Past Event

13th Illinois Capitol Forum on America's Future

***View photos and the Final Projects here!***

The Illinois Capitol Forum on America’s Future is a year-long civic education opportunity, raises international awareness and promotes informed civic exchange among high school students statewide.. Now in its pilot year, the Illinois Capitol Forum focuses on citizen advocacy and human rights issues and on ways of extending students’ involvement in these issues beyond the social studies classroom.

Prior to today’s Forum, students from nine schools examined case studies concerning freedom of expression, right to health, international justice, rights of children and military intervention for human rights. These schools chose delegates to represent them at the Forum

The delegates will deliberate these case studies, meet with various guest experts (listed below), engage in a human rights simulation, and design a final outreach project to be completed by students in their classrooms.

The Forum takes place in serveral rooms at ISU’s Bone Student Center. Forum participation is limited to those who were invited or pre-registered.

Guest Experts

  • J.D. Bowers, Associate Professor of History, Northern Illinois Univeristy
    J.D. Bowers serves as Associate Vice Provost of Teacher Education. He is currently working on a project that explores the impact of American religion and the development of human rights ideals in the Untied States as each was transformed by their confluence within the political and social arenas during the ages of the American industrial revolution, imperialism, and World War I. In addition, he is working on a project that focuses on the “Cyprus Question” and the divisions between the Turkish and Greek Communities as well as several smaller projects that center on human rights violations, genocide, and instruction.
  • Andrew Hartman, Associate Professor of history, Illinois State University
    Professor Hartman focuses on twentieth-century United States intellectual history. He is particularly interested in the ways ideas helped shape political and educational contexts, and then in turn were reshaped by those contexts. His first book, Education and the Cold War: The Battle for the American School, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2008. Hartman is currently writing another book, A War for the Soul Of America: A History of the Culture Wars, From the 1960s to the Present, which is contracted to be published by the University of Chicago Press. A War for the Soul of America will be the first comprehensive, full-length historical treatment of the culture wars, a series of public controversies that emerged from the polarized 1960s, dominated headlines during the 1980s and 1990s, and remain with us today.
  • Shawn Healy, Resident Scholar and Director of Professional, McCormick Foundation Development
    Shawn Healy serves as the Foundation’s internal resource for knowledge on civic education and engagement, and plays a key role in the Civics Program’s work in the areas of advocacy and public policy, serving as a chair of the Illinois Civic Mission Coalition, and leading the state’s Democracy Schools Initiative.
    Before joining the McCormick Foundation, he served as a social studies teacher at West Chicago Community High School andSheboygan North High School. A 2001 James Madison Fellow from the State of Wisconsin, he holds an MA from the University of Illinois at Chicago in political science and earned a bachelor’s degree with distinction in Political Science, History and Secondary Education from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Healy is currently a doctoral candidate within the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago specializing in political socialization.
  • Richard Hughes, Associate Professor of History, Illinois State University
    Professor Hughes teaches courses in both United States history and history education. Before obtaining his graduate degrees, he taught history, government, and economics for four years at Southern High School in Durham, North Carolina. He has worked for the Center for Economic Education at the University of Kansas and serves as a reader for the College Board’s Advanced Placement U.S. History exam. His research interests include twentieth-century social and cultural American history and he has published articles in The Oral History Review, The Historian, The History Teacher and The Social Studies.  He is also working on a book manuscript entitled, “‘Disco Sucks’: Popular Music and the Cultural Backlash Against the Sixties,” for the University of Florida Press.
  • Maryam Judar, Community Lawyer, Citizen Advocacy Center
    Ms. Judar joined the Citizen Advocacy Center staff in 2009 as a community lawyer. She answers legal questions, helps community groups organize, monitors local governments for abuse of power and speaks out against policies that deteriorate the fabric of our democracy. Additionally, She spearheads the Center’s youth civic education program which empowers youth to make a difference. Sework with students from Benedictine University resulted in amendments to the Open Meetings Act.
    Prior to joining the Center, she clerked for the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in the chambers of the Honorable Edward C. Prado. Most recently, she worked as the managing attorney for Legal Services of Northern California’s health rights advocacy program where she utilized a grass roots and systemic approach to solving community members’ health care concerns. She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law with certificates in public interest law and policy and critical race studies and is a member of the Illinois and California Bars.
  • Caleb Probst, Education Outreach Associate, Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE)
    Caleb Probst began working with CAASE in 2007, and in 2010 began facilitating CAASE’s new curriculum Empowering Young Men to End Sexual Exploitation. This is the nation’s first prevention curriculum to engage young men in dialogue about the sex trade and empower them to stand as allies against sexual exploitation and violence. To date, more than 1,200 young men in Chicago have completed the program, and that number is continuing to grow each week.
  • Patrice Olsen, Associate Professor of History, Illinois State University
    Professor Olsen is a specialist in Latin American history. Her manuscript, “Artifacts of Revolution: Architecture, Society, and Politics in Mexico City, 1920-1940,” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008) received the Lewis Hanke Prize from the Conference on Latin American History, and the Michael C. Meyer Award from the Rocky Mountain Council for Latin American Studies.
    She received the University Teaching Initiative Award in 2002-2003, and the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding College Teacher Award (Social Sciences) in 2004-05. Her current research includes collective memory and monumentality in Cuba, the relationship between human and environmental rights in Peru, the atomic landscape, and foreign intelligence and hemispheric security.
    An avid photographer, her work has been published in various texts and multimedia forms.

The Illinois Capitol Forum on America’s Future is presented in partnership with The Choices Program at Brown UniversityIllinois State University, and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.


For more information, please call 312.422.5580.