8:00 am – 9:00 am Registration Open

Please use the main entrance of the Planet Word Museum (925 13th Street NW) to check-in. 

Coffee & light breakfast will be available on the 4th Floor (Mansard Room).

9:00 am – 9:20 am

Welcoming Remarks (Auditorium)

  • Valerie Lemmie, Senior Advisor for State and Local Government, Kettering Foundation and Board Member, National Conference on Citizenship and National Civic League
  • Honoring NCoC Board Members Bob Graham and Lattie Coor
  • Cameron Hickey, CEO, National Conference on Citizenship

9:20 am – 10:20 amMorning Plenary

Citizenship and Artificial Intelligence (Auditorium) – Beyond the hype and the fear-mongering, we need to have a real conversation about the immediate and long-term implications that AI will have on what it means to participate in our democracy.

  • Miranda Bogen, Director, AI Governance Lab
  • Julia Angwin, Founder, Markup and Contributing Opinion Writer, New York Times
  • Moderator: Adam Conner, Vice President for Technology Policy, Center for American Progress and Board Member, National Conference on Citizenship

If needed, overflow room available on Floor 2 (Classroom B) with a livestream of programming.


10:30 am – 11:30 amBreakout Sessions 1

The Future of Civic Learning (Auditorium) – Civic education is one of the only national priorities with broad bipartisan support. But what do citizens need to know, what skills should they have, and how can we best support that learning? 

  • Raj Vinnakota, President, Institute for Citizens & Scholars
  • Louise Dubé, CEO, iCivics
  • David Bobb, President, Bill of Rights Institute
  • Moderator: David Sander, Mayor, Rancho Cordova, CA

Investing in the Future of Democracy (Classroom A – 2nd Floor) – Learning from the experiences of investors, donors, and program officers on how to find, found, support, and assess worthwhile democracy-building causes.

  • Michelle Barsa, Principal, Building Cultures of Belonging, Omidyar Network
  • Howard Konar, Founder, Civic Genius
  • Sanjiv Rao, Managing Director, Movements and Media, Democracy Fund
  • Moderator: Brad Rourke, Director of External Affairs & D.C Operations, Kettering Foundation

Using Data to Measure Civic Health and Impacts (Classroom B – 2nd Floor) – AmeriCorps, the Institute for Citizens and Scholars, and The National Conference on Citizenship are each working on different ways to translate data about facets of our civic health into meaningful measures that help us compare progress across geographies. We will explore insights from data on civic engagement, civic readiness, and crisis recovery to frame a discussion on how data can inform and drive effective policy and advocacy.

  • Allison Plyer, Chief Demographer, the Data Center and Author of Pandemic to Prosperity
  • Jessica Sutter, Chief of Learning Initiatives, Institute for Citizens & Scholars 
  • Laura Schlachter, Survey Statistician, AmeriCorps
  • Moderator: Joe Hoereth, Director, Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement, University of Illinois Chicago


11:45 am – 12:45 pmPlenary

Mapping a Healthy Democracy Ecosystem (Auditorium) – What are the organizations, networks, and fields working to improve the health of democracy, and how can they work together in this new environment? This session will mark the launch of an unprecedented resource that maps the organizations, connections, finances, and ideas of the healthy democracy ecosystem

  • Matt Leighninger, Director, Center for Democracy Innovation, National Civic League 
  • Carolyn Lukensmeyer, Executive Director Emerita, National Institute for Civil Discourse
  • Nik Walker, Stand Together
  • Angela Romans, Executive Director, Innovation for Equity and Board Member, National Civic League
  • Richard Young, Executive Director, CivicLex

If needed, overflow room available on Floor 2 (Classroom B) with a livestream of programming.

1:00 pm – 2:10 pmLunch & Afternoon Plenary (Mansard Room)

Introductory Remarks: Matt Leighninger, Director, Center for Democracy Innovation, National Civic League 

Structural Reforms for the Future of Democracy

Many of the most serious threats to inclusive democracy are unfolding at the state level. This is also the level at which useful reforms can be enacted. Ohio is one state where many national tensions are in play. What are most important threats? What are the most promising solutions? To what extent are particular state-level threats and solutions national models?

  • Maureen O’Connor, Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio and Senior Fellow, Charles F. Kettering Foundation
  • David Pepper, Former Chair of the Ohio Democratic Party and Senior Fellow, Charles F. Kettering Foundation
  • Moderator: Sharon L. Davies, President and CEO, Charles F. Kettering Foundation

If needed, overflow room available on Floor 2 (Classroom B) with a livestream of programming.


2:15 pm – 3:15 pmBreakout Sessions 2

Can Nonprofit Local News Save Democracy?  (Auditorium) – After two decades of layoffs, consolidation, and closures of local news outlets, a more positive trend is beginning to emerge: philanthropy and investment dollars are flowing into the world of non-profit news. Our civic institutions are strengthened and our communities are better informed when we have local news sources that create transparency and accountability, and build the bonds to increase social cohesion. What does the future hold for non-profit local news, and how can this emerging trend be sustained?

  • Elizabeth Hansen Shapiro, CEO and Co-Founder of the National Trust for Local News
  • Sewell Chan, Editor in Chief, Texas Tribune
  • Moderator: Joe Mathews, Editor, Zocalo Public Square

Interactive Discussion: Future of Democracy and Citizenship (Classroom A – 2nd Floor) – In 2026, the United States will celebrate its 250th anniversary, and NCoC will mark its 80th year.

