Events / Highlights



April 17, 2019
Never Trump or Forever Trump?
University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)

High-profile debate at USC with Mike Murphy (GOP consultant), Anthony Scaramucci (former White House Director of Communications), and Mike Gatto (four-term CA State Assemblyman, D-Los Angeles).






April 9, 2019
National Week of Conversation

ProCon.org hosted a Twitter chat titled "Get Inspired to Cross Political Divides" in honor of the National Week of Conversation, which ran Apr. 5-13. Using inspiring quotes and interesting facts, ProCon.org highlighted the importance of using the #ListenFirst principle to bridge divides.






Feb. 1, 2019
The Great Debaters Screening and Debate Showcase
Ronald Reagan Library and Presidential Museum (Simi Valley, CA)

ProCon.org in partnership with The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute will screen the award-winning film "The Great Debaters” to area high school groups at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum on Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, at 9 a.m. The event will conclude with a panel discussion featuring cast members and the writer of the film.






Nov. 5-9, 2018
Media Literacy Week

ProCon.org is partnering with the National Association of Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) to raise awareness about the importance of media literacy education. To celebrate the 4th annual #MediaLitWk, ProCon.org will offer teachers instructions on how to conduct a critical thinking seminar as well as a lesson plan for using our headline articles to teach media literacy in the classroom.




Oct. 26, 2018
The Great Rent Control Debate
California Club (Los Angeles, CA)

The pros and cons of Proposition 10, the rent control proposition, was debated in downtown LA at the historic California Club. Presented by The Rotary Club of Los Angeles, ProCon.org, and the Los Angeles Business Journal. Moderated by Jerry Sullivan, Editor of the Los Angeles Business Journal, with Pro debater Damien Goodmon, Campaign Manager for Yes on 10, and Con debater Mike Gatto, former 4-term California Assemblymember.






Oct. 23, 2018
The Dangers of Echo Chambers and the Importance of Opposing Views: Student-Led Q&A with Congressmen David Jolly (R-FL) and Patrick Murphy (D-FL)
Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA)

ProCon.org and Village Square present a Respect & Rebellion speaker event hosted by Pepperdine University Libraries and featuring Congressmen David Jolly (R-FL) and Patrick Murphy (D-FL) in a discussion moderated by Pepperdine student leaders.






Oct. 21, 2018
Echo Chambers and Their Political Consequences: Can We Make Thanksgiving Dinner Great Again?
Politicon Convention (Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles, CA)

ProCon.org returns to Politicon for the 4th year in a row, to host a panel on echo chambers, how they form, and how to escape them. CEO Kamy Akhavan moderates. Panelists include former Congressional Representatives and besties Patrick Murphy (R-FL) and David Jolly (D-FL); Celeste Headlee, author of best-seller We Need to Talk whose popular TED video "How to Have Better Conversations" has been watched more than 12 million times; and Sara Gorman, PhD, MPH, public health expert and author of Denying to the Grave: Why We Ignore the Facts that Will Save Us from Oxford University Press.




Oct. 20, 2018
LA: H20 from Mountains to Sea - A Conversation About Water Issues, Technological Actions, and Civic Resources
Cabrillo Marine Aquarium (San Pedro, CA)

ProCon.org will be partnering with Civicas Women’s Civic Action Network on a Civic Water Forum to discuss global water topics, especially those related to November 2018 ballot issues. Other partners include River LA, Braid Theory, flowproject.la, UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, AltaSea, and the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium. ProCon.org Senior Researcher Jeffrey Hendricks will be there to discuss ProCon.org and its mission.






Oct. 5-13, 2018
National Week of Conversation

ProCon.org is a sponsor of the National Conversation Project which hosts the National Week of Conversation from October 5-13. Host or join conversations happening coast to coast each month. Topics range from bridging divides to immigration to guns and so much more. Many of the discussions are fueled by research from ProCon.org.




Thursday September 20, 2018
"Reaching Millions More – Growing Audiences for Educational Websites"
Peer-learning seminar for organizational members of The Bridge Alliance, a civics education umbrella group.

