The Chapman Center for Citizen Leadership enables young leaders to consider the foundational ideas of leadership in a free society by connecting them with mentors and fellow young leaders through seminars, lectures, and fellowship programs. Our goal is to develop the next generation of public and private sector leaders, in the spirit of collegiality and non-partisan cooperation.

What We Do

The program is designed to foster young leaders in the fields of business, politics, law, education, media, the arts, and religion who want to be involved in a lifetime of service to their communities. The Chapman Center hosts public events throughout the year (as part of its Gorton Lecture Series), and private quarterly events (the Discovery Leadership Roundtable) for a select group of young professionals chosen through an application process.

About Bruce Chapman

The Chapman Center for Citizen Leadership is named in honor Bruce Chapman, who founded Discovery Institute in 1990.

Mr. Chapman has had an extraordinary career in public policy. As a young man at Harvard University, Chapman founded Advance Magazine (a journal of political thought), and authored (or co-authored) two books. He was elected to the Seattle City Council in 1971, where he advocated for historic preservation, including the protection of Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market. As Washington’s Secretary of State from 1975-1979, Mr. Chapman convinced then-Governor Dan Evans to welcome refugees from Vietnam, most of whom faced certain death if forced to return. Under President Ronald Reagan, he served as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau and the Director of the White House Office of Planning and Evaluation, and pushed for family-friendly policies, including those that encouraged adoption. In 1985, President Reagan appointed him U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Organizations in Vienna, Austria. Through Discovery Institute, Mr. Chapman has had a national impact on public policy in a diverse set of fields, including transportation, technology, and science and culture.

The Chapman Center for Citizen Leadership draws lessons from this storied career and seeks to instill them in a new generation of public policy and community leaders.


Steven J. Buri

President, Discovery Institute
Steven J. Buri was appointed President of Discovery Institute in December 2011. He joined the Institute in April 2000 as Executive Director and was named Vice President in 2005. Mr. Buri has served in various capacities in government at the local, state and federal levels. Steve was born and raised in the small farming community of Colfax, Washington and is a 1994 graduate of Washington State University (Double Major-Political Science, Criminal Justice). He has been a Seattle-Area resident for nearly 30 years.

Bruce Chapman

Cofounder and Chairman of the Board of Discovery Institute
Bruce Chapman has had a long career in American politics and public policy at the city, state, national, and international levels. Elected to the Seattle City Council and as Washington State's Secretary of State, he also served in several leadership posts in the Reagan administration, including ambassador. In 1991, he founded the public policy think tank Discovery Institute, where he currently serves as Chairman of the Board and director of the Chapman Center on Citizen Leadership.

Debra J. Saunders

Fellow, Chapman Center for Citizenship Leadership
A fellow with Discovery Institute’s Chapman Center for Citizen Leadership, Debra J. Saunders worked for more than thirty years covering politics on the ground and in Washington, as well as American culture, the news media, the criminal justice system, and dubious trends in public schools and prestigious universities. Her column is nationally syndicated with Creators Syndicate.