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The American Project

Matt Cutler looking at American Project folder

"The American Project" is a multi-year program to propel innovative ideas for reimagining the future of America's conservative movement. The American Project has been led by School of Public Policy Dean Pete Peterson. "As a program founded by the likes of James Q. Wilson, Jack Kemp, and many other leaders and scholars, Pepperdine School of Public Policy is honored to be chosen to be the home for this critical initiative," Dean Peterson stated. "This is a critical time in our nation's history to be considering the impact America's community-focused movement can and should have on our politics and policy."

In Spring 2017, SPP gathered America's leading activists and thought-leaders at Pepperdine's Malibu campus to assess where the American conservative movement stands today and imagine its healthy future. Following this gathering, participants produced essays and media pieces offering innovative insights on community-focused politics and policy in an age of rising populism and socialism. These meetings also produced a collaborative principles document entitled "A Way Forward", which defines a concept known as a "conservative of connection." The "A Way Forward" document was launched at a panel event at Pepperdine's Washington, DC Campus in October, 2017.

In the summer of 2018, SPP hosted, "Toward a Conservatism of Connection: Reclaiming the American Project" a three-day conference that first examined this crisis in conversation with researchers, followed by a look at public policy, religious liberty, and foreign policy. Panelists included leading academics, pundits, and activists.

In the summer of 2019, the school hosted the Social Capital Summit in Washington, DC, where panels explored America's "loneliness" problem and the challenge to social capital, answered the question of whether government can build back social capital, highlighted today's social capital builders and their needs, and explored next steps.

With the onset of COVID in 2020, the Project moved its programming to a series of "Quest for Community" webinars, reconvening with an in-person conference in November 2022.