Stavros Niarchos Foundation

​Ithaca Initiative


About the SNF Ithaca Initiative​​

In the fall of 2021, the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration launched a n​ew civil discourse pilot program supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF). The SNF Ithaca Initiative was named after the home of Odysseus—one of Greek mythology's greatest heroes and whose talent for persuasive discourse was revered in ancient Greece. Ithaca represents not only the beginning of a journey but the ultimate destination. Likewise, the SNF Ithaca Initiative serves as both the beginning of the Biden School students' journey toward becoming engaged and effective citizens and as the ultimate destination for students across the country to come together and work in partnership to develop policy solutions. 

For example, SNF Ithaca Student Leaders have presented at the international conference  “A Matter of Trust” conference hosted by iMEdD (incubator for Media Education and Development) in Athens, and authored  their own response to the field of journalism in the report “The Door Opens Both Ways: Building Trust Between News Media and Generation Z.” 

In addition to the student experience, SNF Ithaca is a national hub for scholars through convenings like the SNF Ithaca National Leadershi​p Summit, research and publishing such as “Answering the call: Offering and analyzing civil discou​rse opportunities in undergraduate public affairs education,” and opportunities like the SNF Ithaca Fellows program that brings in academics and practitioners to broaden how we understand and study democratic citizenship.


SNF Ithaca Student Leaders Reflect: incubator for Media Education and Development (iMEdD) International Journalism Week

Jenna DeMaio and Simon Brand recount their experience at the iMEdD International Journalism Forum in Athens, Greece.

SNF Ithaca 2024-25 Student Leader Application Now Open

Selected from across the university, SNF Ithaca Student Leaders spend a full year immersing themselves in the theory and practice of civil discourse and civic engagement. Application closes Sunday, March 31.
Source: SNF Ithaca Initiative

'Two Dads Defending Democracy'

Former Congressman Joe Walsh and activist Fred Guttenberg to launch speaking tour at UD with the SNF Ithaca Initiative on Feb. 21
Source: UDaily

Exploring Concepts of Civil Discourse During Polarized Times

UD Biden School's Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Ithaca Director and SNF Chair of Civil Discourse Timothy J. Shaffer discusses the importance of civil discourse on Hawaii Public Radio's "The Conversation"
Source: Hawaii Public Radio
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For more information about the SNF Ithaca Initiative at the University of Delaware, please contact​.

​About the UD Biden School

Established in 1961 and named in 2018 for the University of Delaware's most distinguished alumnus, the 46th President of the United States, the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration prepares students with the knowledge and skills necessary to engage in research and public service activities to improve the quality of life in communities around the world. The Biden School's faculty, staff, students, and alumni create and use interdisciplinary, nonpartisan research, and empirically-based analysis to inform effective decision-making and policy and to improve leadership and administration. The Biden School partners with organizations from all sectors to discover innovative and equitable solutions to the critical challenges of our time.

​About the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF)

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) is one of the world's leading private, international philanthropic organizations, making grants to nonprofit organizations in the areas of arts and culture, education, health and sports, and social welfare. SNF funds organizations and projects worldwide that aim to achieve a broad, lasting, and positive impact for society at large, and exhibit strong leadership and sound management. SNF also supports projects that facilitate the formation of public-private partnerships as an effective means for serving public welfare. Since 1996, the Foundation has committed more than $3.1 billion through over 4,900 grants to nonprofit organizations in more than 130 countries around the world.