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DCI Community Celebration 2024

May 2 & 3, 2024
On Campus

Day One – Agenda

Thursday, May 2, 2024

DCI Community

Click the “+” to the right of the event titles for more details

     11:30 am – Check-in and lunch – For workshop participants only

11:30 am - Optional: Science of Action Workshop with Sebastian Kernbach

Sebastian Kernbach headshotSebastian Kernbach

Dr. Sebastian Kernbach is Professor at the School of Management at the University of St. Gallen. He is a Guest Professor at the African Doctoral Academy and Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Design at Stanford University. He is the founder and director of the Life Design Lab at the University of St. Gallen, www.LifeDesignLab.world, author of the Life Design book and the Life Design Actionbook, as well as the Academic Director of the new NEXT program for accomplished professionals to design your future: https://es.unisg.ch/en/executive-programme/next/. Otherwise, he loves colorful backpacks, the concept of tiny houses and is a ski-teacher for blind people.
The Science of Action – Smart strategies to get started, keep going and make things happen
Program Description:
In this workshop, we will explore 7 key strategies to overcome procrastination, get unstuck and cultivate pro-activity. We will be drawing from several scientific domains, such as behavioral economics, understanding the two ways how people make decisions, and how to not work against our laziness but actually use it for our own best.
“Very practical approaches- Sebastian was so personable, approachable and
engaging. Hands on activities were fun and helpful for illustrating how to
implement methodologies and get started.”
(DCI Fellow about the Science of Action, 2023)
We will use insights from chronobiology to understand how our energy unfolds throughout the day and how to protect our most precious “prime time” for decision-making. We will explore neuroscience and how it helps to cultivate health inner dialogue as well as our signature strengths from positive psychology to shape our future well-being plus many more.
“The activities were clear, concise and thought producing. Also, working with others helped ideas grow and lead to better insight.”
(DCI Fellow about the Science of Action, 2023)
The workshop will be a science-based but very hands-on workshop with lots of interventions and exchange. You will learn best practices from an Olympic Gold medalist, a NASA astronaut and the secret of Roger Federer’s success! Finally, you will leave with your own ACTION portfolio including the STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN!
“Super helpful exercises. Liked the prototype platform idea. Simplifies things for “searchers”. Feeling optimistic about my magic circle too. Sebastian’s refreshing lack of ego and the simple but impactful exercises were great!”
(DCI Fellow about the Science of Action, 2023)
Click here to watch a short video about these special DCI workshops.
Science of action workshop group photo.
Class of 2022 and Continuing Fellow Participants of  the 2023 workshop
4:00 pm - Welcome Reception

Come mingle with other members of the DCI community.

5:45 pm - Keynote Speaker: Josh Ober, "How Democracy Survives"

Josh ober headshot black and whiteJosh Ober

Ober is a senior fellow (by courtesy) at the Hoover Institution. Ober is the Markos & Eleni Kounalakis Chair in Honor of Constantine Mitsotakis in the Department of Classics, professor of political science and classics, and professor of philosophy (by courtesy) at Stanford University, where he is the founder and currently the faculty director of the Stanford Civics Initiative (https://civics.stanford.edu). Ober holds a BA in history from the University of Minnesota and a PhD in history from the University of Michigan. He joined the Stanford faculty in 2006, after previously teaching at Princeton and Montana State Universities. He has also served as chairman of Princeton’s Classics Department and of Stanford’s Political Science Department.

Ober’s scholarship focuses on historical institutionalism and political theory, especially democratic theory and the contemporary relevance of the political thought and practice of the ancient Greek world. He is the author of The Greeks and the RationalThe Discovery of Practical Reason (2022), Demopolis: Democracy before Liberalism (2017),The Rise and Fall of Classical Greece (2015), and a number of other books, most published by Princeton University Press. He has also published about 100 articles and chapters, including recent articles in American Political Science ReviewPhilosophical StudiesPolisPublic ChoiceCritical Review, and Transactions of the American Philological Association. Work in progress includes a book on the role of civic bargains in the emergence and persistence of democratic government.

At Hoover, Ober is working to develop the Civics Initiative, a joint educational project of a group of Stanford faculty members and Hoover fellows. The participants in the initiative are united by a belief that US universities have a responsibility to offer students an education that will promote their flourishing as human beings, their judgment as moral agents, and their participation in society as democratic citizens.

     6:45 pm – Community Dinner

Day Two – Agenda

Friday, May 3, 2024

DCI Current Fellows and Alumni

      8:00 am – Continental Breakfast

8:15 am - Concurrent Programming Sessions
  • 8:15 am – DCI Ideaworks Workshop led by Debbie Siegel (2020) and Sindy Braun (2020) with Sebastian Kernbach. Have some coffee and jump-start your creativity with an action plan. Leverage the DCI community’s support and Sebastian’s Science of Action framework for prototyping your ideas. Excellent add-on to the Science of Action workshop, or as a stand-alone opportunity to jump-start your ideas!
  • 8:30 am – Campus walk with Mark Clapper (2018)
  • 8:15 am – Connecting with Nature through Photography Do you love Nature? Snap photos often of the places, critters, biodiversity that inspire you? Join us for an interactive session to view and share our relationship with nature through photography. In the first part of the workshop, Rob Dunbar, the Keck Professor of Earth Sciences, and a Senior Fellow of the Woods Institute at Stanford, will take us in and around the ocean with his amazing photographs of seabirds, corals reef systems, large ocean mammals, brilliantly capturing the relationship between animals and water. As an accomplished nature photographer, Rob has been documenting climate change impacts in coastal environments since 1975.  The second part of the workshop we will share our own nature photos. Whether you use an iPhone or an underwater camera, we want to create a DCI mosaic of images that collectively represents our view of nature. So please submit 5-7 photographs of a place you love, animals that capture your heart, or an ecosystem that inspires you. We will go through the photos collectively and Rob can provide feedback if desired. SUBMIT 3 – 5 OF YOUR FAVORITE NATURE PHOTOS HERE

