A year-long civic education program for Illinois high school students promoting informed discussion about and active participation in international and domestic policy issues.
Capitol Forum supports teachers in their social studies classrooms, addresses current global issues, and encourages civic engagement among students. Collaboration with Illinois State University's History Department allows teachers and students opportunity to benefit from the University's resources and campus.
Illinois Humanities invites Illinois high schools – public and private, upstate and downstate – to apply for this year's program, featuring "The U.S. Role in a Changing World," one of the Choices Program's newest curriculum units.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Capitol Forum?
Capitol Forum on America’s Future is a yearlong program, offered as part of the social studies curriculum, that creates a foundation for students’ long-term civic engagement through an exploration of issues affecting international, state and local governments.
Guided by their social studies teachers, high school students use case studies and readings about policy issues such as immigration, climate change, genocide and nuclear proliferation to make informed decisions and take action through a post-Forum service learning activity that addresses these issues on a local level.
Free materials are provided to participating teachers from the Choices Program at Brown University that complement the social studies curriculum and meet the state’s standards for social studies education.
Capitol Forum culminates in April, at Illinois State University, Normal, where students deliberate case studies, meet with University professors and other experts on the issues, and engage in an options simulation with their peers from across the state.
Any public or private high school in Illinois is eligible to apply. We encourage school participation from all areas of the state – urban, suburban, and rural. Civics, History, Government, World Affairs, International Relations, Economics and American Studies are ideal candidates for this program.
There is a $50 registration fee payable to “Illinois Humanities” due upon notification of acceptance into the program.
What kind of commitment is expected of schools?
Once selected, all participants, including returning schools, must agree to attend an introductory workshop in October, and a pre-Forum planning meeting in March. The Illinois Capitol Forum on America’s Future takes place in April 2018. An administrator’s signature agreeing to the above is required.
Does this mean we have to change our curriculum?
The Choices materials, which Illinois Humanities provides to participating teachers free of charge, were designed to complement your course requirements. You can decide how much or how little is appropriate for your classroom situation. Choices materials meet state standards for social studies in Illinois.
What happens after the Forum is over?
When you and your students return to class after the Forum, on-line student and teacher evaluations should be completed immediately. A service learning activity involving one of the Forum’s issues should be completed within two weeks following the Forum. View 2016 Forum outreach activities.