Civil discourse institute looks on three years after Giffords shooting


Courtesy of National Institute for Civil Discourse /

The official grand opening of the National Institute for Civil Discourse featured a musical performance. The Institute is approaching its third anniversary of its founding after the 2011 shooting in Tuscon.

A tragedy in Tucson turned into an opportunity to improve national discourse.

The National Institute for Civil Discourse was established to promote the role civil discourse has played in democracy and bring it back to the national dialogue,

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head at a Safeway at Ina Road and Oracle Road on Jan. 8, 2011. Giffords survived the attack; 18 other victims were injured or killed in the shooting. The National Institute for Civil Discourse was founded at the UA in the aftermath of the shooting.

A memorial was held for the victims of the shooting, and both the UA and Tucson communities were dedicated to making something good come out of the tragedy, said Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, executive director of the institute.

Members of National Board of Advisors for the institute include George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton as honorary chairs, Sandra Day O’Connor and Thomas A. Daschle as honorary co-chairs and Giffords, Katie Couric and Madeleine Albright, among others, as board members.

The institute is holding an event Friday evening from 5-7 p.m. at its headquarters in downtown Tucson. The event will feature speeches and dialogues from several important figures. Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, will be among the speakers.

Fred DuVal, former chairman of the Arizona Board of Regents, will speak about the 2011 shooting in Tucson and what the institute has accomplished since then.

The institute has developed many programs over the past three years, especially for elected officials and the public, to encourage civil discourse, Lukensmeyer said.

A media release regarding the invitation-only event stated it will discuss the progress the institute has made “in its three years in chipping away at the incivility that is too rampant in our culture.”

—Follow news reporter Lauren Niday on Twitter @lauren_niday

Share this article