A Civics Series for Today
Tune In. Own The Issues.

October 2017 – May 2018
New York City

About Civics Unplugged

Civics Unplugged (CivicsU) is a new nonprofit committed to empowering young people with an understanding of their roles and responsibilities as citizens, allowing them to participate fully and contribute positively to our society and world. CivicsU initiatives open important dialogue between young people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives, and prepare them to participate in critical civic conversations.

In the face of an uncertain and often confusing political climate in the United States and globally, Civics Unplugged provides safe and courageous space for crosspartisan conversations aimed to equip young people with the tools and confidence to make their own informed political decisions and be active members of society. Through our flagship Civics Unplugged Forum Series, CivicsU aims to expose students to a range of different perspectives and nurture students’ ability to appreciate multiple perspectives, promote empathy, and foster civic discourse.

Series Topics

  • Checks & Balances
  • Press
  • Immigration
  • Trade
  • Voting Rights
  • PACS, Think Tanks & Campaign Finance

Programming Information

The Forum series

Held throughout the school year, Civic Forums provides a unique opportunity for juniors and seniors from partner high schools to learn from and connect with each other — as well as with educators and political experts — to explore issues and engage in robust discussion in a fun and supportive environment. Through indepth exploration of governance, policy, and politics, students are exposed to different perspectives and have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in discussion in a safe and non-judgmental atmosphere.

Hosted at the historic Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College, each Forum will feature an interesting and knowledgeable speaker focusing on a specific topic. Students will take leadership roles to facilitate topic-related discussion under the guidance of their teachers.

Videos from each Civic Forum will be available online so many more young people can enhance their knowledge of civics, our political system, and significant local and global issues, such as immigration, trade, the press, and checks and balances of our government.

The Forum Series Format

  • 1. In the month leading up to each Forum, students will learn about the topic through an array of resources.
  • 2. The Forum will begin with brief, engaging remarks by a dynamic public figure with expertise on the topic.
  • 3. In small groups, students will engage in student-facilitated discussion of the topics with their peers.
  • 4. The full group will reconvene and representatives from each group will summarize a key theme from their conversation and raise further questions for the speaker.
  • 5. Students will create a podcast, inclusive of an interview with the keynote speaker, to share with students beyond the Forum.

More Civics Unplugged Programming

Two ways in which we will be unplugging civics across New York City:

CivicsU Podcasts

Civic Fellows will create a “for teens, by teens” podcast based upon each Civic Forum. The podcast will be comprised of highlights from the Speaker’s remarks and an interview with the Speaker along with their and their peers’ thoughts and open questions about the theme of the month. The CivicsU podcast will serve as a way to keep conversation and thinking going--and to open it up to a broader base of students.


In the spring, Civic Fellows will produce a TEDx-style conference that draws upon their experiences and learning from the year. Fellows will create and facilitate presentations, activities, and storytelling that builds more civic knowledge and sparks more civic engagement for students from across their schools and across the city.

Partnership Schools

Arthur L. Johnson High School

Brooklyn Prospect


Facing History School

Grace Church

Harvest Collegiate

Mott Hall Bronx High School

New Explorations into Science, Technology & Math (NEST +m)






Facing History and Ourselves is a nonprofit international educational and professional development organization. Its mission is to engage students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice, and antisemitism in order to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry.