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Are We Taking Our Democracy for Granted?
Thursday, September 12, 2019 to Saturday, September 14, 2019
Category: Quarterly Meetings

 Logo: are we taking our democracy for granted

Are We Taking Our Democracy for Granted?
Sept. 12–14, 2019 • Bryan-College Station, Texas

Are we taking our democracy for granted? The Texas Lyceum will explore this question at our quarterly meeting Friday, September 13, at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. It’s been said that democracy is the worst form of government … until you consider the other options. At this meeting, the Lyceum will examine how we define democracy in America, investigate alternatives forms of governance, work to understand who participates in our system—and who doesn’t—and discuss ways we can improve U.S. civil society and ensure better access and participation for all.

Hotel Information

Cavalry Court | The George Hotel
200 Century Court
College Station, TX 77840
(866) 842-0100 

PLEASE NOTE: When visiting the hotel's website, block "book now" in the top right-hand corner of the page. Select the group's arrival and departure date and change the "promo code" drop down box to "group/block".

The Group Code: TODFGO614. 

Rate: $239 per night; rate only available for Thursday and Friday nights.

PLEASE NOTE: This hotel is sold out.
Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center - SOLD OUT
177 Joe Routt Boulevard
College Station, TX 77840
(888) 654-4436

Make a Reservation

Registration Information

Full-Conference Alumni/Guests: $200
Evening-Only Alumni/Guests: $100

Texas Lyceum Mobile App

Stay up to date on sessions, speakers and attendees. Download the Lyceum Meeting Mobile App here. In the app, click Conference Picker and select September Democracy. 

Schedule & Content

Thursday, September 12, 2019

3:00 - 5:00 p.m. – Texas Lyceum Executive Committee Meeting, Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center

6:00 - 8:30 p.m. – Welcome Party: Dinner, Live Music, Dancing and an Introduction to Bryan-College Station, Grand Stafford Theater, Bryan, TX
Mayor Andrew Nelson, City of Bryan; Chancellor John Sharp, Texas A&M University System

9:00 p.m. – Hospitality Suite, Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center


Friday, September 13, 2019

Annenberg Presidential Conference Center
Texas A&M University
4347, 1002 George Bush Drive W
College Station, TX 77843

7:45 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.  – Breakfast Available

8:30 a.m. – Welcome & Overview of Texas A&M University & The Bush School of Government and Public Service
Dean Mark Welsh, The Bush School; Michael K. Young, President, Texas A&M University 

8:55 - 9:15 a.m. – Defining Democracy
What is a democracy? Why is it worth defending? This opening talk will lay the foundation for the day's conversations.

9:15 - 10:00 a.m. – Citizen Discourse: Discourse Skill Building + Collective Storytelling
Setting the tone for a day of thoughtful discussion, this workshop is designed to introduce mindfulness, reflective writing, and discourse skill building as well as active listening.
Karen Gross, Citizen Discourse

10:00 - 11:00 a.m. - The State of Our Union Who Participates, Who Doesn’t, and Why
Using the Lyceum poll results as a jumping off point, this panel with divergent views discusses who participates, who doesn’t and why, how easy it should – or shouldn’t – be to vote, and what hurdles are in place (intentional or otherwise).
Jay K. Aiyer, Deloitte, Lyceum Class of 2001; Dr. Ann Bowman, The Bush School, Texas A&M University; Robert Stein, Rice University; Moderated by Holly Kuzmich, George W. Bush Institute, Lyceum Class of 2016

11:00-11:55 a.m. Alternatives to Democracy – A Look at Life Without Democracy
A look at life in Iran, Venezuela and North Korea and why dissidents in the U.S. from those countries fight for democracy back home.
Mariam Memarsadeghi, E-Collaborative for Civic Education/TAVAANA, Joseph Kim, George W. Bush Institute; Alejandro I. Sanoja, Latinpresarios; Moderated by Nancy Bocskor, Center for Women in Politics & Public Policy, Texas Woman's University

11:55 a.m.-12:20 p.m. – An Immigrant’s Story
Hear one family's journey from immigrant to citizen and participate in an interactive citizenship test.
Led by The Honorable Kristen Hawkins, Lyceum Class of 2018

12:20-12:45 p.m. – Lunch 

12:45-1:15 p.m. – Fireside Chat: New Solutions 
A fireside chat with Mindy Finn, co-founder of Stand Up Republic, looking at how to generate workable, near-term ideas to strengthen democratic society and rebuild the functional government. 
Mindy Finn, Stand Up Republic; Moderated by Emily Ramshaw, Editor-in-Chief, Texas Tribune, Lyceum Class of 2017

1:15-1:30 p.m. – The Census - Keeping Count
Hear an overview of how important the 2020 Census is for apportionment, representation and who gets a say in our Democracy.
Amy Desler, Communities Foundation of Texas

1:30-2:30 p.m.  – The First Amendment: Why Democracy Depends On It sponsored by The Dallas Morning News
Join a discussion with journalists and a First Amendment expert on the vital role of a free press in a democracy.
Amy Kristin Sanders, Moody College of Communication at The University of Texas at Austin; Alfredo Corchado, Dallas Morning News, Moderated by Elizabeth Souder, Assistant Editorial Page Editor, The Dallas Morning News

2:30-2:45 p.m. – Voter Turnout in Texas: Can It Be Higher? 

James McKenzie, The Bush School, Texas A&M, Texas Lyceum Fellow; Supervising Professor: Dr. Ann Bowman, The Bush School, Texas A&M University

2:45-3:45 p.m. – Why Competition in the Politics Industry is Failing America
Katherine Gehl, former CEO of Gehl Foods and co-author of, Why Competition in the Politics Industry is Failing America, Daniella Ballou-Aares, Leadership Now Project

3:45-4:30 p.m. – A Look to the Future…The Kids Are Alright
End the day with a hopeful look at young democracy builders and groups engaged in getting young people to participate and create a culture of voting and engagement.
Cassie Pollock, Politics Reporter, The Texas Tribune; Madison Huerta, Grassroots Organizer, Moderated by Charlie Bonner, MOVE Texas

4:30-5:00 p.m. – Wreath Laying Ceremony 
Join the Texas Lyceum as we lay a wreath and pay respects at the gravesite of President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush.5:15-6:00 p.m – George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum Tour & Cocktails

5:15 p.m.-6:00 p.m. - Reception & Museum Tour; George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum Rotunda

6:00-8:00 p.m.  Dinner in George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum Rotunda

8:30 p.m. – Hospitality Suite, Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center

12:00 a.m. - MIDNIGHT YELL, Kyle Field

Saturday, September 14

10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. – Texas Lyceum Board Meeting & Brunch, Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center (Directors & Alumni Only)
2:00 p.m. – Texas A&M v. Lamar Tailgate ($20 pp)

6:00 p.m. – Texas A&M v. Lamar Football Game (pricing dependent on number of registered for this event, RSVP by August 23 to confirm your ticket)





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Jenny Ligon