- Social Innovation Fellowship
Civic participation is the basis for any functioning government. The intrinsically important development of the engaged citizen, however, often falls off the radar of national governments. In the midsts of the frenzy for exceptional grades and test scores within academia, students often fail to receive the type of hands-on education required to actively participate in governments intended to represent them. Generation Citizen addresses this lack of student engagement by empowering high school students: giving them the opportunity to learn and exercise their own voices in their own communities. The Generation Citizen model achieves student civic participation through a carefully crafted curriculum that employs college mentors to teach a hands on civics curriculum before embarking together on a specific action plan to address a social issue relevant to the students´ own community. We believe that the need for this form of education is not limited to the United States. After a three-week test-run of Generation Citizen in Chile in January of 2011, where civic participation is lowest in all of Latin America, we found that the Generation Citizen model is not only internationally applicable, but has the potential to alter the mindset of a new generation that is currently disengaged from the world of politics. We propose the creation of a Generation Citizen program in Chile through a close and well-informed partnership with the Universidad Pontifica Catolica de Valparaiso. Together we will work to fight an international plague of uninformed and disinterested students through a workable, proven model of civic education.