Seeking Nominations for the 2017 Laurence and Lynne Brown Democracy Medal

Seeking Nominations for the 2017 Laurence and Lynne Brown Democracy Medal

Dec 23rd - All Day

The McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State University is accepting nominations for the 2016 Brown Democracy Medal. The medal and $5,000 are awarded annually to bring attention to the best new work being done by individuals or organizations to advance democracy in the United States and around the globe.

Nominations for the 2017 medal will be accepted through December 23, 2017. Initial applications will consist of a simple letter of nomination (no pages max). Those selected will for a second round of review will be invited to provide more detailed information, and the awardee will be announced in Spring 2018.


This years's Brown Medal competition will recognize an advance in democratic theory, broadly construed. Submissions can include conceptual advances, moral philosophical insights, rhetorical, interpretive or historical theories, empirical or causal models, and/or innovations in the design of democratic processes. The democratic innovation selected will score highest on these features:

Novelty: The idea, theory, or practical reform should be a genuinely new way of thinking about democracy or practicing it.

Systemic change: This should represent significant change in how we think about and practice democracy.

Potential for Diffusion: This should have general applicability across many different scales and cultural contexts.

Democratic Quality: Though nominees themselves may be partisans, the spirit of this innovation must be nonpartisan and advance the most essential qualities of democracy, such as broad social inclusions, deliberation, political equality, and effective self-governance.