The Wachman Center for Civic and International Literacy

The Wachman Center for Civic and International Literacy

Marvin WachmanGreater international awareness is essential if we are to compete in the global economy, promote responsible citizenship, or just become better human beings.”
     —Marvin Wachman


Dr. Marvin Wachman (1917-2007) was a great advocate for educating young people. In a distinguished academic career, he served as president of both Temple University and Lincoln University and led the Foreign Policy Research Institute as president from 1983 to 1989. Throughout his life, he remained a passionate believer that “you never stop learning.”

Established in 1990, the Wachman Center is dedicated to improving international and civic literacy for high school teachers and high school students. 

The W.W. Keen and Madeleine Butcher History Institute

Through a series of weekend-long conferences for high school teachers, the Butcher History Institute “teaches the teachers” by advancing their knowledge of world affairs, aiding them in incorporating this knowledge in the classroom, and by encouraging them to converse with scholars, writers and other leaders. Since 1996, these History Institutes have garnered a national reputation for excellence and have worked with teachers from 600 high schools in 46 states. 

Its work is focused in four core areas:

• Teaching Military History

• Teaching Asia

• Teaching the Middle East and 9/11

• Teaching the History of Innovation

The Center reaches teachers and classrooms across the nation through Footnotes, its bulletin for educators, which are frequently reprinted in American Educator and other education journals and posted at other websites; through webcasts for high school classrooms; through the books it produces with Mason Crest, and through its History Institutes for Teachers. FPRI essays are often posted by ERIC, the Education Resources Information Center, sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education.

Walter McDougall and David Eisenhower co-chair the Center’s History Institutes for Teachers. These history institutes have received generous funding from the Annenberg Foundation, The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, H.F. Lenfest, I. Wistar Morris, III, W.W. Kean Butcher, Bruce Hooper, and the Stuart Family Foundation, and in-kind support from the Cantigny First Division Foundation, a division of the McCormick Foundation.

Each weekend-long program provides some 40 educators from around the country the opportunity to learn directly from the top scholars in their fields on subjects teachers are often under-prepared to teach. Many more teachers access the videotapes, reports, classroom lessons, and other materials posted at our website.

This year we are releasing American Military History: a Resource Guide for Teachers and Students, an E-Book drawing on the lectures from six years of conferences held jointly with the First Division Museum at Cantigny, in Wheaton, Illinois. 

A New Initiative On The Rise Of Liberal Democracy:
Did It Happen In Philadelphia By Accident?

In Fall 2013, FPRI will sponsor a history institute for teachers on “The Creation of a Liberal Society: Did It Happen in Philadelphia by Accident?” The question is designed to provoke a new look at what happened in Philadelphia in the 18th century, and why it took place here rather than elsewhere.  Did Philadelphia enjoy certain conditions other cities did not?  And what then are the lessons for the historic political transitions in our time, such as in the Arab world, and what does it all mean for America’s “export” of democracy?

Currently, we are embarked on a campaign to raise support for a Summer Academy in 2013 for Philadelphia-area high school students, especially under-served students, using the same intellectual framework. We believe this focus will challenge Philadelphia-area high school students to learn about the city where they live—and the miracle that happened here.  This also opens a window through which to peer at the historic events taking place in the world today.

For more information, or to become a school member, please contact us.