The University of Arizona

National Institute for Civil Discourse Announces Carolyn Lukensmeyer as its First Executive Director

By Johnny Cruz, June 14, 2012

Lukensmeyer previously served as founder and president of AmericaSpeaks, a nonprofit organization that promotes nonpartisan initiatives to engage citizens and leaders.

Carolyn Lukensmeyer
Carolyn Lukensmeyer

The National Institute for Civil Discourse at the University of Arizona today announced the selection of Carolyn Lukensmeyer as its new executive director.

"Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer is an exceptional selection to lead the National Institute for Civil Discourse," said UA President Eugene G. Sander. "For decades, she has been a leading national voice on how to address our nation's challenges in a civil, non-partisan fashion."

"Her successful management of nationally recognized public, private and nonprofit organizations is simply unparalleled, " said Brint Milward, director of the UA's School of Government and Public Policy, "The Institute has in Dr. Lukensmeyer a dynamic leader who has demonstrated the managerial acumen necessary to implement pragmatic policy solutions and a tireless advocate on behalf of the principles of civil political discourse."

"I am truly honored to serve as the Institute's very first Executive Director," said Lukensmeyer, "The task of promoting greater civil discourse is one we all share – Republicans and Democrats, elected officials and those seeking public office, members of the media and citizens alike – and through our work at the National Institute for Civil Discourse we hope to explore not just why civility is important to our democracy, but to also empower individuals and groups who seek solutions to the hyper-partisanship, incivility and mistrust that have often been the hallmarks our modern political discourse."

Lukensmeyer previously served as founder and president of AmericaSpeaks, an award-winning nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., that promotes nonpartisan initiatives to engage citizens and leaders through the development of innovative public policy tools and strategies. During her tenure, AmericaSpeaks has engaged more than 165,000 people and has hosted events across all 50 states and throughout the world.  

Lukensmeyer formerly served as consultant to the White House Chief of Staff from 1993-94 and on the National Performance Review, where she steered internal management and oversaw government-wide reforms. She was the chief of staff to Ohio Gov. Richard F. Celeste from 1986-91, becoming the first woman to serve in this capacity.

She earned her doctorate in organizational behavior from Case Western Reserve University and has completed postgraduate training at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland.

Today's announcement is the culmination of a yearlong, nationwide search process.

The National Institute for Civil Discourse at the University of Arizona is a nonpartisan center for the research and advocacy of civility in public discourse. Chaired by former President George H. W. Bush and former President Bill Clinton, the Institute engages in educational initiatives to advance understanding of civil discourse among elected officials and candidates running for public office and works to promote awareness of the importance of civil discourse to democracy and effective government.