Deadline: 3 January 2017
The McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State University is accepting nominations for the 2017 Brown Democracy Medal to bring attention to the best new work being done by individuals or organizations to advance democracy in the United States and around the globe.
Penn State alumni Larry and Lynne Brown have made a leadership gift to endow a new award that recognizes an outstanding individual, organization or a group of individuals for exceptional innovation in the advancement of democracy in the United States or around the world.
The Laurence and Lynne Brown Democracy Medal spotlights and honors the best work being done to advance democracy and recognizes a person or organization whose most recent work is tremendously important but under-appreciated.
The McCourtney Institute for Democracy was founded in 2012 as an interdisciplinary center for research, teaching, and outreach on issues of democracy, broadly defined. The McCourtney Institute coordinates innovative programs and projects in collaboration with two Centers of Excellence – the Center for American Political Responsiveness and the Center for Democratic Deliberation – and other entities at Penn State.
The medal and $5,000 will be awarded to bring new ideas and innovations the public recognition they deserve and advance their positive impact on democracy.
The democratic innovation selected will score highest on these features:
- Novelty: The innovation is precisely that—a genuinely new way of thinking about democracy or practicing it. The award is thus intended to recognize recent accomplishments, which have occurred during the previous five years. The innovation will likely build on or draw on past ideas and practices, but its novelty must be obvious.
- Systemic change: The idea, theory, or practical reform should represent significant change in how we think about and practice democracy. Ideas should be of the highest clarity and quality, empirical studies should be rigorous and grounded in evidence, and practical reforms must have proof of their effectiveness. The change the innovation brings about should be able to alter the larger functioning of a democratic system over a long time frame.
- Potential for Diffusion: The idea or reform should have general applicability across many different scales and cultural contexts. In other words, it should be relevant to people who aspire to democracy in many parts of the world and/or in many different social or political settings.
- Democratic Quality: In practical terms, while the nominees themselves may well be partisan, the spirit of this innovation must be nonpartisan and advance the most essential qualities of democracy, such as broad social inclusion, deliberativeness, political equality, and effective self-governance.
How to Apply
Interested applicants can send their nomination letters at the address given on the website.
For more information, please visit Brown Democracy Medal.