Sara Mogulescu, Volcker Alliance President, Moderates Event on Our Common Purpose Report

On January 19, 2022, Sara Mogulescu, president of the Volcker Alliance, facilitated a discussion with the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs on Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy, a report by the bipartisan Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship, a project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Miles Rappaport, a commissioner and senior practice fellow in American democracy at the Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, headlined this installment of the Wilder School’s Lunch and Learn series.

“Part of our theory of change,” Mogulescu explained during her opening remarks, “is that you strengthen democracy by helping ensure that diverse, talented young leaders are at the reins of government at all levels.”

The bipartisan Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship was launched in 2018 to explore the best responses to the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of civic and political life in the United States. The Our Common Purpose report, published in June of 2020, contains 31 recommendations that seek to increase citizens’ capacity to engage in their communities, call attention to promising local initiatives around the country, combat rising threats to democratic self-government, and rebuild trust in political institutions. Virtual participants were given the opportunity to engage with the ideas posed by the report and with Rappaport, who identified the report as an important tool in democratic innovation.

When asked how these reforms can be actualized in the hyper-partisan political environment of today, Rappaport emphasized the importance of local governance. “Our hope is that some municipalities and some states will serve their function as laboratories of democracy and adopt this kind of bold and wide-ranging reform,” Rappaport explained.