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Project Citizen 2022

Project Citizen logo

This year, Polis co-sponsored “Project Citizen,” an experiential orientation program that gave 118 first-year Duke students a unique opportunity to build new connections and to develop skills to become more active, global, and compassionate citizens through programming in Durham and Washington, DC.

students walking
students in front of White House
students in class
students in class
professors lecturing
students in class
students at museum
students outside
students applauding
Students in front of the White House

Student Reflections

Headshot of Alex Naper ('26)

Project Citizen: Alex Naper (’26)

Alex Naper (’26) is studying Public Policy at Duke University Last Month I was able to participate in the Project Citizen orientation program. This was genuinely an incredible experience where I was able to meet great people and learn more about democracy’s role in society. Throughout the week, we were… Continue Reading Project Citizen: Alex Naper (’26)

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Headshot of Lila Godfrey

Project Citizen: Lila Godfrey (’26)

Lila Godfrey (’26) is a statistics major at Duke University. Duke’s new experiential orientation was no joke. As I explored my options for when I made the move to Durham in August, I was in awe: I could go on a trip to DC? What kind of college does that?… Continue Reading Project Citizen: Lila Godfrey (’26)

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Headshot of Angelie Quimbo

Project Citizen: Angelie Quimbo (’26)

Angelie Quimbo (’26) is planning on majoring in political science and global health. Orientation week seems like such a long time ago when looking at how much we’ve already completed this semester, but in reality, it was only a little over 2 months ago. I may be a little biased,… Continue Reading Project Citizen: Angelie Quimbo (’26)

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Kaitlyn Lewars headshot

Project Citizen: Kaitlyn Lewars (’24)

Kaitlyn Lewars (’24) is one of the Program Director’s of Project Citizen. She is a double major in Biology and Global Health. “The hard work and long hours that went into this program was made worth it when you saw students debating on the couch in the hotel lobby, going… Continue Reading Project Citizen: Kaitlyn Lewars (’24)

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Project Citizen: Pranav Mukund (’26)

Pranav Mukund (’26) is planning on majoring in biomedical engineering. My experience in Project Citizen was nothing short of amazing. During orientation week, I was able to shed all my worries about finding friends and seeking acceptance because my PCitizen faculty, student leaders, and peers, made the trip to DC… Continue Reading Project Citizen: Pranav Mukund (’26)

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Project Citizen: Jordan Phillips (’26)

Jordan Phillips (’26) is planning on majoring in public policy and history. When I called home to my nervous parents after my first day at Duke, they asked how things were going. “Amazing” was the only word I could articulate. Ironically, my first call home wasn’t from campus at all,… Continue Reading Project Citizen: Jordan Phillips (’26)

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What Does it Mean to be a "Good Citizen?" with Professor Eric Mlyn

Professor Eric Mlyn is a Distinguished Faculty Fellow in the Kenan Institute for Ethics and Lecturer in the Sanford School of Public Policy.

Eric Mlyn LecturingProfessor Eric Mlyn opened up programming with an interactive presentation on citizenship. He highlighted the different priorities of engaged citizenship (participation as allegiance and influence) and duty bound citizenship (duties and responsibilities).

He got students thinking about citizenship and socialization. He asked students about their first political memories, the political engagement of their parents, and the role of K-12 education play in their own political socialization.

Professor Mlyn concludes his presentation with the wise insights of Michael Sandel's TED Talk "The Tyranny of Merit." Sandel argues that there must be a change in how contributions to the common good are judged and rewarded and how success is defined. He asserts that "meritocratic hubris" leads many to believe their success is their own doing and to judge the "losers" who haven't made it. This only provokes resentment and creates divisions in civic life.

American Prophet

American Prophet Photo
Students with playwright Charles Randolph-Wright

Along with Project Identity, students attended the musical American Prophet, directed by Duke alum Charles Randolph-Wright. The musical chronicles the life and legacy of Frederick Douglass, a human rights leader and abolitionist, as well as an author, orator, and statesman. After the play, students were able to talk directly with Randolph-Wright and the cast.

Global Citizenship in Washington, D.C.

During the D.C. programming, students had the option of visiting either the Oxfam headquarters, Embassy of the Republic of Armenia, or the Embassy of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Visit to the Oxfam America Headquarters

Matt Bunji

Matt Bunyi (MPP ’16), Director of Executive Education and Strategic initiatives at Sanford School of Public Policy, took students to the US headquarters of Oxfam for a tour and staff presentation.

With a mission to end global poverty and advance inclusive social and economic development, Oxfam is one of the world’s largest charitable organizations, executing programming in over 90 countries around the world. Its work spans multiple sectors ranging from food security to climate change to humanitarian response.

Students had the opportunity to interact with Oxfam’s staff that lead their organization’s work on policy advocacy efforts related to global humanitarian response and climate change. Oxfam staff also highlighted various ways that university students can engage in Oxfam’s global work, including advocacy campaigns and student internship opportunities.

Visit to the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia

Armenia Group Photo

Students visiting the Embassy of Armenia learned about Armenian history and culture, as well as snacked on gata, a traditional pastry or sweet bread. They learned about the history and importance of bilateral partnership with the United States. The presentation even ended with a visit from Ambassador Lilit Makunts, Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to the United States of America! She reiterated the importance of culture sharing and encouraged students to study abroad at many of Armenia’s great universities.

A Visit to the Capitol