Best-selling author and popular TED Talk speaker Eric Liu has a simple but powerful message for all Americans: “Democracy only works when enough of us believe democracy works.”
It is a message that cuts across political party lines and focuses on encouraging people to reclaim ownership of the political process by becoming engaged citizens. “Politics is not something that happens to us, like the weather. It is something that we are participants in, whether we are active or whether we are passive.”
On Thursday evening, October 3, thanks to a partnership between The Rivers School and Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life
, Liu will bring that message to the Rivers campus in an event open to Rivers parents and alumni as well as to invited guests and the general public. The event will feature a 7:00 p.m. presentation by Liu and will be preceded by a 6:15 p.m. wine and cheese reception. The event is free, but seating is limited and reservations are highly recommended
Among those invited to attend are local civics teachers and practitioners, who will have the opportunity to network and celebrate their common efforts to advance civics education.
“In these divisive times, it is easy for people to become disengaged from politics and reluctant to participate in difficult conversations,” says Amy Enright, Director of the Center for Civic and Community Engagement (CCCE)
at Rivers. “Liu challenges us not to give in to those impulses. He provides a message of hope and empowerment that everyone will find inspiring, regardless of political affiliation.”
The event is meant to complement Liu’s visit to campus on the following day, during which he will speak to Rivers students about civic engagement. “This is a great opportunity for parents to hear the same message that their children will be hearing about civic engagement,” says Enright. “My hope is that this shared experience will spark important discussions at home. It is a chance for all of us to think deeply about complex issues and to lean into difficult conversations.”
A speaker who has been described as “phenomenal,” “amazing,” and “moving,” Liu is the author of eight books, including You’re More Powerful Than You Think and the national best-sellers The Gardens of Democracy and True Patriot. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Citizen University, whose mission is to build a culture of powerful, responsible citizenship across the country.
In 2019, Liu delivered a TED talk
that topped 1 million views in less than a month. His two previous TED talks, on power and on voting, have been viewed more than 3 million times.
The son of Chinese immigrants and a onetime White House staff member, Liu understands that Americans are bewildered about the apparent erosion of old civic certainties and common values. However, he argues, it is this very reality that lends such urgency to this movement to find ways to talk across the political divide. With humor, insight, and passion, Liu empowers citizens to find and pursue a way forward.
Liu is coming to Rivers as the inaugural speaker in the Hall Family Speaker Series, a newly established speaker series administered by The Center for Community and Civic Engagement at The Rivers School. Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life is a partner in this inaugural event and a primary co-sponsor of the event reception.