Georgetown University will launch the Center for Democracy and the Third Sector establishing the first program in the country that offers a doctoral concentration in the field, in August 2003.

The new center, a partnership between the Graduate Public Policy Institute and the Department of Government, secured a $2.8 million challenge-matching grant over five years from Atlantic Philanthropies.

CDATS aims to advance research on the relationship between democratic governance in the third sector, which includes the areas of civil society outside of government and business, such as non-profit organizations, advocacy groups and social movements.

“We thought that such a center would bring together the strengths Georgetown has in the area of civil society and governance,” Mark Warren, a principal architect of the project and associate professor of government, said. “We are always looking for ways to make the whole more than the sum of the parts, and we felt that a center such as this one would help to accomplish that.”

The new center seeks to lead the way in the current dialogue on the role of the third sector and democracy by establishing a program dedicated to the more narrowed focus. “There are a few other such centers around the country, but ours will be the first to offer a PhD in Government with a focus on problems of democracy and the third sector,” Warren added.

The center provides funds for visiting scholars, Georgetown University faculty fellowships. It also provides opportunities for CDATS and GPPI doctoral students and research assistants to work on quantitative research projects. The center will also offer a new series of courses to focus and complement existing courses on democracy and its relationship with the third sector and civil society, a speaker series, seminars and workshops for visitors and a series of working papers and publications, according to the center’s funding proposal.

CDATS will incorporate and build upon the Center for the Study of Voluntary Organizations and Service, a part of the GPPI.

“We are very excited about the launch of this program and the ability to offer new academic programs to students that incorporate the Georgetown University mission of service to others and participation in civic life,” Virginia Hodgkinson, executive director and research professor for the CSVOS, said in a Nov. 6 university press release.

Hodgkinson will serve as interim director of CDATS. “The addition of this program also speaks to the strength of the Georgetown Public Policy Institute and the government department,” she said.

CDATS will serve as the U.S. partner for the World Values Project, a current global study of comparative political cultures directed by the University of Michigan, and the Citizen Involvement and Democracy Project, a survey of comparative citizen political involvement coordinated by the German University of Mannheim.

“We have been looking for ways to expand academic resources, especially in research and graduate education, at a time when University resources are tight. Developing a center that is capable of attracting external funding is one way to do this,” Warren said. “In addition, this area is an exciting intellectual and political frontier, and we believed that Georgetown could have an important role in defining the area as it develops.”

“Academic interest in these areas is being pushed by several broad developments, including the third wave of democratization around the world, the increasing decentering and complexity of governance, globalization and the growing politicization of democratic societies,” Warren said in the press release. “The field is a frontier in every sense: exciting, chaotic and full of opportunity. We would like to position CDATS as a leader in providing focus, intellectual integrity and direction.”

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