary trailer online.

Though snow has disrupted class schedules at thousands of schools across the country, students and teachers who participate in our annual electronic Congress (e-Congress) are off to a great start. Each year, this signature program of our Youth Leadership Initiative generates thousands of fascinating, student-authored legislative proposals that offer a positive example of what can be accomplished when partisanship is not a motivating factor. Congress and the state legislatures could learn a thing or two from these talented young people.

Finally, I invite all (former) hipsters, squares, flower children, hippies, greasers, and cool heads to join us for a new series focusing on the politics of the 1960s. As the nation arrives at the fiftieth anniversary of the Kennedy years, it is important to remember this most politically transformative time in American history. In April we will announce a new annual series of Golden Anniversary programs and events that will commemorate the great themes, movements, and moments of JFK’s White House years and the decades that followed. I hope that the series will serve as invitation for younger Americans to question the past and learn how they can improve both our present and their future. We intend for the series to go on as long as there are 50th anniversaries that can be instructive.

For now, good wishes to you and your family,

Winter / Spring 2010 Newsletter Articles

Center for Politics Partners with Politico Hosts 11th Annual American Democracy Conference
Partnering with the renowned political journalism website Politico, the Center hosted the 11th Annual American Democracy Conference at the Newseum in Washington. Bi-partisan keynote addresses and panel discussions provided analysis, bickering and banter that entertained attendees during the day-long event. Read More.

Center Director Larry Sabato Provides a Review of President Obama’s First Year in Office
As we look back on a tumultuous first year for President Barack Obama, three questions matter. What have we learned about him? What has he learned about his job? And how much does the first year foretell about the Obama presidency? Read More.

Internationally Recognized Crystal Ball Website Now Live with New Look and Feel
With the 2010 congressional midterm campaigns ramping up, the Center for Politics’ political analysis website and online newsletter launched a brand new website design. Read More.

New Center Documentary “Locked Out” Looks at School Desegregation in Virginia
The Center for Politics' newest documentary "Locked Out: The Fall of Massive Resistance" tells the stories of many of the students who found themselves on the front lines of the fight against Massive Resistance. Read More.

Youth Leadership Initiative, American Bar Association and Public Agenda Form Partnership
The Youth Leadership Initiative has partnered with the American Bar Association (ABA) and Public Agenda in an effort to get students talking about important issues in American politics. Read More.

Three U.Va. Graduates Come Together to Help Investors Make Their Voice Heard
Corporate investors and hedge fund managers may not usually be considered typical citizen activists, nor is shareholder proxy voting a topic about which many people become passionate. However, three University graduates came together to help minority shareholders become more actively involved in the governance of their companies. Read More.

Global Perspectives on Democracy Continues International Outreach Effort
Global Perspectives on Democracy, the Center for Politics’ international initiative, is making impressive progress as work continues with Sri Lanka and future programs are being planned. 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 and a copy of “Locked Out: The Fall of Massive Resistance”. Read More.