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The Center for Politics, a nonpartisan unit of the University of Virginia, promotes the value of politics and the importance of civic engagement. Government works better when politics works better, and politics works better when citizens are informed and involved participants. Therefore, we strive to:

  • Encourage citizens to actively participate in the political process and government
  • Evaluate and promote the best practices in civic education for students of all ages
  • Educate citizens through the Center's comprehensive research, programs, and publications


The Center for Politics was founded in 1998 by Larry J. Sabato at the University of Virginia to overcome the notion that politics thwarts the proper function of government. We think politics makes public policy more vibrant and makes bureaucracies more responsive. Since our inception we have established annual conferences, publications, programs, and curricula to advance democracy around the world and to equip people to better understand politics and government. Our mission perpetuates the legacy of Thomas Jefferson who wrote:

"I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves, and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion."

We are sustained annually through the financial support of individual donors, foundations, corporations, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the federal government.

The Center's thought - provoking and timely political analysis and our pragmatic civic education programs have formed the core of our activities throughout the past decade.

Decade of Political Change

View the Center for Politics "Decade of Political Change" video.