Join ProCon.org CEO Kamy Akhavan to discuss tips and tactics for growing website traffic to civics education websites. From 500,000 readers in 2004 to more than 25 million users last year, ProCon.org has mastered many of the important techniques for growing online readership. The discussion will be structured along four primary areas: Content, Engagement, Infrastructure, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). There will be time for Q&A, too.




Saturday September 15, 2018
Constitution Day
Ronald Reagan Library and Presidential Museum (Simi Valley, CA)

ProCon.org Associate Editor and Senior Researcher Tracey DeFrancesco will speak about civil discourse, critical thinking, and voter education.






Thursday Sep. 13, 2018
Bursting the Echo Chamber: Resources to Fight Polarization and Empower Critical Thinking
Live webinar

ProCon.org CEO Kamy Akhavan was invited by Credo Reference to discuss how echo chambers are formed and how we can burst them with critical thinking.






Monday August 27, 2018
PRO/CON at the Pier: Immigration - Abolish ICE?
Arthur N. Rupe Debate Series in LA
Santa Monica Pier

Join us for the Arthur N. Rupe Debate Series as we partner with the Santa Monica Pier to bring together prominent experts from both sides of important issues with neutral moderators to facilitate the conversations. The event kicks off with a 5:30 pm DJ set and interactive booths (voter registration, soapbox speeches, voting on the topic, pop-up library, and more), followed by a debate from 6:30 to 7:30pm. Free and open to the public.

Tonight's feature includes:

  • PRO: Chris Newman, JD, Legal Director, National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON)
  • CON: Andrew Arthur, JD, Former Immigration Judge; Former Acting Chief of the INS National Security Law Division
  • Moderator: Dawn Nakagawa, MBA, Executive Vice President, The Berggruen Institute

Immediately after the debate, we're hosting a ticketed VIP reception with cocktails and a casual dinner. Join us, the panelists, sponsors, and other VIPs from 7:30 to 9:00pm.




Monday August 20, 2018
PRO/CON at the Pier: Water - Desalinate Ocean Water for LA?
Arthur N. Rupe Debate Series in LA
Santa Monica Pier

Join us for the Arthur N. Rupe Debate Series as we partner with the Santa Monica Pier to bring together prominent experts from both sides of important issues with neutral moderators to facilitate the conversations. The event kicks off with a 5:30 pm DJ set and interactive booths (voter registration, soapbox speeches, voting on the topic, pop-up library, and more), followed by a debate from 6:30 to 7:30pm. Free and open to the public.

Tonight's feature includes:

  • PRO: Eric M.V. Hoek, PhD, Editor-in-Chief at npj Clean Water journal, Professor at UCLA Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and CEO of Water Planet
  • CON: Tracy Quinn, MEng, Director, California Water Conservation & Efficiency, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
  • Moderator: Toby Muresianu, Comedian, Host of Up Close and Political at the Hollywood Improv

Immediately after the debate, we're hosting a ticketed VIP reception with cocktails and a casual dinner. Join us, the panelists, sponsors, and other VIPs from 7:30 to 9:00pm.




Monday August 13, 2018
PRO/CON at the Pier: Rent Control - More of It? Or Less?
Arthur N. Rupe Debate Series in LA

Santa Monica Pier

Join us for the Arthur N. Rupe Debate Series as we partner with the Santa Monica Pier to bring together prominent experts from both sides of important issues with neutral moderators to facilitate the conversations. The event kicks off with a 5:30 pm DJ set and interactive booths (voter registration, soapbox speeches, voting on the topic, pop-up library, and more), followed by a debate from 6:30 to 7:30pm. Free and open to the public.

Tonight's feature includes:

  • PRO: Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment
  • CON: Steven Greenhut, Senior Fellow and Western Region Director of R Street Institute
  • Moderator: Mike Gatto, JD, Former California State Assemblyman

Immediately after the debate, we're hosting a ticketed VIP reception with cocktails and a casual dinner. Join us, the panelists, sponsors, and other VIPs from 7:30 to 9:00pm.




