A Short Course on American Realities and Identity in the 21st Century

The “America and the World” project is designed as a short course on our status in the world at this stage in history, with a glimpse at our past history, including the assumptions, ideals and goals that informed our founding as a nation, a discussion of our national character and characteristics, our claims to being unique or exceptional, our changing role in the world, and how we can choose/shape a more humane and sane future.

The project has two components:

  1. The Who are We? America and the World handbook, a collection of readings by distinguished scholars and public leaders, with discussion questions and bibliography;
  2. A National Conversation on the subject, Who Are We?  America and the World, to be launched as a part of the curriculum of the orientation of individuals preparing for service in the several national service organizations  (both volunteer and paid) sponsored by the US Government, and also offered for use through schools, colleges, civic organizations and discussion groups throughout the country.


With counsel from a distinguished advisory committee, the handbook will be conceived and edited by Sondra Myers and prepared for publication in the fall of 2009 along with an implementation strategy.

Myers will meet with leadership of the government-sponsored service groups to present the idea for the project and seek advice from them as to the defining characteristics of the project. Further meetings will be held to seek consensus on the idea for the project and to refine the logistics of implementation, including endorsements, a launching event, etc. The launch will occur in the fall of 2009.

Excerpts from the Following Documents, Books Authors to be considered for the Handbook (list in progress)

  1. Declaration of Independence
  2. US Constitution
  3. Democracy in America, De Tocqueville
  4. Gettysburg Address and other speeches of Abraham Lincoln
  5. Inheriting the Revolution, Joyce Applebee
  6. The Second World, Parag Khana
  7. The Post-American World, Fareed Zakaria
  8. The True Patriot, Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer
  9. Life on a Small Planet, 2008 baccalaureate address, Richard C. Levin,  president of Yale University
  10. America for Sale, an address to the New Democracy Project by Bill Moyers, December 12, 2006 (?)
  11. Ben Barber
  12. Barack Obama, several speeches
  13. Vaclav Have1
  14. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  15. History and the National Stupidity, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. , New York Review of Books, April 27, 2006
  16. Several international authors on America
  17. Economic writings by Robert Reich, Joseph Stiglitz and Robert Kuttner
  18. Education writings by John Dewey, Ernest Boyer and others

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