What Does It Mean to Be American?

The United States is a culturally diverse nation with residents who can trace their heritage to lands across the globe, and our diversity is projected to continue to increase over the next several decades. Given the differences of race, ethnicity, place, religion, wealth, language, education, and ideology that exist in the US, what are the things that unite us a nation? How do we understand what it means to be American and what we hold valuable? Join this conversation led by facilitator Ellen Knutson to share your ideas about what it means to be American and hear others’ ideas, to identify differences and points of connection that may lead us toward the ideal stated in our nation’s motto: E pluribus unum, out of many, one.

Leader

Ellen M. Knutson | Portland

Ellen M. Knutson is a Portland, Oregon based research associate at the Charles F. Kettering Foundation where she is a key member of the research team comprising Russian and US colleagues developing libraries as centers for public dialogue and deliberation. She is an adjunct assistant professor at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois where she teaches a course on community engagement to students in the online Master’s program. Knutson also serves on the advisory committee for the American Library Association’s Center for Civic Life. Ellen received her MS and PhD in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a BA in Political Science from Reed College. 

Program Themes

America , Belonging , Culture , Divides , Identity

Equipment Needs

chalk/whiteboard , flip chart paper