Press Release

Nine Illinois High Schools To Gather, Discuss U.S. Policies With Experts

NORMAL, IL- March 20, 2013— Representatives from nine Illinois High Schools will be convening at Illinois State University, Normal this April to deliberate with their peers and experts on questions of U.S. policy, with the goal of expanding their interest and involvement in human rights concerns beyond the classroom. 

The Capitol Forum on America’s Future, a program of the Illinois Humanities Council, will take place Thursday, April 11, 2013 at the Bone Student Center, Illinois State University, Normal.   

In existence since 1999, the civic education initiative is produced in partnership with the Choices Program at Brown University, which develops a theme and materials for teachers to integrate into their curriculum. This year the theme is “Competing Visions of Human Rights: Questions on U.S. Policy.”  Freedom of expression, right to health, rights of children, and military intervention for human rights are issues that students are addressing in their classrooms.  Guided by their social studies teachers, students are currently at work reading, analyzing, and discussing these issues through various specific case studies. Preparations culminate with the Capitol Forum, where each school sends delegates to deliberate these case studies, meet with various guest experts, engage in human rights simulations, and design a final outreach project completed by students in their classrooms. 

The nine schools attending the Forum are: Normal Community West High School (Normal, IL), Maine West High School (Des Plaines, IL), Maine East High School (Park Ridge, IL), Pontiac High School (Pontiac, IL), Homewood-Flossmoor High School (Flossmoor, IL), Eureka High School (Eureka, IL), Newark High School (Newark, IL), East Peoria High School (East Peoria, IL) and Carl Schurz High School (Chicago, IL).  

“The Capitol Forum experience not only exposes our students to thought-provoking topics and experts but a variety of viewpoints from their peers from around the state,” mentioned Marty Green, a teacher at East Peoria High School. “I use the Choices program in my US history class to make history relevant to today’s events.”  

Guest experts will be: 

Richard Hughes, Associate Professor of History, Illinois State University

Maryam Judar, Community Lawyer, Citizen Advocacy Center

J.D Bowers, Associate Professor of History, Northern Illinois University

Patrice Olsen, Associate Professor of History, Illinois State University

Andrew Hartman, Associate Professor of History, Illinois State University

Shawn Healy, Resident Scholar and Director of Professional Development, McCormick Foundation

Caleb Probst, Education Outreach Association, Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE) 

The Illinois Capitol Forum on America’s Future takes place Thursday, April 11, 2013, 8:30-3:30pm, at the Bone Student Center, Illinois State University, (100 N. University St.) in Normal. A pre-forum planning meeting with all educators and pre-student teacher candidates takes place Tuesday, February 26, at Illinois State University. For more information on Capitol Forum, please contact Carole Cosimano at by email at with the subject line: Capitol Forum or visit

The Illinois Capitol Forum on America’s Future is funded by a generous grant from the McCormick Foundation.

About the Illinois Humanities Council 

The Illinois Humanities Council is an independent, nonprofit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. The IHC creates programs and funds organizations that promote greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. The IHC is supported by state, federal, and private funds.

Media Contact:
Carlos Velázquez
(312) 422-5580, x233 

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