In 2019, amid what many view as an ongoing upheaval affecting our democratic institutions, our modes of communication, and our collective sense of truth and falsehood, The American Assembly redoubled and refocused its effort to investigate, understand and reinforce the levers of democracy and trust in our society.

The American Assembly’s Democracy and Trust Program explores the forms of trust on which modern democratic societies depend and the concomitant crises of trust in our current moment. The program has a broad remit, encompassing the changing conditions of trust (and mistrust) in our people, our institutions, and in science and expertise.  It supports research and programs that seek to better understand how trust emerges and is sustained, as well as how it can be fortified where it is weak. The program also leverages The American Assembly’s long history of convening expertise to address the nation’s increasingly complicated social and political problems. We recognize today that it is through both interpersonal and online platforms that trust in institutions and community is forged and mistrust is fomented. Our Democracy and Trust initiatives reflect this fact and will further explore the potential for productive discourse in this new era. 

Future work will retain this breadth and openness to new ideas while focusing on innovative ways to impact public conversations. Explore our grant and internally funded projects below, which will continue to expand in the years to come.