June 30, 2008
NARA’s Presidential Libraries to Host National Issues Forums
Between Labor Day and Election Day This Fall
- National Archives Public Affairs Staff 202-357-5300
- NIFI, Bob Daley 937-434-7300
Washington, DC…In collaboration with the National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI), the twelve Presidential Libraries of the National Archives and Records Administration will host a series of discussions on public policy issues between Labor Day and Election Day this fall. All forums will be open to the public.
Each Presidential Library will host a series of at least three forums focusing on health care and other topics including immigration, Federal debt, education, and energy. The forums will reflect the interests of the community that supports the Libraries. In some communities, other locations such as local community centers, public libraries, and university campuses will also host these forums.
"Hosting National Issues Forums at the Presidential Libraries,” commented Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein, “is consistent with the National Archives’ emphasis on civic education. Presidential Libraries are public places and it is appropriate for citizens to engage in intense discussions of major public policy issues in the midst of a presidential campaign. However, the goal should be hosting discussions which are balanced, civil in tone and fair-minded."
"Participants in a forum," NIFI chairman William Winter, said, "deliberate with one another -eye-to-eye, face to-face, exploring options, weighing others' views, considering the costs and consequences of public policy decisions. In a democracy, citizens have a responsibility to make choices about how to solve problems and forums help enrich participants' thinking on public issues. By offering citizens a framework for deliberative forums, NIFI helps the public take an active role in acting on public issues."
The Presidential Libraries of the National Archives are not libraries in the usual sense. They are archives and museums, bringing together in one place the documents and artifacts of a President and his administration and presenting them to the public for study and discussion without regard for political considerations or affiliations. Presidential Libraries and Museums, like their holdings, belong to the American people. They promote understanding of the presidency and the American experience, preserving and providing access to historical materials, support research, and create interactive programs and exhibits that educate and inspire.
NIFI is a 25-year-old nonpartisan, nationwide network of locally sponsored forums for the consideration of public policy issues. Forums are rooted in the simple notion that citizens need to come together to reason and talk -to deliberate about common problems.
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For press information, contact the National Archives staff at 202-357-5300. For information about Presidential Libraries, and links to forum information in your local community, view the National Issues Forums schedules (www.archives.gov/presidential-libraries/events/forums.html).