Adam Westbrook

Director of the Center for Civic Engagement

Suffolk University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Adam is currently director of Community Engagement at Suffolk University, where he works with a strong team to develop and run civic and community engagement programs that impact young adults, community-based organizations, and the greater communities they work together in. His current work is heavily influenced by Civic Studies approaches he learned while he was a Fellow in the Civic Studies Summer Institute at Tufts University in 2016. He is driven by the assumption that it is citizens—rather than public officials—who are central to building, maintaining, and co-creating an inclusive democracy. He is also convinced that intentional civic experiences can cultivate the knowledge, skills, and values needed for young people to be active democratic citizens.

Adam’s early experiences in out-of-the-classroom civic and community engagement programs as a young adult himself have greatly shaped him. After college, he spent two years serving in Americorps, a federally-funded national service program, where he lived and worked in communities across the U.S. on projects that supported affordable housing, the environment, education, public safety, and disaster relief. In these experiences, he worked with diverse communities which included people who did not share his worldview, and yet learned how to work together on common projects that had shared democratic value—a key competency for democratic life.

Adam holds an undergraduate degree in Sociology (Ithaca College 2004), and two graduate degrees in Religious Studies (University of Denver 2009, Boston University 2019), where he worked and studied how well—or not well—societies with diverse religious groups have been able to create a shared common good. He has spent time studying intergroup conflicts throughout the world, has facilitated and led interreligious dialogue in the U.S. and Israel/Palestine, and has also worked with an NGO in Northern Ireland that attempts to reconcile Catholic and Protestant communities through joint community development projects.

Adam is very excited to learn with the other fellows in the TECE program this year, and consider how we can address challenges in our communities and larger democracies during such a critical historical moment.