Alum_Group_GraphicCoro believes that individuals learn best about public affairs, civic leadership and their own potential through direct experience and participation in civic life.

Physicians must become familiar not only with each of the body’s systems (cardiovascular, nervous, digestive, etc,) but also with how the health of each affects the functioning of the others, and thus the over-all health of the individual. So do Coro participants become familiar with the nature and needs of our economic, social and political institutions – and the role and importance of each to the over-all health of our communities. To accomplish this, Coro programs are designed around five key learning principles:

Experiential learning

People learn best by doing. While academic learning focuses on understanding the observations and expressions of others, experiential learning asks that participants develop their own insights based on first-hand experience. Coro programs are experiential, and Coro trainers use field and seminar activities grounded in real communities to bring to life the public affairs arena.


Successful civic participation starts with a clear understanding of one’s own values, beliefs, assumptions and abilities. Self-knowledge is part of the process of developing an ethical “compass” to guide one’s activities, and opens the path to more effective engagement with others. Coro programs create on-going opportunities for participants to achieve greater self-understanding and a lifetime of sustained personal growth. Through Coro’s methodology that focuses on inquiry, analysis and communication, participants also develop a wide range of personal leadership skills that allow them to be effective contributors to the public affairs arena.

Group Interaction

From shaping legislation in Washington to organizing neighbors for a block association, accomplishments in the public realm depend on the ability to work with others.  In Coro programs,  participants use their group of training colleagues as a community in which they build their capacity to work with people holding different perspectives, and to manage group dynamics. Work in the group setting also enables participants to broaden their world-view by learning from each others’ past  and current experiences and perspectives, as well as their future hopes and plans.

Wide exposure to social institutions

Public decision-making is the result of interplay among a wide range of constituencies and interests. Coro programs expose participants to multiple sectors of society so that participants become aware of the roles, perspectives and influences of individual citizens, elected officials, and institutions in the business, labor, nonprofit, and public sectors.

Learning in communities

Coro programs occur in the context of a specific community, be it a city, geographic region or a neighborhood. The community’s tensions, power relationships and current challenges are used as examples to examine the larger field of public affairs. This approach enables participants to see, through observation and participation, how different parts of a community interact to bring about – or frustrate – change