International Activists in Town to Learn about Democracy



Civic leaders from across the globe gathered at an Albemarle County farm Tuesday to ponder one of Central Virginia’s most consequential exports: Jeffersonian democracy.

Dozens of activists being hosted by the U.S. State Department are spending a few days this week with the Presidential Precinct, a partnership between a handful of Virginia institutions steeped in the political heritage of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe.

“To be here, I am walking among presidents. Perhaps I will be a president some day,” said Temidayo Israel-Abdulai, a youth activist representing Nigeria. “I am getting inspired. I’m walking on the shoulders of giants.”

Israel-Abdulai and colleagues from more than 25 countries mingled at the University of Virginia’s Morven Farm, a tract once owned by Jefferson, for the opening of the two-day pilot program.

The Presidential Precinct is a collaboration between UVa, the College of William & Mary, Jefferson’s Monticello, Madison’s Montpelier and Monroe’s Ash Lawn-Highland.

The partnership is intended to offer a forum for dialogue on the Founding Fathers’ ideas and how they can translate to new and emerging democracies.


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