Tuesday August 7, 2018
Critical Thinking Seminar at UCLA with Junior State of America
University of California at Los Angeles

ProCon.org presents its 10th annual critical thinking seminar to high school students attending the Junior State of America's "2018 Gene Burd Institute on L.A. Media and Politics" at UCLA.






Monday August 6, 2018
PRO/CON at the Pier: Marijuana Legalization in California - Is It Working?
Arthur N. Rupe Debate Series in LA

Santa Monica Pier

Join us for the Arthur N. Rupe Debate Series as we partner with the Santa Monica Pier to bring together prominent experts from both sides of important issues with neutral moderators to facilitate the conversations. The event kicks off with a 5:30 pm DJ set and interactive booths (voter registration, soapbox speeches, voting on the topic, pop-up library, and more), followed by a debate from 6:30 to 7:30pm. Free and open to the public.

Tonight's feature includes:

  • PRO: Josh Drayton, Deputy Director, California Cannabis Industry Association
  • CON: Will Jones, Communications and Outreach Associate, Smart Approches to Marijuana (SAM)
  • Moderator: Megan Gailey, Stand-up comedian, writer and host of Crooked Media's Hysteria

Immediately after the debate, we're hosting a ticketed VIP reception with cocktails and a casual dinner. Join us, the panelists, sponsors, and other VIPs from 7:30 to 9:00pm.




Saturday July 21, 2018
Great Communicator National Debate Series – Finals
Ronald Reagan Library and Presidential Museum (Simi Valley, CA)

ProCon.org CEO Kamy Akhavan served as keynote speaker and head judge for the finals of the Reagan Library’s Great Communicator debate competition.






Thursday-Saturday June 21-23, 2018
Frontiers of Democracy Conference
Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University (Boston, MA)

ProCon.org Associate Editor / Senior Researcher Tracey DeFrancesco is a presenter at the conference in a session about addressing polarization. Her talk is titled "The Role of Critical Thinking in Promoting Civil Discourse."




Friday June 8, 2018
"There’s Always Another Side: How to Listen Respectfully and Debate Using Facts"
Parras Middle School (Redondo Beach, CA)

At the invitation of 6th grade teacher Bridget Gray, Kamy Akhavan presented an interactive lesson to students about how to listen respectfully, the power of diverse viewpoints, the purpose of debate, and how ProCon.org fuels critical thinking on important issues.




Saturday May 12, 2018
2018 California Civic Learning Student Showcase
Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum (Yorba Linda, CA)

ProCon.org Associate Editor / Senior Researcher Tracey DeFrancesco presents on "Why and How to Teach Controversial Issues in Your Classroom with ProCon.org" at the 2018 California Democracy School Student Showcase.






May 4, 2018
ProCon.org was declared a Top-Rated Nonprofit by Great Nonprofits for the 8th year in a row.






Saturday Mar. 24, 2018
California Council for the Social Studies (CCSS) Annual Conference
Town and Country Resort and Convention Center (San Diego, CA)

ProCon.org CEO Kamy Akhavan to present at the CCSS annual conference on "How Political Opinions Are Formed, Changed, and Empowered: Saving Democracy through Critical Thinking.” The CCSS conference takes place from Mar. 23-25. Tickets available at https://ccss.org/Attendee-Registration






Wednesday Mar. 14, 2018
Day of Dialogue – Issues around Preventing Mass School Shootings
Compton Early College High School (Compton, CA)

ProCon.org CEO Kamy Akhavan moderated a student forum about guns, safety, violence, and what students were thinking about gun control just one month after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Watch a short video from the event on our YouTube page.






Thursday Mar. 1, 2018
ProCon.org "Friendraiser” at Hollywood Hockey Night
Staples Center (Los Angeles, CA) – Los Angeles Kings vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

Thank you to Bruce McNall, Howard & Karen Baldwin, the Staples Center, Luc Robitaille, and the Los Angeles Kings for hosting Hollywood Hockey Night in support of ProCon.org. We provided research on the question "Should fighting in hockey be allowed?” and met with many people who expressed great interest in our cause – several of whom become donors.






