Democracy & US History

Washington DC

Duration 6 days
Suggested group size 12 - 100 students / 2-10 Envoys Field Staff
Suggested ages 12 - 18
Experience Democracy & Civic Dialogue


Democracy & US History


Washington, DC, is the national epicenter of democracy — both its founding institutions as well as its societal resources for education and civic engagement. This program first explores the National Mall and its revered monuments and later moves away from the Mall and its tourists focusing on our democracy’s missteps and successes. Students meet local leaders, residents, and immerse within organizations and communities seeking to uphold our foundational promises of equality and justice.

“In the shadow of the Capitol's dome, history's echoes resonate through marble halls.“


“Washington DC invites all to witness the ongoing story of democracy.“


Impact Statement Everywhere we go, we carry a promise – to engage with respect, act with purpose, and leave a positive imprint. As envoys of our journey is more than travel; Our footprint is light, but our impact is profound, creating bridges of cooperation and mutual growth across the globe.

Day 1

Students fly to Washington, DC, meeting Envoys leaders upon arrival. After a quick hotel check-in, they enjoy a welcome dinner near the hotel. Following a health and safety briefing and a quick game, the day concludes for a good night's sleep, preparing for exploration the next morning.

Day 2

We explore the National Mall, visiting historical landmarks like the Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson Memorials, as well as the Iwo Jima and Vietnam War memorials. Each team receives a “Monumental Missions” book with challenges focused on teamwork and interaction with locals.

Day 3

We explore the United States Supreme Court, discussing its importance as an independent branch of government. We later visit the US Capitol for a guided tour, concluding with a reflection at the site of the January 6th insurrection. Our journey continues to the White House and Lafayette Square.

Day 4

We delve into historical and contemporary institutional failures for societal well-being. We visit Frederick Douglass's house, explore his legacy in abolition and civil rights and the Museum of African American History & Culture. The day ends with bowling at Pinstripes in Georgetown.

Day 5

Today focuses on civic dialogue, addressing modern polarization. Through a protocol developed by Essential Partners, students lead and participate in dialogues on tough issues in today’s world. After games on the mall, we reflect on our growth midway through the program.

Day 6

In the morning, we reflect on the week's impact. Next, a final student-choice activity, such as exploring Smithsonian museums. Later all groups meet at the Holocaust Museum. After lunch, students gather for a final check-in before heading to the airport and boarding their flight home.

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Lenses of Inquiry


History: Meaning and Mythology

Through a blend of structured and unstructured activities and discussions, we reflect on how the various narratives around the nation’s formation serve to alternately reinforce or disrupt our personal understanding of what it means to ‘be an American’.



We examine American democracy, focusing on the tension between individual freedoms and society. We delve into the concept of responsibility for one’s country, including service to one’s country, informed participation in the voting process, and organized demonstration against abuses of power.



A core component of civic engagement is dialogue—the exploration of ideas, perspectives, and their impacts for society and for the planet. Due to our current polarization, civic discourse is declining. On this program, students practice structured, respectful, engaged dialogue.


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