San Francisco – Call for Recommendations – New Americans & What Every American Should Know

The Aspen Institute Citizenship and American Identity Program seeks recommendations for new Americans in the San Francisco area to join a one-day focus group on the topic of American civic and cultural identity. The event will take place on May 11, 2017 in San Francisco.

The Participants
The ideal participant is an immigrant who is interested in the topics of American identity, civics, and culture. The participant does not need to have professional experience in these areas.

The Initiative
At the Aspen Institute Citizenship and American Identity Program, we focus on the challenge of sustaining strong citizenship in America and coherent national identity in an age of demographic flux and severe inequality.

We created the initiative “What Every American Should Know” to explore how, in an age of increasing diversity and widening inequality, this country can cultivate a sense of shared destiny and common civic purpose. The initiative grew out of an essay by our director, Eric Liu. Today, amidst giant demographic and social shifts, the United States needs such common knowledge more than ever. But a 21st century sense of cultural literacy has to be radically diverse and inclusive. And it needs to come not from one person but from all of us. So, we are asking individuals around the country: What do you think every American should know?

Now, we are launching a new branch of the What Every American Should Know initiative to ensure that the views of new Americans are a central part of this shared cultural vocabulary. Conversations about cultural literacy and the content of American identity typically leave out and ignore the voices and experiences of new Americans. We intend to address that.

The Event
As a first step, we are convening community-based deep dives with new Americans in communities around the country. The first deep dive will take place in San Francisco on May 11, 2017 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

During this event, we will examine two questions with participants: What should every immigrant know to be informed and engaged members of society? What should every American know about immigrant communities in order to be informed and engaged citizens?

Later, we will work with participants and partners to publish unique content that emerges from these sessions. We will also outline our learning through public events on this topic in communities across the country. In this work, we will address not only historical knowledge, but also practical knowledge required to navigate American life.

Do you know someone who would be well-suited for this opportunity? Please email Carrie Hopper at with recommendations.