The University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service partnered with National Archives and Records Administration at the Clinton Presidential Center and the National Issues Forums Institute to host two National Issues Forums in October, 2016.
The first forum focused on Making Ends Meet: How Should We Spread Prosperity and Improve Opportunity? and was attended by over 30 people from the Central Arkansas community. Discussion was lively and civil, as Clinton School students served as moderators for the discussion. Participants noted in their final reflections that the discussion helped them to see connections among various options to improving economic prosperity as well as rethink their own personal stances. As one participant noted, “I often think I have a solution without consideration of drawbacks”; and another noted, “I am still in favor of reducing inequality as the best option but am now thinking more about how to create a successful tiered approach.”
The second forum focused on Healthcare: How Can We Reduce Costs and Still Get the Care We Need? and was attended by nearly 40 people from the Central Arkansas community including many healthcare professionals. Again, thanks to the Clinton School moderators, discussion was lively and civil as participants deliberated the advantages and disadvantages of the options presented. “This issue is even more complicated than I thought” was a common theme noted among participants. Participants also noted they enjoyed listening to others’ perspectives and learned new approaches to the issue from taking part in the discussion.
All in all, each event provided an evening of thoughtful and spirited discussion – the kind of discussion necessary for a healthy and vibrant democracy. As one participant noted in a follow-up email – “we need more discussions like these.”
For more information about this work, contact:
Christina Standerfer, PhD
Associate Professor, Communication
University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service