Thursday Jan. 25, 2018
Project Soapbox, Action Civics LA
Los Angeles, CA

ProCon.org CEO, Kamy Akhavan (far right), judged a student speech competition organized by Action Civics LA, a satellite of the Chicago-based Mikva Challenge. All 17 contestants did an incredible job and deserve commendation, especially the four talented women who got the highest marks from the judges.






Monday Nov. 27, 2017
Career Trajectories
DaVinci High School (Hawthorne, CA)

ProCon.org CEO Kamy Akhavan and ProCon.org Director Development Jeanne Ringe speak to high school students in Rob Allen’s "College and Career Readiness" class about job options and career paths.




Saturday Oct. 28, 2017
Bridge the Divide Converge Conference
Marlborough School (Los Angeles, CA)

ProCon.org Researcher Natalie Leppard will speak to members of the nonpartisan political high school and college student organization, Bridge the Divide, on how to use ProCon.org to accomplish one of the organization’s stated goals: "to use the power of discussion and the spirit of political entrepreneurship to celebrate political diversity and stamp out intolerance."




Monday Oct. 23, 2017
Organizing and Curation Face-to-Face
California State University Channel Islands (Oxnard, CA)

ProCon.org CEO Kamy Akhavan speaks to Professor Catharine Reznicek’s students taking "COMP 110 – Computer Literacy for Educators" at Cal State Channel Islands about critical thinking, civic engagement, and ProCon.org in the context of library curation.




Sep. 12-Oct. 3, 2017
ProCon.org, the USC Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, and the Santa Monica Pier partnered to bring prominent experts from both sides of important issues, neutral moderators to facilitate the conversations, and beautiful venues to enjoy the free public debates. The Arthur N. Rupe Debate Series in LA brought VIPs from politics, academia, and the media world to prove that people can disagree without being disagreeable.






Sep. 9, 2017
13th Annual Constitution Day Conference
Ronald Reagan Library and Presidential Museum (Simi Valley, CA)

ProCon.org CEO Kamy Akhavan will speak on "How Political Opinions Are Formed, Changed, and Empowered: Saving Democracy through Critical Thinking" from 1:30pm to 2:20pm in the Discovery Center Classroom. Focusing on grades 7-12, Kamy will explore strategies for understanding political opinions, overcoming confirmation bias, having respectful debates, and using critical thinking to stoke civic engagement and save our democracy. ProCon.org exists to counter trends in confirmation bias and its contribution to increasing partisanship, echo chambers, filter bubbles, legislative gridlock, the lack of civil discourse in public spaces, and even the anxiety associated with Thanksgiving conversations.




July 30, 2017
ProCon.org CEO Kamy Akhavan moderated a high-profile panel discussion at the prestigious Politicon conference.
Panelists for "ProCon.org Presents: Building Beliefs – How We Form Our Political Views” included Lesley Stahl (veteran 60 Minutes correspondent; one of America’s most honored and experienced broadcast journalists; former moderator of Face the Nation), Amie Parnes (Senior White House Correspondent for The Hill; author of New York Times #1 bestseller Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign), John Phillips (CNN political commentator; host of The Drive Home on LA’s KABC 790; Columnist for Orange County Register), and Shermichael Singleton (CNN commentator; Republican political consultant; fired as Deputy Chief of Staff at Dept. of Housing and Urban Development for criticizing President Trump).






Apr. 3, 2017
ProCon.org joined the nonpartisan Bridge Alliance, "a growing movement of civic action organizations working individually and together to transform the political terrain," whose members include iCivics, the US Association of Former Members of Congress, the National Institute for Civil Discourse, and the National Foundation for Women Legislators.






