Eric Liu, Citizen University

What if civic pride were valued as much as social status or material wealth? Aspen Institute's Eric Liu on why our future depends on making civics in America 'sexy' again

Eric Liu of Citizen University runs Aspen Institute's new program on American Citizenship. In his TED Talk from 2013, Liu posits that far too many Americans are illiterate in power. Those few who know how to use it disproportionately to influence the democratic system. As a civic educator, he believes in the importance of making "civics sexy again, as sexy as it was during the American Revolution and the Civil Rights Movement." This video explains how we can once again create and sustain strong creative citizenship in America.


Unfortunately, current trends of rising inequality are eroding the spirit of common cause and mutual responsibility vital to a democratic republic. In a time when America is mired in political polarization, and its role in the world is rapidly changing, the question of what it means to be an "American" and our collective stake in our nation's future is as poignant as ever. Liu says, "By bringing together voices and leaders from across the aisle and the country, we can discover solutions to spread the values, systems, and skills of powerful citizenship across the US.”

In his new program at the Aspen Institute, Liu intends to spread values through the articulation of an ethical framework for American civic identity. He hopes to inspire changes in systems to include policies and initiatives that promote social cohesion. And through creative leadership, he will help leaders develop the right skills to build coalitions across divides and rally citizens behind the public good. Let us join forces to rekindle our creative citizenship and reclaim the republic that belongs to every one of us.