The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum
as the Public Square: The Kansas Town Hall
“Citizenship is not a mere matter of expressing our pride in our traditions... citizenship is the carrying forward of the ideals on which nations based on freedom are maintained and sustained.”
President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Polish-American Congress, Chicago, Illinois, September 30, 1960
The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum is a nonpartisan federal institution offering Kansans a chance to join in on important policy issues. The Kansas Town Hall is dedicated to creating programs encouraging citizens to engage in and learn more about issues facing Americans today. These discussions – through a variety of public programming – will enhance civic literacy. It is rooted in the simple notion that people need to come together to reason and talk.
These programs will offer individuals the opportunity to join together with others to make choices about ways to approach difficult issues. By partnering with various organizations, there will be many occasions for citizens of all backgrounds to learn more about the issues facing them today. The primary partner for Kansas Town Hall programs is Kansas State University’s Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy.
To increase citizen participation and understanding in the democratic experience, these programs will include:
• Bipartisan Campaign Debates
• Complex Social, Economic, Cultural, and Policy Issues
• Panel Discussions
• Dialogue Opportunities with Local, State and Federal Policy Makers
The World Without US-- What would happen if one day the United States were to stop its military intervention around the globe?
Grandma Layton: Art as Therapy Exhibit-- Elizabeth Layton, a native of Wellsville, Kansas, was struggling with bi-polar illness and profound depression when she began contour drawing in 1977 at age 68. Art became more than therapy for her - it saved her life.
Pakistan-- An evening of cultural exchange. Learn more about challenges that face both Kansans and Pakistanis.
Race Issues-- A panel discussion and reception as part of the Library's celebration of Black History Month and the 100th Anniversary of the NAACP.
Afghanistan Today: A Personal Point of View-- Afghan teachers who are currently enrolled in advanced studies at K-State discuss current issues and share their perspective on today's world. Some of the topics will include culture, faith, and history pertaining to Afghanistan.
Coping with the Cost of Health Care: How Do We Pay for What We Need?-- The rising costs of health care in today’s slow economy is a growing concern for many Americans. This forum discussion is an opportunity to provide input and feedback on this important public policy issue.
Debate Watch 2008-- This forum will allow citizens to come together to view the Presidential Debates and discuss opinions in a safe and encouraging environment. The goal is for the feedback of the group to be honest and open dialogue without influence by political analysis.
Energy Independence-- Between rising oil prices, global instability, and environmental degradation, most Americans acknowledge the need for energy independence. Yet our political dialogue tends to focus on the most extreme positions, leaving most citizens scratching their heads about what to do. A Declaration of Energy Independence takes a nonpartisan, honest approach to these fundamental questions and obliterates the political and economic myths of both conservatives and liberals.
Preparing Today's Kids for Tomorrow's Jobs: What Should Our Community Do?-- This topic was developed in response to growing complaints from our nation's employers that too many of today's high school graduates are unprepared to join the work force. How can we better prepare young people for the workplace?
Underage Drinking: What Are the Consequences? What Can the Community Do?-- The goal of this forum was to increase awareness and answer questions on the topic of underage drinking. The panel discussion included representatives from the legal, medical, education, alcohol/substance abuse, and insurance fields. Bryan Thompson, health reporter for Kansas Public Radio moderated.
Coping with the Cost of Health Care: How Do We Pay for What We Need?-- Participants at this forum discussed the issue of health care. The forum presented three approaches for deliberation: reducing the threat of financial ruin; restraining out-of-control costs; and providing coverage as a right.
Economic Security: How Can We Take Charge of Our future?-- Economic security is a major issue today in our society because of unemployment rates, losses with home values and savings and failing banks just to name a few. Our hope is to further understand where the heart of the struggle is for citizens today.