The University of Michigan, as one of three sites selected to host a presidential debate in the 2020 electoral season, seeks to inspire engagement in the democratic process. As an educational institution, we will coordinate plans and preparations for a well-executed debate and offer programming throughout the year that will call upon the expertise of our faculty, the involvement of our students, the commitment of our staff, and the vibrancy of the entire U-M community.

The 2020 debate provides a unique opportunity for teaching and learning across multiple platforms, engaging all voices and modeling inclusive dialogue. Our programming will connect our campuses, our neighbors, and fellow Michigan citizens with people across the nation and across the globe. We will promote the intellectual frameworks and the practical skills necessary for active engagement in the democratic process and for just governance here and abroad.

As host of the National Democratic Institute symposium with foreign experts on democratic governance, we will also further mutual learning about global issues in democracy. Debates allow for the direct exchange of often divergent ideas and perspectives, helping voters make decisions that shape the direction of our nation. Debating issues of the day and engaging in the democratic process are core responsibilities of our academic institution and a national — and international — imperative of our times.

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