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Brown Democracy Medal

Brown Democracy Medal

The Laurence and Lynne Brown Democracy Medal spotlights and honors the best work being done to advance democracy in the United States and internationally. Under the award program, the McCourtney Institute for Democracy will recognize practical innovations, such as new institutions, practices, technologies or organizations that advance the cause of democracy along with theoretical advances that enrich philosophical or empirical conceptions of democracy.

The Brown Democracy Medal and $5,000 are awarded annually. The winning project is published by an academic press. Winners are invited to Penn State’s University Park campus to accept the medal, give a public lecture, and appear on the Democracy Works podcast.

Winning the Brown Democracy has been an incredible validation of our work. Being recognized as the top democratic innovation around the world has served as a universal signal of the importance of participatory budgeting. It has also demonstrated that our organization, the Participatory Budgeting Project, is a leader and expert, a trusted partner for navigating the next frontiers of democracy.

Josh Lerner
Co-Executive Director, Participatory Budgeting Project
2014 Brown Democracy Medal recipient

The Brown Democracy Medal certainly opened up a broader audience for my long-term research program. Word about the Brown Democracy Medal reached the Ohio House of Representatives, which issued a research commendation for contributions to democratic theory and practice.

Albert Dzur
Distinguished Research Professor, Bowling Green State University
2017 Brown Democracy Medal recipient

2021 Call for nominations

The 2021 Brown Democracy medal will be awarded to an individual or organization helping under-represented groups in the United States achieve and sustain equal access and representation in our democracy. This includes but is not limited to voting rights, environmental justice, and criminal justice reform. Preference will be given to new work (either academic or applied) that has not already received widespread public attention.

If you know of such an individual or organization, please email with the nominee’s name and contact information, along with a brief explanation of why you are nominating them.