Academy Initiative

For information about the August 2020 CAMPUS Academy click here.

Strengthening Democratic Engagement to Address Local Civil Unrest

Our initial application deadline was October 4.  However, several communities asked for additional time to complete their applications.  We will consider all applications submitted on or before Friday October 18.

Scheduled in Chicago for March 1, 2, and 3, 2020, the Divided Community Project (DCP) at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, in partnership with the American Bar Association’s Section of Dispute Resolution (Collectively the Hosts) host a second national Academy, We, the People: Strengthening Democratic Engagement to Address Civil Unrest for Community Leaders.  The program’s goals are three-fold:
  1. Strengthen conflict resolution-related planning and capacity building.
  2. Support and strengthen the development of a local ‘core’ leadership convener group for four communities.
  3. Provide planning opportunities for each core leadership group.

Additional details about the Academy Initiative are forthcoming.  To stay up to date, please email with the subject line “Academy Initiative”.

The application window is NOW OPEN!

The project invites “core leadership groups” to apply.  Ideally, a core leadership group should include two representatives from municipal infrastructure (ideally a high-ranking police official and a city manager or the equivalent), two representatives from the local non-profit community, two community advocates, a member of a religious organization, and a representative from an educational institution.

Click here to review the application!

The Application Timeline is as follows:

  1. Applications Due Friday October 18, 2019
    1. Our initial application deadline was October 4.  However, several communities asked for additional time to complete their applications.  As such we will consider all applications submitted on or before Friday October 18.
  2. In October and November DCP may work with Academy Applicants to further hone and identify applicant commitment and interest in the program
  3. Academy Applicants will be notified regarding their participation on or before Friday November 29, 2019
  4. December 2, 2019, to February 1, 2020
    1. Core leaders from each participating community will meet as a group to discuss questions developed by the Hosts and intended to help focus on key issues to be addressed at the Academy
    2. Representative from each group will report conversations back to the Hosts to ensure that the Academy is tailored to meet the needs of each core leadership group

Application criteria will be described in detail shortly, and will include the following components:

1. Diversity

Diversity is fundamental to the program.  The hosts anticipate selecting participant communities that collectively reflect diversity of geography, size, and community demographics.  The hosts urge core leadership groups to consider how they reflect the diversity of their own community.

2. Commitment

Applicants should identify the four to seven core leaders who are committed to attending the national academy on March 1, 2, and 3.  When identifying leaders for the core leadership team, include people who have the power to encourage, initiate, and/or implement changes in policy or practice.  The core leadership group should include people who are directly affected by the issue(s) causing tension or division.  You may also want to consider including people who can help sustain the work going forward.

Applicants should tentatively articulate how the core leadership group will begin convening broad-based community planning efforts to identify and address issues that polarize the community and whether and how the core leadership group will meet prior to the Academy.

Applicants should commit to working with the Divided Community Project in the following ways: 1) in late 2019 and early 2020 to prepare for the Academy; and 2) following the Academy in order to implement initiatives aimed at addressing community polarization.

3. Need

Applicants should articulate their perception of issues polarizing their home community as well as their perception of the next issues that may be facing their home community.  These may include long-standing issues that have created tension for years, as well as tension that has erupted into volatile conflict more recently

Commonly Asked Questions

How does my community apply?

Click here to submit your application!

Who participated in the first Academy?

Core leadership groups from the following communities:

  • Charlottesville, Virginia
  • Kenyon College
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • Portland / Oregon

What is the cost?

Due to generous support from the AAA-ICDR Foundation, the Academy is free for core community leaders.  The Hosts will provide coach airfare, lodging, and meals for Academy participants.

How will participants prepare for the Academy?

Potential Academy participants will apply in Fall 2019.  Academy participants will be notified before December 2019.  In early 2020, DCP will send Academy participants a spiral-bound set of materials to review in advance of the Academy.  Core leadership groups will be asked to 1) meet as a group in January 2019 to meet one another and begin identifying their expectations for the Academy; and 2) meet with an Academy facilitator via skype or zoom in February 2020 to discuss Academy expectations and answer any questions about the initiative.

What should participants expect at the Academy?

Participants will work collectively to build collaborative skills.  Participants will share resources with other similarly situated leaders in their community (community organizer to organizer; city manager to city manager; county sheriff to deputy policy chief). Participants will engage in role plays and hand-on planning grounded in DCP resources.  Participants will work with DCP leaders, ABA leaders, former Academy participants, and DCP collaborators to develop action steps to implement in their communities.

What should we expect following the Academy?

Sustained engagement.  Core leadership groups will be expected to maintain a relationship with DCP to share resources, lessons learned, and give feedback to further develop the Academy initiative.  DCP anticipates maintaining and developing relationships with Academy communities.