National Institute for Civil Discourse Founded at University of Arizona

In the wake of the Jan.8 shootings in Tucson, AZ, the University of Arizona is opening a new center that focuses on civility in politics.

From The Washington Post:

Former presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush will serve as honorary chairmen of a new center at the University of Arizona that will focus on civility in political debate, university officials will announce Monday.

Former Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor and former Senate majority leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) will serve as honorary co-chairmen. Board members will include former secretary of state Madeleine K. Albright; Kenneth M. Duberstein, chief of staff to President Ronald Reagan; Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren; Trey Grayson, director of Harvard University's Institute of Politics; and former representative Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.).

"This institute is the right people in the right place at the right time," said Fred DuVal, vice chairman of the Arizona Board of Regents and former co-chairman of Giffords's finance committee.

The center will be funded with private donations, and $1 million has already been raised, said DuVal, who will head the working board of the institute, which is his brainchild. The institute plans to organize workshops and conferences in Tucson, Washington and elsewhere nationwide, and will bring together leaders from across the political spectrum to develop programs to promote civil discourse.

"Our country needs a setting for political debate that is both frank and civil," Bush said in a statement.

Clinton said in a statement that the new institute "can elevate the tone of dialogue in our country."

Increasing interest in civil politics and in the academic study of civil politics is obviously welcome from our point of view.  As someone whose primary discipline is social psychology, I'm hopeful that we can help the impressive team they have assembled leverage what is relevant in social and moral psychology toward their goals.

- Ravi Iyer