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Icon_Liberty_Under_LawSupported by a £20,000 grant from the Magna Carta Trust 800 Committee, the Division for Public Education launched a multimedia website in March 2015 to commemorate Magna Carta. The site, www.iconofliberty.com , features nearly 100 sortable images related to Magna Carta, including audio and video components; an interactive timeline chronicling 800 years of Magna Carta history; a video interview with Nicholas Vincent (below), professor of medieval English history at the University of East Anglia, and one of the world’s foremost experts on Magna Carta; and a listing of resources. Icon of Liberty catalogues historical and contemporary references that help trace the history of the Great Charter through a variety of sources, including documents, murals, architecture, monuments, sites, and even pop culture. Since its launch in March 2015, there have been more than 8,000 visitors and 21,000 page views.

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(Professor Nicholas Vincent)

In addition, the Division for Public Education coordinated the ABA’s 2015 Law Day program (www.lawday.org). The 2015 theme was “Magna Carta: Symbol of Freedom Under Law.” Among the Division’s Magna Carta-related resources were a 40-page Law Day planning guide, Dialogue on Magna Carta a discussion guide for lawyers and other community leaders; and a line of promotional products. The Division for Public Education also produced a special 8-page instructional supplement on Magna Carta in the March-April issue of Social Education magazine, which reached more than 20,000 social studies educators nationwide. In addition, the Division developed a Magna Carta Toolkit (pictured below), a comprehensive packet of educational resource materials for teachers, community leaders, and others interested in engaging the public on Magna Carta. Approximately 1,000 were distributed to teachers, lawyers, and community leaders.

The ABA Magna Carta Toolkit

Published in November 2014 was the Fall 2014 issue of Insights on Law & Society, a magazine for high school teachers of history, law, civics, and government, which focused on “Magna Carta at 800.” The expanded issue featured a special introduction from ABA President William Hubbard and highlighted commemorative events and programs from around the world. Articles explored the history of and teaching about Magna Carta. Historian Ralph Turner discussed Magna Carta’s influence on the American constitution. Noel Kinsella, Speaker of the Canadian Senate, connected Magna Carta to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. British legal historian Anthony Musson explored visual representations of Magna Carta. A special “Perspectives” feature asked experts to comment on why Magna Carta is significant, and responses, including one from United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, led to a multifaceted look at the document. Insights is online at www.insightsmagazine.org.

As part of the national commemoration of Law Day 2015, the Division for Public Education conducted several educational programs in Washington, DC with ABA President William Hubbard (pictured centre, below) and other ABA leaders. They included an interactive Dialogue on Magna Carta with nearly 200 high school students and a breakfast seminar for 40 teachers from all over the country participating in the Close Up program. American University law professor Steve Wermiel discussed references to Magna Carta in Supreme Court jurisprudence at the teachers’ seminar. The 15th annual Leon Jaworski Public Program, which focused on “What Makes Magna Carta Mythic?”, was held at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer spoke about Magna Carta and its significance in American history and law. John Milewski, Director of Digital Programming at the Wilson Center, skilfully moderated a lively panel discussion among five distinguished scholars. Video of the program can be watched online here.

President of the ABA, William Hubbard, centre.

President of the ABA, William Hubbard, centre.

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796 years ago tomorrow a reluctant, but resigned, and most definitely scheming King John was brought to Runnymede to put his seal to the Great Charter of Liberty – Magna Carta. John might have acceded to the Barons’ demands...

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