Meet Our Team
Co-Founder and Director
Trygve Throntveit is a co-founder of the Institute for Public Life and Work. He also serves as Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Minnesota Humanities Center and Global Fellow for History and Public Policy at the Wilson Center. He received his bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees from Harvard University, where he also served as Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies before joining Dartmouth College's inaugural cohort of John Sloan Dickey Fellows in US Foreign Policy and International Security. A scholar of US intellectual history, politics, foreign policy, and civic life, Throntveit seeks whenever possible to dissolve the boundaries separating academic and public life, and to make institutions more porous to the knowledge and wisdom of citizens.
Co-Founder and Director of Education and Training
Marie-Louise Ström is a co-founder of the Institute for Public Life and Work. Originally from South Africa, for 20 years she managed democracy education work at the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (Idasa), the major independent democracy building organization in Africa. In 2001, as an international fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, Ström became acquainted with the Public Work approach of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship. She adopted this approach in citizen leadership training programs across the continent of Africa, working with professionals from diverse backgrounds as well as grassroots leaders. After her time at Idasa she worked as an independent democracy education specialist in the USA and Africa.
Senior Scholar of Public Work Philosophy
Harry C. Boyte is a co-founder of the Institute for Public Life and Work and Senior Scholar of Public Work Philosophy at the Institute and also at Augsburg University in Minneapolis, MN. He founded and for 20 years directed and co-directed the Center for Democracy and Citizenship (CDC) at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. As a young man he worked in the citizenship schools sponsored by SCLC, Martin Luther King’s organization. Drawing on these experiences he established the youth civic education initiative called Public Achievement in 1990, working with Jim Scheibel, then mayor of St. Paul, Dennis Donovan, principal of St. Bernard Elementary School and Dorothy Cotton, former director of SCLC's citizenship school program. Public Achievement has spread to dozens of communities and many countries. Boyte is the author of eleven books and hundreds of articles on public work, democracy, citizenship and a nonviolent citizen politics he learned in the civil rights movement. He is a co-founder of the Civic Studies field.