    Note: please include your name on the photo title so we know who has made the submissions

    More about Rob:

    Rob heads a research group that studies past, present, and future climate change as well as its impacts on oceanic and coastal environments. His current focus areas include ocean carbon dioxide removal, Antarctic ice sheet stability and melt rates, and climate change impacts on coral reefs. Rob works regularly with the U.S. government as well as the United Nations to help develop and implement solutions to environmental and resource problems. Examples of Rob’s work can be found here: https://robertbdunbar.zenfolio.com/

    Workshop Sponsored by the DCI Sustainability and Climate SIG

10:00 am - Panel on the Future of Democracy with Pam Karlan

Faculty and Practitioner Panel led by Pam Karlan. Panelists include experts from Stanford, as well as representatives from local non-profit organizations supporting democracy.

Pam Karlan HeadshotPam Karlan 

A productive scholar and an award-winning teacher, Pamela S. Karlan is co-director of the school’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, where students litigate live cases before the Court. One of the nation’s leading experts on voting and the political process, she has served as a commissioner on the California Fair Political Practices Commission, an assistant counsel and cooperating attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and (twice) as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (where she received the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service – the department’s highest award for employee performance – as part of the team responsible for implementing the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor). Professor Karlan is the co-author of leading casebooks on constitutional law, constitutional litigation, and the law of democracy, as well as numerous scholarly articles.

Before joining the Stanford Law School faculty in 1998, she was a professor of law at the University of Virginia School of Law and served as a law clerk to Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Abraham D. Sofaer of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Karlan is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Law Institute.


Ian Bassin, Co-founder and Executive Director, Protect Democracy

Ian Bassin is co-founder and Executive Director of Protect Democracy. He previously served as Associate White House Counsel, where in addition to counseling the President and senior White House staff on administrative and constitutional law, his responsibilities included ensuring that White House and executive branch officials complied with the laws, rules and norms that protect the fundamentally democratic nature of our government. His writing on democracy, authoritarianism, and American law and politics has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, Slate, SalonThe New York Review of Books and other publications. He is a recipient of a 2023 MacArthur Fellowship, the Skoll Award for Social Innovation, and has repeatedly been named among the 500 most influential people in Washington by Washingtonian Magazine. He received his J.D. from Yale Law School and a B.A. from Wesleyan University.

Ben Ginsberg, Volker Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution

Ben Ginsberg is the Volker Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution and a nationally known political law advocate representing participants in the political process. Ginsberg’s representations have ranged across a variety of election law and regulatory issues, including voting issues and elections, federal and state campaign finance laws, recounts and contests, government investigations, election administration, and redistricting. He served as cochair of the bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration, which produced a much-lauded report on best practices and recommendations for state and local officials to make US elections run better.  His academic background includes being a lecturer in law at Stanford Law School, an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center, and a fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics. Currently a CNN contributor, he appears frequently on television as an on-air commentator about politics and the law and has written numerous articles on US politics.


Christine Sun, Senior Vice President, Legal, States United Democracy Center

Christine has worked on and held leadership positions in some of the most pressing civil rights issues of our times, including democracy protection, criminal justice and policing reform, immigrants’ rights, and LGBTQ equality. Her legal career has included public service, as a senior advisor to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, as Legal and Policy Director for the ACLU of Northern California, and as Deputy Legal Director at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama. Christine’s work has ranged from economic justice to immigrants’ rights to LGBTQ+ rights. After graduation from law school, Christine clerked for Judge Robert L. Carter on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and worked in private practice for Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in New York and Keker & Van Nest in San Francisco. She has also served as a Social Justice Practitioner-in-Residence at Berkeley Law School and was named “Alumna of the Year” by NYU Law School’s LGBT alumni association.


      12:00 pm – Lunch

12:30 pm - DCI Debate

The first annual DCI Debate will examine a controversial, ongoing topic, in a lively, occasionally humorous manner. Debaters will be drawn from all DCI Classes so you will be able to cheer for your point of view and/or your classmates.


Okay Boomers, move over and make room!  Resolved: Older adults should have a reduced role in decision-making processes that affect future generations

2:00 pm - Concurrent Programming Sessions
  • Democracy Affinity Group Breakout Session: Hear from DCI alumni and other leaders who are engaged on key issues, including voter registration and access, countering disinformation, and encouraging civil discourse. Learn how you can get involved to make a difference. Organizations that will be present include Braver Angels, Common Cause, Stanford Votes, and more! 
  • DCI Reads: DCI Writers will read excerpts of their recent works – expect an impressive and inspiring session!
  • Investing for Good w/ Jason Green (2023), Steve Seleznow (2023), Nicole Taylor
    • Jason Green, Founding Partner Emergence Capital, Founder Greenbridge Foundation.
    • Nicole Taylor, current President and CEO, Silicon Valley Community Foundation; and, former President and CEO of Thrive Foundation; and, former President and CEO, East Bay Community Foundation.
      • Steve Seleznow, former President and CEO, Arizona Community Foundation;  former Program Director and Deputy Director of US Programs, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; former Partner and Chief Investment Officer, Venture Philanthropy Partners.

    End times for these sessions may vary

    3:30 pm - DCI Updates, and Thanks!

    Meet our new Faculty director Sara Singer, and hear DCI’s goals for the upcoming year.

          3:50 pm – Reception

          5:15 pm – Individual Class Dinners/Socials

    Haven’t RSVP’d yet or have questions? Please email carlson7@stanford.edu