Sphere Summit: Teaching Civic Culture Together

July 26, 2020 3:30 PM EDT to July 30, 2020 10:00 AM EDT

Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC

Sphere Summit: Teaching Civic Culture Together

July 2020
Cato Institute

1000 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC

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The Sphere Summit is a summer program for grades 5–12 educators. In 2020, there will be two opportunities to attend this program on full scholarship—the first on July 12–16, 2020, and the second on July 26–30, 2020—held at the Cato Institute in Washington, DC.

For more than four decades, the Cato Institute has introduced people, including millions of young people, to the ideas of freedom. Many Cato books are already taught in high school curricula across the country. To advance the ideas of liberal democracy and the rule of law, Cato has developed the Sphere Summit for educators. The Summit features discussions from balanced points of view by leading policy experts, academics, and thought leaders.

The Sphere Summit aims to restore a spirit of civil, constructive, and respectful discourse and engagement and to return facts, analysis, and research to primacy as the vehicles for discussion and debate.


  • Civic Culture: Explore and address the current state of public discourse, partisanship, and tribalism in America.
  • Foundations: Discuss shared values essential to a restoration of civic culture.
  • Applications: Demonstrate and share tools and approaches for the classroom on current public policy issues from diverse viewpoints. Other topics will include the U.S. Constitution, the rule of law, and freedom of expression.
  • Understanding Each Other: Examine political philosophies — progressive, libertarian, and conservative — and engage with leading scholars and educators on how to communicate effectively with, and understand the viewpoints of, audiences with diverse perspectives. Adherents of the various political philosophies will explain the ways in which those philosophies are often misunderstood.
  • Policy Discussions: Analyze key policy issues from diverse perspectives with an emphasis on shared values and common objectives, guided by scholars from leading public policy organizations and academic institutions.


  • Michael F. Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies, Cato Institute
  • Peter Goettler, President and CEO, Cato Institute
  • Jeffrey Miron, Director, Undergraduate Studies, Department of Economics, Harvard University; and Director, Economics Studies, Cato Institute
  • Tom G. Palmer, Executive Vice President for International Programs, Atlas Network
  • Jonathan Rauch, Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, Brookings Institution
  • Nadine Strossen, Former President, ACLU, and John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law, New York Law School
  • Darrell M. West, Vice President and Director of Governance Studies, Brookings Institution

More details on our 2020 Sphere Summit programs will be announced soon. In the meantime, please review the 2019 Sphere Summit for an example of past programming.