Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

The McCourtney Institute for Democracy



Our events bring thought-provoking conversations about democracy to the Penn State community and beyond. All events are free and open to anyone. Please click on the link associated with each event to register for in-person or virtual attendance. 

2022 Brown Democracy Medal Presentation
States United: A survival Guide for Our Democracy

Joanna Lydgate, Norman Eisen, and Christine Todd Whitman
States United Democracy Center

Thursday, October 20, 2022, 4:00 p.m.
HUB Auditorium or Online


Recognizing the threat to democracy, Joanna Lydgate, Norm Eisen, and Christine Todd Whitman joined forces to help states protect the 2020 election. Since then, they have formed the States United Democracy Center, a nonprofit organization committed to a bipartisan, state-focused defense of democracy. With legal, research, and communications expertise, States United supports state and local leaders as they protect elections, coordinate with law enforcement to prevent political violence, pursue accountability for those who step outside of the bounds of democracy, and counter election disinformation. Lydgate, Eisen, and Whitman are the winners of the 2022 Brown Democracy Medal for their continuing efforts to defend against the anti-democracy movement and protect the will of the American people.

“What’s the matter with American democracy?”

Jamelle Bouie, New York Times columnist and CBS News political analyst

Thursday, October 27, 2022 4:00 p.m.
The State Theatre or Online


The missing ingredient in American democracy is political equality, the idea that all citizens are of equal weight, even if they aren’t of equal voice. It’s not just that political equality is essential if Americans ever hope to realize the potential of their democracy, but that the absence of political equality from our institutions is part of what has warped our political system into something which struggles to express our democratic values.

Jamelle Bouie, a columnist for The New York Times and political analyst for CBS News, covers U.S. politics, public policy, elections, and race. His political instincts provide audiences with unique insight on the past, present, and future of our national politics, policy, and the state of race relations.

This event is sponsored by the McCourtney Institute for Democracy and the Richards Civil War Era Center.