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Institute on Arizona Leadership & Politics   arrow

AZ Institute



Program Tuition

June 11th – June 14th

Arizona State University – Downtown Campus

Phoenix, Arizona


For a list of speakers at past events, click here

JSA Institute on Arizona Leadership and Politics – Recap


AZ Inst Timmer

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor

Today’s youth are often accused of being uninformed, uninterested and disengaged. But this is decidedly not the case with the students who participated in the JSA Institute on Arizona Leadership and Politics at Arizona State University – Downtown Campus in Phoenix. Students met with more than 20 key players in state politics over three days including Secretary of State Ken Bennett, Attorney General Tom Horne State, Supreme Court Justice Timmer and State Senate President Andy Biggs. Nearly 40 students from across the state of Arizona got an insider’s perspective on state politics and government during the program which ran from June 1 – 4, 2014.

AZ Inst Timmer

Arizona Supreme Court Justice Ann Scott Timmer

During a special program at the O’Connor House, a non-profit institution where “civil talk leads to civic action,” the students also got a chance to meet former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Other program highlights included meeting in and touring the State Capitol building, learning about state finances in the Trade Room of the Arizona Department of Treasury, and using an interactive “Campaign School” to discuss and debate the key issues of this pivotal election season.

These politically aware students capitalized on the opportunity to ask questions of the officials who affect change. Whether they spoke to Superintendent of Schools John Huppenthal as beneficiaries of the public education system, or with O’Connor House representatives Molly Edwards and Sarah Suggs on the importance of voter turnout, they continued to learn and challenge their own opinions during the entirety of the Institute.

The Arizona Institute is supported by the Robidoux Foundation, and is hosted by The Junior Statesmen Foundation. Together, this partnership has brought students to the state capitol since 2007 and has established 24 JSA chapters on high school campuses throughout the state.

AZ State Senator Don Shooter

State Senator Don Shooter

The Institute participants were excited to challenge their understandings of how state government works, civic engagement and issue advocacy. For many of the students, it was the first time being among peers who shared their motivation and interest in politics, and they certainly enjoyed it. While many teenagers are stereotyped to be preoccupied with the latest celebrity gossip, the JSA students prefer reading the Arizona Capitol Times and Phoenix Sun over watching MTV reality shows. Programs like JSA Institutes afford students the opportunity to make friends with students who share their interests in becoming informed citizens for a more effective democracy.

Although the JSA Institute is just a few days long, it’s clear that the participants make friendships that will endure well into the future. High school students who are as inspired, articulate and engaged as those who attended the JSA Institute are sure to be the driving force of change in the world: they are the future doctors, lawyers, small business owners and policy makers who will indeed make the world a better place.

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