The Higher Education and Democratic Practice (HEDP) initiative functions under the leadership of Scott Warren, Democracy Fellow in Residence at the Howard R. Swearer Center at Brown University. The HEPD initiative is a multi-faceted project that aims to examine the current moment in American democracy and study the role of education, and institutions of higher education in particular, in defending and promoting democratic values and practice. The initiative consists of:

  • A conference that brings together civic practitioners, scholars, funders, and students to discuss the role of institutions of higher education in defending democracy. 
  • Re-Imagining A 21st Century Democracya crowd-sourced journal looking for new ideas about promoting democratic values and norms.
  • A research paper on democratic theory, the current state of democracy in the United States and around the world, and promising innovations that are improving citizen participation and cultivating democratic values.

The Swearer Center is a community of scholars, students, practitioners and community members that work together to build on community strengths and address community challenges. Our work engages all as co-learners, co-teachers, co-actors and co-creators of knowledge and action. Through the creative capacities of our students, faculty and community partners we explore, build and implement collaborative and strategic projects, programs and initiatives. Our work yields transformative learning, and positive sustainable change, through collective action.



Scott warren

Scott is the Chief Executive Officer of Generation Citizen. He co-founded the organization at Brown University with fellow student Anna Ninan during their senior year in 2009, and has worked the last seven years to build up GC’s programming and work to expand action civics throughout the country.


Scott’s passion for the importance of youth political engagement stems from his experience growing up abroad. After his father joined the State Department, Scott lived throughout Latin America and Africa, learning about diverse cultures and peoples. In 2002, Scott served as an observer in the first truly democratic elections in Kenya’s history, where he began to recognize the transformative potential of democracy.

During college he served as the Student Director of STAND, a national student anti-genocide coalition. STAND worked with over 800 high school and college chapters to advocate US action to prevent and end genocide, and create a permanent student anti-genocide constituency. Scott also helped lead successful campaigns to divest Brown University, the City of Providence, and the State of Rhode Island from companies conducting business in Sudan.

Scott was named an Echoing Green Fellow in 2010, and a Draper Richards Kaplan Fellow in 2012. He served as the Spring 2017 Taubman Fellow and Social Entrepreneur In Residence at Brown University, and is currently a Democracy Fellow at the University’s Swearer Center.

He continues to write on subjects ranging youth political engagement to African politic to sports, and has been published in the Christian Science Monitor, New York Daily News, Huffington Post, San Diego Union Tribune, Sports Illustrated, Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Providence Journal.

In his spare time, Scott enjoys running, traveling, and religiously following his hometown teams: the San Diego Padres and Chargers.


Brandon Klugman

Brandon manages the Vote16USA campaign, an initiative of Generation Citizen that supports youth-led advocacy work to lower the voting age to 16 for municipal elections in cities around the country and promotes the policy issue nationally. He believes deeply that communities are strongest when decisions are made not just on behalf of young people but with them at the table, and loves working with youth across the country to advance Vote16USA.

Brandon graduated from American University with a degree in Public Health in 2016, where he worked as a Health Educator with the nonprofit Peer Health Exchange, leading workshops on mental health for ninth graders in Washington, DC. He is a New Sector Alliance Fellow and has experience in federal government relations. Brandon grew up in Minnesota, loves pick-up basketball, and is currently fascinated by rolled (aka stir-fried) ice cream. 


nora howe

Nora is a Senior Program Associate at Generation Citizen New York City, where she manages school and college partnerships and supports local and state policy efforts. Nora came to GC with a background in political organizing and youth advocacy and is passionate about community-centered policy making. As co-President of the Haverford College Democrats, she led voter registration efforts and the on-campus Get Out The Vote operations for the 2012 election.

After graduation, she managed a field office in Marshalltown, Iowa for the 2014 mid-terms, and saw both the need for truly community-centered organizing and longer-term voter education efforts. Inspired to work directly in the education advocacy field, she spent the next year as a Student Advocate at an alternative high school in Brownsville, Brooklyn and coordinated the schools' Politics Club. Nora grew up in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, and graduated from Haverford College with a degree in Sociology. In her spare time, you can find her running, kickboxing, on a roadtrip or reading a book.


Mira ortegon

Mira is a sophomore at Brown University concentrating in Public Policy, but is also deeply interested in Sociology, Political Science, History, and Religious Studies. Previously, Mira has worked for Community Activism Law Alliance, a legal aid nonprofit, as well as MobilizeAmerica, a political tech startup working to action and get progressives elected. This summer, she will be on staff for the Appalachia Service Project, an organization working to eliminate substandard housing in Central Appalachia.  As a part of the HEPD team, Mira wrote for the research paper and built this website! Mira grew up in Evanston, Illinois, and loves the lake, listening to podcasts, and hiking. 


emely anico

Emely is a senior at Brown University concentrating in International Relations with a focus on environmental policy and economics. She also has strong interests in education and civic engagement. Throughout her time at Brown, she has worked closely with Generation Citizen as a Democracy Coach, Outreach Director, and, most recently, research assistant and co-author for the research paper. Emely was born in Rhode Island to Dominican parents and enjoys cooking, warm weather, and hanging out with friends and family.


aneeqah naeem

Aneeqah is a sophomore at Brown University concentrating in Public Policy, with an emphasis in Health Policy. She's passionate about providing health access to marginalized communities both domestically and abroad. As an active member of Brown's community, she volunteers with BRYTE, an organization that pairs college tutors with refugee children in the Providence area. You can also find her writing for the Brown Medicine Magazine, where she produces articles centering student initiatives that work to expand care in the community. Aneeqah is from Dallas, TX and in her spare time, she loves to read, write, spend time with her family, and continue her hunt for the best tacos and queso in the nation. 


eboni mcneal

Eboni is a sophomore at Brown University concentrating in Public Policy and Africana Studies. She is from Atlanta, Georgia and enjoys listening to music, reading, and watching Netflix. Currently, she is a volunteer for Petey Greene, a member of the BCSC Leadership Collective, and a music intern for WBRU. As part of the HEPD team, Eboni contributed to the research paper and is currently working to put together the academic journal.