Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Susan Medler
PH 816.268.8245
FAX 816.268.8299

Harry S. Truman Library to Host
National Issues Forums Series This Fall

In collaboration with the National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI), the University of Missouri Extension, and the Harry S. Truman Center for Governmental Affairs at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the Harry S. Truman Library will host a series of discussions on public policy issues between Labor Day and election day this fall.

On Thursday, September 11, 2008, at the UMKC School of Nursing, the first forum in the Truman Library series will bring together people from several health care institutions to explore the theme, "Coping with the Cost of Health Care." Representatives of the following institutions will participate: UMKC School of Medicine, UMKC School of Nursing, UMKC School of Pharmacy, UMKC School of Dentistry, Truman Medical Center Hospital Hill, Children's Mercy Hospital, and UMKC Institute for Human Development/Alianzas.

The Harry S. Truman Library will be the venue for two forums on the topic, "The New Challenges of American Immigration." These forums will be held on two Saturdays, October 11 and October 18, 2008. The participants will be students from Kansas City area high schools.

Members of the public will be given a chance to join in the dialog regarding "Coping with the Cost of Health Care" in a forum held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, October 13, 2008, at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. This forum will be cosponsored by UMKC's Harry S. Truman Center for Governmental Affairs. The Kauffman Foundation is located at 4801 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, Missouri. Space is limited to 80 forum participants, and an RSVP is requested. Please RSVP to Charles St. Clair, community development specialist with the University of Missouri, at 816-407-3490 no later than October 6, 2008.

The forums will be guided by moderators trained by the National Issues Forums Institute. The forum attendees will originate a dialog on the issues being discussed, discuss policy options, and achieve knowledge of the importance of the issues to their own personal lives.

All 12 Presidential Libraries of the National Archives and Records Administration, in communities all across the country, are participating in this initiative. The libraries will each host a forum on health care and other forums will be on a range of topics including immigration, federal debt, education, and energy. The forums will reflect the interests and enthusiasm of the community that supports the Libraries. As a result, the forums will be held in a variety of locations including the Presidential Libraries, local community centers, public libraries and university campuses.

"Hosting National Issues Forums at the Presidential Libraries is consistent with our emphasis on civic education," Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States, said. "Presidential Libraries are public places and it is appropriate for citizens to engage in intense discussions of major public policy issues in the midst of a presidential campaign. However, the goal should be hosting discussions which are balanced, civil in tone and fair-minded. "

"Participants in a forum," NIFI Chairman William Winter, said, "deliberate with one another-eye-to-eye, face to-face, exploring options, weighing others' views, considering the costs and consequences of public policy decisions. In a democracy, citizens have a responsibility to make choices about how to solve problems and forums help enrich participants' thinking on public issues. By offering citizens a framework for deliberative forums, NIFI helps the public take an active role in acting on public issues."

The Presidential Libraries of the National Archives and Records Administration are not libraries in the usual sense. They are archives and museums, bringing together in one place the documents and artifacts of a president and his administration and presenting them to the public for study and discussion without regard for political considerations or affiliations. Presidential Libraries and Museums, like their holdings, belong to the American people. They promote understanding of the presidency and the American experience, preserving and providing access to historical materials, support research, and create interactive programs and exhibits that educate and inspire.

NIFI is a 25-year-old nonpartisan, nationwide network of locally sponsored forums for the consideration of public policy issues. Forums are rooted in the simple notion that citizens need to come together to reason and talk-to deliberate about common problems.

For information about the Harry S. Truman Library, visit www.trumanlibrary.org. For information about the Presidential Libraries visit www.archives.gov/presidential-libraries/. For information about NIFI, contact Bob Daley at (937) 434-7300 or at daley@kettering.org. Or, you could visit the National Issues Forums Institute web site at www.nifi.org

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