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After a year-long nationwide search, The National Institute for Civil Discourse at the University of Arizona has selected Carolyn Lukensmeyer as its first executive director.

For decades, Lukensmeyer has focused on closing the gap between the general public and elected officials, she said.

“So the national institute has an opportunity to bring the best of scholarship about civility with the best of social activism to see if we can turn this trajectory a different direction,” Lukensmeyer said. “And be able to have the conversations across our differences that make democracy healthy.”

Lukensmeyer previously served as founder and president of ArmericaSpeaks, a nonprofit organization based in Washington D.C. that promotes nonpartisan initiatives to engage citizens. She was a consultant to the White House Chief of Staff from 1994 to 1994, before that she was the chief of staff to Ohio Governor Richard F. Celeste

Lukensmeyer will be working out of Washington D.C. and travel to the UA frequently, she said.

The National Institute for Civil Discourse at the UA is a nonpartisan center for the research and advocacy of civility in public discourse.