About Us

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 features an interesting and knowledgeable speaker focusing on a specific topic. Students take leadership roles to facilitate topic-related discussion under the guidance of their teachers.

Videos from each Civic Forum are 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.

Series Topics

  • Voting Rights
  • Immigration
  • Press
  • Infrastructure
  • Gentrification and Affordable Housing
  • Freedom of Speech

Want to find out more about each topic?

Learn more here.

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.



Jeffrey Silverman

Sanda Balaban

Board of Directors

Akinwale Adebayo

Rebecca Gamzon

Lowell Aptman

Adam Zurofsky

Attending the Civics Unplugged Forums

Civics Unplugged attendance is limited to invited junior and senior high school students from Partner Schools who have been selected to represent their school as a Civic Fellow. We welcome all students to tune-in online to watch videos featuring of all the best bits of Civics Forums.

Want your high school to become a Partner School? Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

We've merged!

As of Aug 2018, Civics Unplugged has merged with Next Generation Politics and will be changing our name and migrating to https://nextgenpolitics.org/ . Next Gen Politics is a student-created, student-led organization that fosters civic engagement and promotes a culture of collaboration and cross-partisanship within Generation Z. Given the alignment in our missions, and the range and reach of Next Gen's 15+ chapters, we are enthusiastic to join forces.

Our mission remains the same: to equip young people to understand their rights, roles, and responsibilities and strengthen their ability to engage with people from different backgrounds, appreciate multiple perspectives, and foster civic discourse. This merger will enable our Civic Fellows in New York to be in dialogue, and develop relationships, with teens from other regions who have very different lived experiences, exposing all to a broader range of perspectives and politics.

In response to the deeply divisive time we are living in, the palpable threats to democracy and civil society, and the power and potential of young people to create change, we are thrilled to support teens in expanding their civic capacity and commitment. We look forward to continuing to build this movement with you!