Sphere Summit: Teaching Civic Culture Together

Sphere Summit: Teaching Civic Culture Together

July 13–15 2020
Online Seminar

Hosted by the Cato Institute

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About Sphere Summit

The Sphere Summit is a summer program for grades 5–12 educators and administrators. Given the concerns related to COVID-19, the Sphere Summit will be held this summer as an online program on July 13–15.

The Sphere Summit will feature presentations by leading policymakers, scholars, and academics, who will discuss key public policy issues facing our nation today. The Summit also will feature professional development workshops conducted by leaders in civic education.

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.


  • Donald M. Berwick, MD, MPP, President Emeritus and Senior Fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement; former Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Julian K. Braxton, Director of Community and Inclusion; History Faculty, The Winsor School
  • Caleb O. Brown, Director of Multimedia, Cato Institute
  • Michael F. Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies, Cato Institute
  • Gary Colletti, Senior Manager, Teacher and Student Programs, Bill of Rights Institute
  • Joseph Croker, Upper School English and Media Arts Teacher, Harpeth Hall
  • Emily Ekins, Research Fellow, Cato Institute
  • Chelsea Follett, Policy Analyst and Managing Editor of Human​Progress​.org, Cato Institute
  • Caroline Fredrickson, Senior Fellow, Brennan Center for Justice
  • Peter Goettler, President and CEO, Cato Institute
  • Jonathan Haidt, Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership, Stern School of Business, New York University; and Cofounder, Heterodox Academy
  • Sean Kinnard, Psychology and AP World History Teacher, Yorktown High School
  • Arnold Kling, Senior Affiliated Scholar, Mercatus Center at George Mason University
  • Michael A. Lewis, Professor, Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, CUNY
  • Debra Mashek, Executive Director, Heterodox Academy
  • Jeffrey Miron, Director, Undergraduate Studies, Department of Economics, Harvard University; and Director, Economics Studies, Cato Institute
  • Lynn Moody, Superintendent, Rowan‐​Salisbury School System
  • Bonnie Moses, Upper School Social Science Teacher, Harpeth Hall
  • Tom G. Palmer, Executive Vice President for International Programs, Atlas Network
  • Ramesh Ponnuru, Visiting Fellow, American Enterprise Institute; and Senior Editor, National Review
  • Jonathan Rauch, Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, Brookings Institution
  • Kerry Sautner, Chief Learning Officer, National Constitution Center
  • Rob Schimenz, Executive Director, Stossel in the Classroom
  • Ilya Shapiro, Director, Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute
  • Bonnie Snyder, Director of High School Outreach, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
  • Nadine Strossen, Former President, American Civil Liberties Union; and John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law Emerita, New York Law School
  • Amy Swearer, Legal Fellow, Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, Heritage Foundation
  • Michael D. Tanner, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute
  • Somil Trivedi, Senior Staff Attorney, Criminal Law Reform Project, American Civil Liberties Union
  • Darrell M. West, Vice President and Director of Governance Studies, Brookings Institution
  • Kelly Young, President, Education Reimagined


  • Bill of Rights Institute
  • Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
  • Stossel in the Classroom
  • National Constitution Center


Photos from the 2019 Sphere Summit