I just got word that an impressive project designed to help Americans connect with global issues beyond a 'fear-mongering frame' is shuttering itself but will live on through the various reports it produced via the web.
The U.S. in the World Initiative, first launched many years ago by Priscilla Lewis, P.J. Simmons, and Sue Veres -- all then at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund -- was housed in various stages of its development at the Aspen Institute, New America Foundation, and Demos.
Today's toxic political climate and the extreme polarization of views after 9/11 on a number of fronts -- ranging from energy and climate policy to economic questions to national security -- seemed to force politicians and policy-focused organizations to chase people at the extremes rather than to make the case for healthy civic debate, a deliberative process about trade-offs, and decisions based on interests rather than fear.
The U.S. in the World Initiative did a compelling job assembling people from across the political spectrum who were committed to the idea of healthy civic engagement that included respect for minority or divergent views and prepared outlines for those speaking to classrooms, community groups, in the media, or elsewhere in how they might present positions on climate, war and peace, energy, terrorism, and other issues in a way that dialed down the hyperbole, took a big tent approach to the discussion, and yet still conveyed serious data about the respective challenge.