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Our mission is to change the way students think about politics and interact with each other.
IDEAL CAMPUS, the foundation of the organization, is based on student civic engagement. Unique in its ability to provide students a place to grapple with difficult issues, IDEAL CAMPUS aims to establish the paradigm for a new generation of civic discourse and civic engagement, and we believe the answers lie in our incredible students.
IDEAL MEDIA, or Cherry Tree, applies this philosophy to its critical, thought provoking publications, podcasts, and live-interviews, in an effort to change the nature of the modern media. Cherry Tree is excited to bring a creative and innovative approach to journalism and news media.
IDEAL does not see a search for truth as an impediment to political success, but rather a mutually beneficial, communal excavation project. We are saddened by the modern political climate, but in our quest for the realization of a more just democracy, we are eager to help create a new IDEAL.
IDEAL is the parent company under which the two subsidiaries, CAMPUS (the high school and college chapters) and MEDIA (Cherry Tree) operate.
IDEAL MEDIA, or Cherry Tree, is the newest development in IDEAL. This forthcoming media project seeks to bring the goals and foundational principles of IDEAL to journalism and podcasts.
The high school and college chapters are the original foundation of IDEAL, and the core inspiration for the successive evolution of the organization.
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Founded in January 2011 by Liam Haviv, the organization was inspired by his time as a page in the United States Senate. The 112th Congress, hovering just above single digit approval ratings, was notorious for its inability compromise and pass legislation. The promise many of the pages made to each other upon their departure was to ensure that by the time they all returned to DC, there was a new normal--a dedicated Congress informed by its members’ differences, focused on the idea that country comes first. The pages' goal was to work with students to elevate the level of civic discourse, integrity, and sensitivity, and re-create the political realm in which individuals can disagree absent ill-will and animosity. Defined by the belief everyone operates with the intentions, this vision became IDEAL.
Since IDEAL's founding, partisanship, anger, and animosity have become defining features of the modern political discourse, the media, and government. Instead of advancing a singular political ideology with defined political positions, IDEAL promotes a philosophy of elevated civility, and we invest our energy in helping students define their own political world with an acute sensitivity to others. Apathy does not seem to be the American problem; rather it seems to be a lack of understanding for those of different opinion. This is compounded by the increasing volatility of modern social media, a medium that seem to hinder our ability to slow down and engage critically in political issues. We believe change begins with the youngest generations, and our investment in students is the core tenet of the IDEAL model. IDEAL wants to change the way students think about politics and interact with each other--that, seems to us, the first step in changing the world.
In five years, IDEAL has grown rapidly and steadily evolved. With chapters in high schools and colleges across the country, a community of thousands of students on both coasts and the states in between, IDEAL CAMPUS continues to expand alongside the blossoming media presence of Cherry Tree. IDEAL is here to stay. Now, our responsibility is to learn, adapt, and improve each and every day.
Over the past months (and even days), students across the country have expressed sadness, frustration, and disbelief at the political climate in which they live. Strikingly, the persisting relevance of this sentence cannot be understated. IDEAL does not purport to hold any answers to today’s political problems; instead, we inspires students, and provide them the tools, to critically analyze and rethink the broad spectrum of practical and philosophical questions they face. IDEAL CAMPUS gives students a place to engage and discuss political and philosophical questions with peers, faculty, and administrators, and gives students the tools to bring positive change into their communities; CherryTree creates brilliant, critical, and honest journalism and podcasts. Our holistic approach is the core of the IDEAL model, but it is the dedicated members nationwide, and their steadfast commitment to creating a more just democracy, that serves as the fuel powering our search for a new IDEAL.
“The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something...We need enthusiasm, imagination and the ability to face facts, even unpleasant ones, bravely....We need the courage of the young. Yours is not the task of making your way in the world, but the task of remaking the world which you will find before you. May every one of us be granted the courage, the faith and the vision to give the best that is in us to that remaking!”
— Franklin D. Roosevelt
President and Founder
Professor of Bioethics and Moral & Political Theory at Johns Hopkins University
Dean of Georgetown College at Georgetown University; Professor of History
PhD, Johns Hopkins University;
Professor of International Relations at Johns Hopkins University
Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University
Professor at Baltimore Hebrew University, Johns Hopkins University
Director of Educator Programs, Thomas R. Brown Foundation
Professor of Philosophy at Johns Hopkins University
Professor and Chair of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University
Community Outreach Coordinator
P.O. Box 488o
Baltimore, MD 21211
United States of America
Interested in starting your own IDEAL chapter? Have questions about donating to IDEAL? Have comments about the content on the site? Feel free to send a message and we will get back to your as soon as possible!