In our commitment to sustaining NCoC’s vital role in promoting and strengthening democracy, as well as broadening civic participation, we actively seek insights on strategic priorities, potential collaborations, and innovative approaches to our work.

We value your input to guide us in building upon and expanding NCoC’s decades of impactful work. As we envision NCoC’s role in the next five years, what opportunities do you see for growth or improvement? From your perspective, what goals should we prioritize in our strategic plan? Your diverse perspectives are crucial in shaping the future direction of NCoC.

Due to limited seating, we kindly request that you confirm your interest and intention to attend this session by emailing Amy Howell by Monday, November 27th at amy@ncoc.org.

  • Joy Fulkerson, Director, Leadership and Civic Engagement. East Tennessee State University and Board Member, National Conference on Citizenship

Interactive Session: How Should We Define and Measure Civic Health, Readiness, and Opportunity at the Local Level  (Classroom B – 2nd Floor) – Work with peers to apply the framework of the Mapping Civic Measurement report to help communities solve problems, assess programmatic impact, evaluate talent, and decide how to invest resources.

  • Debi Ghate, Executive Fellow, Institute for Citizens & Scholars and Partner, Steadfast
  • Laura Hamilton, Senior Director of Education Measurement and Assessment, American Institutes for Research


3:30 pm – 4:30 pmBreakout Sessions 3

Service and Civic Engagement for the Next Century  (Auditorium) – How volunteerism, organizing, and advocacy at the local level are changing to embrace new technologies and new opportunities.

  • Michael Smith, CEO AmeriCorps
  • Virginia Kase Solomón, CEO. League of Women Voters
  • Moderator: Doug Linkhart, President, National Civic League

Empowering Local Election Officials in 2024 (Classroom A – 2nd Floor) – Across the county, our complex election system is administered by an army of officials dedicated to ensuring their communities can register for and participate in our democracy. The contentious 2020 election challenged these officials with threats and harassment combined with an increased need to combat misinformation and instill confidence in the electoral process. How did officials tackle these problems in 2022, what lessons were learned, and what new concerns are emerging in 2024? What can we do to support local election officials and help build trust and faith in our institutions?

  • Lia Merivaki, Associate Professor in American Politics, Mississippi State University
  • Maureen Bugdon, Atlantic County Superintendent of Elections & Commissioner of Registration
  • Moderator: Keara Mendez, Director of Advocacy, Center for Tech and Civic Life

Using Data and Democratic Practices to Save Official Public Meetings (Classroom B – 2nd Floor) – Most city council, school board, and other public meetings have been using the same format for decades, and the result is increasing tension and dysfunction. How are some communities using tech, data, and new engagement practices to turn the corner?

  • Marcie Hutchinson,  Mesa Public Schools Governing Board 
  • Matt Benjamin, City Council Member, Boulder, CO 
  • Moderator: Clarence Anthony, CEO, National League of Cities


4:45 pm – 5:45 pmBreakout Sessions 4

Understanding the Online Conversation Around the 2024 US Election (Auditorium) – As we approach the pivotal 2024 election, it will once again be critical to understand how the online information environment will shape political narratives, public opinion, and faith in the electoral process. What are the critical approaches and key concerns civil society must focus on this cycle? How should this work proceed in a hyper-politicized environment? 

  • Reneé DiResta, Research Manager, Stanford Internet Observatory 
  • Anthony DeMattee, The Carter Center
  • Josué Romualdo, Program Manager, NALEO Education Fund
  • Moderator: Katie Harbath, CEO and Founder Anchor Change and Board Chair, National Conference on Citizenship

Glimpses of the Future of Citizenship from the All-America City Awards (Classroom A – 2nd Floor) – Innovative examples of how cities are using technology to amplify citizen voices were on display at this year’s All-America City Awards

  • Oscar Romero, CIO, NYC Civic Engagement Commission
  • Mary Bunting, City Manager, Hampton, VA
  • Christopher Wren, Hacktivate Mesa, Mesa, AZ
  • Evan Allred, Chief Data Officer, City of Mesa, AZ
  • Moderator: Rebecca Trout, Director of the All-America City Award & Communications, National Civic League

Can We Use Citizens’ Assemblies to Set the Term for Artificial Intelligence (Classroom B – 2nd Floor) – It is difficult to gather input from citizens on policies relating to AI because the issues are so complex. One possibility is to use Citizens’ Assemblies, in which a randomly selected set of citizens take a deep dive into the topic and produce recommendations for elected officials and other citizens. 

  • Marjan Ehsassi, Federation for Innovation in Democracy and Future of Democracy Fellow, Berggruen Institute
  • Jillian Youngblood, Executive Director, Civic Genius
  • Moderator: John Gastil, Penn State University 

5:45pm – 7:00pm

Cocktail Hour and Reception (Mansard Room)

Healthy Democracy Map Interactive Session: Mingle, mull over, mess with, and make better the Healthy Democracy Ecosystem map, over drinks on the top floor in the Mansard Room!

  • Carolyn Lukensmeyer, Executive Director, National Institute for Civil Discourse
  • Matt Leighninger, Director, Center for Democracy Innovation, National Civic League