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Giffords Shooting Spawns 'Civil Discourse' Center

Former presidents Bush, Clinton honorary co-chairs of new institute
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2011 8:31 AM CST

(Newser) – Former presidents George HW Bush and Bill Clinton will be honorary co-chairman of the National Institute for Civil Discourse, a new non-partisan center for research, debate, and education about dialogue in politics, opening today at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Featuring a prominent board of politicians and media figures—including Madeleine Albright and Greta Van Susteren—the institute was created in response to the Jan. 8 shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others, reports the Washington Post. "Our country needs a setting for political debate that is both frank and civil," Bush said in a statement.

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“In a great democracy, it’s important for people to hold fast to principles, but at the same time to understand where they might be able to compromise,” said the institute's director. The center, which has already raised $1 million, intends to organize workshops and conferences in Tucson, Washington, and throughout the nation, and will work to develop programs that promote civil discourse. Up first: a conference on advancing the national conversation about civil discourse, to be attended by members of the media, government, corporations, academia, and foundations. (Read more University of Arizona stories.)

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