Nebraska Youth Turn Global Citizens at Capitol Forum

Lincoln, Nebraska Access, Civic Engagement, Education, Government, Humanities, Statewide

Each Spring, high school students normally gather at the Nebraska State Capitol Building in Lincoln to participate in Capitol Forum, a Humanities Nebraska program sponsored by the Nebraska Cultural Endowment. Through this program, students are empowered to become involved in the democratic process, as well as examine a number of pertinent issues facing our country.

Immigration, climate change, and trade are just a few topics that students investigate through Capitol Forum. Across the state, high school students study the complexities of these topics and discuss how they impact Nebraska with their classmates. After their classroom studies, students selected by their teachers travel to the Capitol to meet with the people who make policy decisions every day and to learn about global affairs and issues in depth.

Amelia Stoner of Hastings was one of many students chosen to attend the day-long session in Lincoln in the Spring of 2019. She was inspired and surprised to learn through these experiences that Nebraska has a bigger role in international politics than one would assume.

We often feel like Nebraska is an isolated state, but that could not be further from the truth. Our dependence on agriculture gives us a significant stake in the global community that deals with international politics.

Amelia Stoner

Hastings High School Capitol Form Participant

The U. S. trade policy piqued Raleigh Kreis’ interest during her time at Capitol Forum. She recently used her experience at Capitol Forum to write an advocacy letter in her theology class regarding agricultural subsidy reform. She reports that the skills she learned taught her a lot about independent thought and dialogue, as well as compromise; all “imperative skills to function as a responsible global citizen.”

“Capitol Forum is an invaluable part of my Contemporary Issues course and therefore benefits my students,” said Hastings Senior High School teacher, Robert Kerr, “but it also provides wonderful professional growth opportunities for me.”

In addition to supporting this Humanities Nebraska program directly, many donors have also made gifts to the Nebraska Cultural Endowment. These gifts ensure that students, like Amelia and Raleigh, continue to have the opportunity to learn beyond the classroom.