Oct. 11, 2016
ProCon.org and the historic Santa Monica Pier partnered to launch PRO/CON @ The Pier – The Return of Civil Discourse
- a nonpartisan discussion series with prominent policy experts and celebrity moderators designed to better inform public discourse on ballot measures and current issues before Election Day. This 4-week series attracted hundreds of attendees and thousands who viewed the debates online.






Sep. 22, 2016
ProCon.org jointly presented an expert panel discussion on immigration and college affordability titled "Issues Facing Millennials: Listen, Talk, and #JustVote."
It took place on Sep. 22, 2016 at the University of Southern California (USC), and was coordinated in conjunction with our partners: the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC, Participant Media, TakePart, USC College Democrats, USC College Republicans, and USA Today College.






Aug. 16, 2016
We made a new resource for Advanced Placement teachers that ties our content to their coursework by subject.
We created this resource at the request of the Talented and Gifted (TAG) magnet school in Dallas, which has been the #1 ranked high school in American for several years according to US News & World Report. The AP materials were presented in person and online to the TAG teachers and to several teachers from the #4 ranked high school in America (Science and Engineering Magnet, also in Dallas). The program was funded by an anonymous Texas donor.






July 14, 2016
On July 14, 2016, ProCon.org held its first ever VIP salon at the home of Ms. Janet Baszile in Palos Verdes Estates, CA.
It was wonderful to connect with so many past, present, and future ProCon.org supporters. We thank Ms. Baszile and the many salon attendees, particularly for their inspired words about our organization's important work. We are grateful that these salon connections will lead to ongoing discussions and actions that forward ProCon.org and help spread our desperately needed public services to millions more people.






May 9, 2016
Guidestar awarded ProCon.org its highest level of recognition, Platinum, for our "commitment to transparency." Guidestar is the nation's largest charity evaluation organization.






Apr. 5, 2016
ProCon.org conducted a 10-week adult learning course about controversial issues using our pro and con research.
The class of 18 seniors met weekly to discuss issues in a structured format. The participants loved the class and the PLATO organization expressed interest in holding the class again.





Apr. 2016
The California Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools (an organization for which we serve on the Steering Committee), made ProCon.org a member of the Advisory Committee to the Los Angeles County Civic Learning Partnership, along with the other partner organizations of the Youth Civic Engagement Collaborative. The Advisory Committee is one of a network of six pilot civic learning partnerships under the auspices of the Power of Democracy Steering Committee, established by California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye.




Nov. 13, 2015
At the invitation of the National Council for the Social Studies, we made a presentation at their annual conference on "Using Election Issues to Teach Civic Participation."
The conference was the year’s largest gathering of social studies teachers in the United States.






Sep. 20, 2015
We were invited to conduct a 1-hour professional development seminar for high school teachers at the Ronald Reagan Library’s Constitution Day.
The seminar was titled "Using the 2016 Presidential Election to Teach Critical Thinking and Civic Engagement."



Source: Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, reaganfoundation.org (accessed Nov. 21, 2016)




July 29, 2015
Our presentation was accepted and we gave a lecture to scholars at the 35th International Conference on Critical Thinking in Berkeley, CA, on the topic "Using Election Issues to Teach Critical Thinking and Civic Participation."




July 27, 2015
We presented our critical thinking seminar for the 7th consecutive year at UCLA to Junior Statesmen of America (JSA) students attending the Gene Burd Symposium on Politics.






June 25, 2015
At the invitation of Mikva Challenge, we attended the "New Civics Practitioners Conference" in Chicago on June 25, 2015 and served as a panelist for two sessions called "Elections in Action – Making Elections a Dynamic Learning Experience for Youth."






Mar. 7, 2015
At the invitation of the California Council for the Social Studies, we attended their March 7, 2015 annual conference in Oakland, CA, and jointly presented, with Junior Statesmen of America, a session entitled "Don’t Hate. Debate!"






Feb. 25, 2015
ProCon.org was referenced by the US Department of Labor (DOL) in its Final Rule revising the definition of "spouse" under the Family Medical Leave Act in light of the US Supreme Court’s United States v. Windsor decision, which found section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional. The Rule, published in the Federal Register (vol. 80, no. 37), stated that the DOL found it unnecessary to include the status of gay marriage laws in the 50 states on its website because reliable data was already available from ProCon.org.




