WASHINGTON—Close Up Foundation, the nation’s largest non-profit civic education organization, said Friday that it has been awarded a grant of $1 million from the U.S. Department of the Interior to conduct civic education programs in areas under the jurisdiction of the Office of Insular Affairs.
The technical assistance grant will provide funds for students and teachers from American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Republic of Palau and the United States Virgin Islands to participate on Close Up Washington and other island-based programs.
Close Up is planning to conduct a Washington Insular Areas Program in February 2010. Students and teachers will spend a week in the nation’s capital meeting with federal officials, engaging in public policy workshops, current issues debates and visiting historical sites. They will also be traveling to New York City, Philadelphia and Williamsburg, Virginia as part of their Close Up experience.
“We are pleased to be able to offer students from the Insular Areas these Close Up opportunities,” said Tony Babauta, Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas. “These civic education programs provide our young people with a deeper understanding and appreciation of government and the role that each individual plays in our democratic system.”
The Close Up programs address the educational needs of the insular areas and fosters the knowledge and skills needed for island residents to effectively participate in the United States model of democracy. The program for educators provides training and materials to improve teacher civic education skills. The programs also seek to increase mutual understanding between the diverse citizenry of the United States with special emphasis on public policy concerns and culture.
“Close Up is pleased that Congressional leaders and the Interior Department have renewed our long-standing partnership providing transformative civic education experiences for students and teachers in the islands communities. We look forward to again working with the education leaders in each of these communities,” said Timothy S. Davis, president and CEO, Close Up Foundation.
Davis added: “Our island participants add so much richness to our program. They educate their fellow students and teachers by offering their unique political and cultural perspectives to the public policy debate.”
Close Up has been providing civic education programming to the Pacific Islands under Office of Insular Areas grants for over 20 years. In addition to the Insular Areas Washington Program, Close Up conducts and funds local civic education classroom and other programming as well as student workshops at island-based education conferences. (PR)