The Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution provides world-class educational programming, both on-site and online. Participants come from all over the world to engage in civic dialogue, improve their understanding of the founding principles of the United States, and deepen their potential involvement in democracy.
01. Our Seminars
The Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution offers immersive, residential seminars for professionals throughout the calendar year. Seminar participants engage in interactive lectures and discussions with leading constitutional experts, as well draw inspiration from peers and explore the Montpelier house and grounds. Through essential questions and thought-provoking readings, participants discuss the theoretical foundations of the Constitution in the context of modern-day constitutional challenges.
The revolutionary political philosophy that gave birth to the Constitution is just as relevant today as it was in the 18th Century. Our stories illuminate specific issues and their relation to the Constitution, the fascinating history of Constitutional application, commonly misunderstood Constitutional topics, and more.
Classroom teachers accept a primary responsibility of molding and inspiring the next generation. Through their content knowledge, experiences, and passion for teaching, they guide the development of the informed, effective, and responsible citizens our democracy requires. Montpelier’s professional development programs for educators, led by nationally acclaimed faculty, tackle modern-day constitutional issues and ensure that teachers from any discipline are prepared to engage their students in deliberative dialogue, community building, and public problem-solving.
Law enforcement officers are the most visible, most public constitutional actors in the world. To police within the limits of the Constitution means that officers are not only acting within the limit of the law, but they are also embracing and embodying their role as guardians of the people’s liberty. Montpelier’s constitutional trainings for law enforcement draw on the perspectives of practitioners, lawyers, and scholars to strengthen participants’ foundational understanding of the Constitution as it relates to police work, as well as translate philosophy into practice and policy.
America’s future political leaders face a challenging road ahead, fraught with polarization and partisanship leading to a sharp decline in public confidence in the federal government. But the life and work of James Madison can serve as a source of motivation for those young leaders working on and around Capitol Hill today. Montpelier’s programs for those in government, politics, media, and public affairs facilitate an enhanced understanding of the formation and purpose of government, while also providing the space and opportunity to network and build bridges across party lines.
International civil servants are seeking solutions to complex constitutional challenges in an increasingly intricate geopolitical reality. From constitution-makers looking to draft new rights-based constitutions, to navigating tensions between opposing factions, to identifying opportunities for development, business, and government partnerships, these professionals are actively engaged in developing a more inclusive civil society in their home countries. Montpelier’s work with international professionals has helped to strengthen the capacity of civil servants from more than 100 countries, supporting modern expressions of rights, balance, jurisprudence, and the rule of law.