The Center for the Study of Democracy (“CSD” or “the Center”) was founded in 2002 as a joint initiative of St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) and its partner institution, Historic St. Mary’s City (HSMC), the site of Maryland’s first capital. CSD was created to promote public service and civic-mindedness, support research, and provide a forum for politicians, government officials, journalists, and scholars to address topics central to the CSD mission.
The Center explores contemporary and historical issues associated with the ideas of democracy, liberty and justice in national and international contexts. It supports research that enhances our understanding of liberal democracy and its critics. CSD facilitates activities that strengthen democracy and the rule of law; enhance security and individual freedoms; invigorate the civil society; encourage free enterprise; and increase economic, environmental, educational and cultural equity.
Since its founding, CSD has contributed to SMCM’s students and faculty and the Maryland communities by providing an array of programs that have enriched their lives and inspired them to take an active role in local, regional, national and global politics. It has provided research support, published scholarly writings, encouraged public participation and organized over 240 educational events contributing to the body of knowledge available to guide citizens, public officials and future leaders in making informed decisions. CSD has supported the SMCM mission to instill in students a dedication to lifelong learning and service. It has offered for-credit courses and supported the Democracy Studies Program at St. Mary’s College.
CSD is committed to diversity embracing the contributions that differences offer.
Funding and Support
CSD relies on external funding to cover most of its operations, programming and staff expenses. In 2008, CSD received $500,000 in matching funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for raising $1.5 million in pledges for its endowment. CSD seeks to increase the number of unrestricted and restricted endowments, grants, and private and corporate donations. Tax-free donations to the Center can be made at this website.
CSD aspires to become a hub for creative thinking, innovative action and stimulating dialogue on democracy, liberty and justice. It aims at empowering individuals to take an active part in building a world that is equitable, sustainable and secure. To these ends, CSD seeks to:
- Advance historical and contemporary knowledge and understanding of ideas and practices associated with democracy, liberty and justice.
- Support research on issues related to its mission in local, national and international contexts.
- Organize public lectures, symposia, forums, workshops, conferences and discussions on political, economic, environmental, societal, cultural and security issues.
- Facilitate citizen involvement in politics and civil society organizations.
- Sustain partnerships with external organizations, associations, universities and businesses.
- Provide students with experiential learning opportunities and paid and unpaid internships.
- Raise CSD’s domestic and international visibility and reputation as a center of democracy research and a nonpartisan forum for civic education and political dialogue.
“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1938).