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Partnering with the Close Up Foundation, students will gain exposure to the historical figures, monuments, and institutions that shape current policy decisions and represent the nation’s history. During the Explore D.C. Institute, you'll visit Washington’s major memorials and museums, as well as hidden gems and local neighborhoods that many tourists overlook. Using each site as a tool for discussion, you'll examine historical themes and tensions in American democracy, debate major national issues, and explore your ability to impact those issues through political discourse and advocacy.

Major themes in this Institute are political engagement, citizen activism, and historical perspectives. Working with peers from across the country and world, you'll discuss and debate controversial issues like immigration and health care; learn about multiple sides of an issue; and practice persuasive techniques for defending your own perspective. You'll meet with congressional offices on Capitol Hill and learn about how to effectively promote your stance with your elected officials. At the end of the week, you'll establish a plan to take further action on issues that matter to you in your local and national communities.

Estimated Tuition:


Includes tuition, housing, and meals

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The Explore D.C. Institute is offered during the following dates:

  • June 10–June 16, 2018
  • July 1–July 7, 2018
  • July 22–July 28, 2018

How You'll Benefit

  • Visit D.C.’s world-renowned museums, including the new Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture
  • Explore major monuments and memorials, including the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Martin Luther King Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, WWII Memorial, and others
  • Participate in debates on current issues and take on the role of legislators during a congressional simulation
  • Meet with an elected official or congressional staff member on Capitol Hill
  • Discuss how citizens can make a difference in their community and learn strategies for taking action
  • Study historic citizen action movements in key D.C. neighborhoods

Program Format & Subject Areas

As a student in the Explore D.C. Institute, you'll spend your day immersed in a blend of lectures, hands-on activities, and group discussions. Throughout the course of the week, you'll have the opportunity to explore the following subject areas:

  • Controversial issues in the news
  • Enduring questions of American democracy
  • History of D.C. neighborhoods
  • Monuments and memorials
  • Debate and deliberation
  • Citizen activism
  • Community engagement

Want to learn more?

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