Past Event

14th Illinois Capitol Forum on America's Future

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 thirteen 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

  • Andrea Alvarez, Community Lawyer, Citizen Advocacy Center
    Andrea Alvarez has been with CAC since October, 2013. She organizes community groups to address self-identified issues of public concern, monitors local governments for abuse of power and speaks out against policies that deteriorate the fabric of our democracy. Ms. Alvarez also spearheads the Center’s youth civic education program which empowers youth to make a difference. Ms. Alvarez is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School where she served as President and Community Outreach Director of the Latino Law Student Association, as well as a board member of the Domestic Violence Project.
  • Dr. J.D. Bowers, Associate Vice Provost, University Honors and Associate Professor of History, Northern Illinois University
    Dr. Bowers currently is exploring the impact of American religion and the development of human rights ideals in the United States. In addition, he is working on projects that focus on the “Cyprus Question,” human rights violations, and genocide. His teaching interests include the intersections of religion, violence, human rights violations and public commemoration in American and global societies.
  • Nisan Chavkin, Executive Director, Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago,
    Nisan Chavkin joined the organization in 1995 and became executive director in 2010. He designs, presents, and directs local, national and international professional development programs for teachers. He also writes curricular materials for middle and high school students. Prior to joining CRFC, he held program positions with the Chicago and Northern Illinois Region of the National Conference of Christians and Jews.
  • Alexandra Corrigan, Education Outreach Associate, Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE)
    Alexandra Corrigan is a graduate of DePaul University’s Law School and currently is completing a Master of Social Work degree at Loyola University. She also is pursuing a LLD in Child and Family Law. Her work at CAASE involves social outreach.
  • Dr. Patrice Olsen, Associate Professor of History, Illinois State University
    Dr. Olsen is a specialist in Latin American history. Her publication areas include Latin American architecture and popular culture, U.S. national security, the Bush Doctrine and foreign intelligence. Her teaching fields include colonial and modern Latin American history, environmental history and human rights, the Borderlands, Latin American Military History, foreign intelligence and covert operations, and U.S. nuclear history and strategy. She has been co-director of ISU’s study tours to Cuba, and coordinates environmental history programs in the Peruvian Amazon. She is an avid photographer whose work has been published in various texts and multimedia forms.
  • Deacon Lupe Villarreal, Immigration Outreach, St. Isidore Parish, Bloomingdale
    Deacon Villarreal is the Hispanic Pastoral Associate at St. Isidore’s, and a DuPage County sheriff’s chaplain in Wheaton, where he mentors officers, staff and inmates detained in the DuPage County Jail. He is a member of various DuPage County and Illinois coalitions for refugee rights and immigration reform. He is a permanent Deacon for the Diocese of Joliet and currently is enrolled in the prison ministry program at Lewis University in Romeoville. He and his wife, Carmen, have five sons and 13 grandchildren.

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.