Welcome to Citizen University - and other places you can go to learn how to change your society

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We like the idea of a Citizen University - a place you go to concentrate on the practices and knowledge you need to effect change in society. 

This particular Citizen University comes from Seattle, and is the brainchild of Eric Liu, who is a commentator for CNN but used to be a speech writer for Bill Clinton. They describe themselves as: 

a national platform for fostering responsible and empowered citizenship through activation, communication, and education. We believe in the promise of a nation where more people are more literate in civic power — and more steeped in a sense of civic character. We are a recognized leader and innovator in the field of civic engagement, working at the intersection of the public, private, and independent sectors, to democratize the practice of civic power.

And they have certainly set up the programmes and channels to do this:

Take their extensive TV channel, which has hundreds of focussed and practical instructionals on "Getting Local Government To Do What You Want", "Act Exponentially (With Networks)", "Make Your Fight a Fable", "Adjust the Arena", "Performing Power - art and activism", and many others. 

Their active programs include: CitizenFest - "a festive learning summit on how to exercise civic power, held in three communities across the country. Activists, artists, and everyday citizens come together for a unique blend of art, creativity, and the concrete skills of effective change-making." And also Civic Collaboratories, the "Joy of Voting" (using the performing arts to make voting a joyous affair), and Sworn-Again America, a ritual to revive the best spirits of American citizenship. 

Equivalents in the UK? Citizens UK is the long-standing organisation that aims to build the leadership capacity of its members. We would also point to NEON (New Economy Organisers Network), who are constantly providing training courses for aspiring activists.