Mission Statement

The Center for Democratic Culture (CDC) derives its philosophy from American pragmatism, which regards democracy as an ongoing experiment in collective living and institution building. Democracy, according to John Dewey, begins at home, in a neighborly community, and is first and foremost a quality of experience. We take this to mean that civic virtues are as central to democracy as political institutions, that civil society thrives in the culture which encourages trust, tolerance, prudence, compassion, humor, and withers away when overexposed to suspicion, hatred, vanity, cruelty, and sarcasm.

CDC promotes civic education and civility in public discourse through research, scholarly exchange, and community-based programs. It works closely with local organizations in staging forums on the problems of democracy, organizing lectures and seminars on the issues central to local community, developing innovative programs in civic education, and building ties to fledgling democracies.

CDC serves as a clearing house for UNLV faculty and students conducting research on the historical experience of American democracy and its relevance to contemporary society at home and abroad. UNLV faculty actively supporting the CDC mission are welcome as its members. Associate membership is available to researchers from other academic institutions, as well as to local community representatives with interests in civic education and democratic policy formation.

The Center for Democratic Culture does not endorse candidates running for office, nor does it take part in political campaigns. CDC is a nonprofit organization that raises funds for its programs through federal agencies, private foundations, and individual donations.