Supporting a healthy democracy was UVA’s founding purpose and distinguishes the College over 200 years later.

The College of Arts & Sciences led the University in launching its Democracy Initiative to reflect UVA’s founding purpose of supporting a flourishing democracy. Since its inception, the initiative has combined scholars and practitioners to place the University at the forefront of democracy-related research, teaching, and public engagement.

The Democracy Initiative has integrated many pieces: the John L. Nau III Lab addresses the history and core principles of democracy; three-year rotating Research Labs study the challenges and enablers or democracy; a biennial festival convenes experts on critical issues and complementary programs. 

With the recent launch of the University’s $100 million Karsh Institute of Democracy, the College’s Democracy Initiative has been elevated to a bigger stage upon which Arts & Sciences faculty, researchers and students will collaborate across Grounds with other key University partners. The Democracy Initiative’s Labs sit at the very center at the Karsh, creating knowledge that focuses not just on challenges of Democracy right now in the United States, but globally and throughout history.

Additional philanthropic support will continue the Democracy Initiative’s strong momentum and permanently secure the College and University as the preeminent place for the study and spread of democracy. 

6 Questions About The Democracy Initiative
How do government institutions remain functional, trustworthy and effective? How is social media changing our democracy?
Democracy Initiative to Launch Two New Labs
Politics professor Todd Sechser and media studies professor Siva Vaidhyanathan will direct labs for interdisciplinary research
In the News
$12.9 Million in Gifts, Appointment of Melody Barnes, Fuels Democracy Initiative

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