Oct. 8, 2014
For the first time, ProCon.org decided to bring its unique brand of voter education to local elections
(Santa Monica, CA)

The Local Elections website from ProCon.org gathers opinions from candidates for the Santa Monica City Council, School Board, and College Board on many important community issues. Visitors were able to read about each candidate, click on an issue to read candidate position statements, and take the candidate matching quiz to see which candidate best matched their views. 5,025 people visited the Local Elections website to help them decide which candidates to support. The margins of victory in the three races covered by ProCon.org were 586 votes (City Council), 264 votes (School Board), and 633 (College Board). The Local Elections website was created as part of a collaboration with the Santa Monica Daily Press.




Sep. 26, 2014
ProCon.org participated in a panel at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's 44th annual legislative conference.

Kamy Akhavan represented ProCon.org on the 6-person panel to discuss "Teacher Tenure: Education or Politics?" The panel was hosted by the American Federation of Teachers.






July 28, 2014
ProCon.org presented its 6th annual critical thinking seminar to high school students attending the Junior Statesmen of America’s "2014 Gene Burd Institute on L.A. Media and Politics”
UCLA (Los Angeles, CA)

Also, for the 6th year in a row, the ProCon.org seminar was selected by the students as their favorite presentation of the week-long workshop.






July 12, 2014
Happy 10th anniversary, ProCon.org!
(Santa Monica, CA)

Our little operation that started on July 12, 2004 with six topics and big aspirations has become America’s leading provider of free pro and con research on controversial issues with 50 topics and more in development. Thank you to the more than 70 million people who have visited ProCon.org over the last 10 years and helped us promote critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship. See our 10th anniversary page for more.






Dec. 30, 2013
We surpassed 60 million unique visitors and launched 50 pro-con websites since we started in 2004.
(Santa Monica, CA)

To celebrate, we announced this milestone achievement in a national press release and a Times Square billboard. We also had 138.5 million pageviews and 2.7 billion hits since 2004.






Dec. 2, 2013
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling referenced ProCon.org
(Santa Monica, CA)

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Minority Television Project v. FCC referenced our headline article, "ProCon.org and Pivot.tv Join Forces on Critical Thinking Campaign” and linked to ProCon.org. It was our first reference in a circuit court ruling.




Dec. 2, 2013
ProCon.org and the Rehabilitation Foundation for Disabled Persons, U.S. held a celebrity golf tournament fundraiser
Calabasas Country Club (Calabasas, CA)

Celebrity participants included former NHL player Marty McSorley, former MLB player Royce Clayton, former NFL player Hank Baskett and his wife, reality TV star Kendra Wilkinson, senior golf pro Steve Pate, former NBA player Norm Nixon, and actors Patrick Warburton, Alan Thicke, Anthony Anderson, Ryan Merriman, Sheila Shah, Stephen Bishop, Chris Rich, Jeremy Sumpter, Christopher McDonald, Paula Trickey, Josh Morrow, and Kato Kaelin. See dozens of photos from our successful event.




Sep. 13, 2013
Pivot, a new television network from Participant Media, selects ProCon.org as its exclusive alliance
(Los Angeles, CA)

ProCon.org is to promote critical thinking by providing research around the social issues explored in the new TV series Raising McCain, a documentary-style reality program featuring Meghan McCain, the daughter of US Senator John McCain. The show premieres Saturday, Sep. 14 at 10pm ET / 7pm PT.






July 29, 2013
ProCon.org participated in the Junior Statesmen of America’s "2013 Gene A. Burd Institute on L.A. Media and Politics” for the fifth year in a row.
(Los Angeles, CA)

Our 2-hour critical thinking seminar on social networking was called "phenomenal” and "fabulous” by participating students. After analyzing pro/con statements, brainstorming pro and con arguments, discussing both statements and arguments in small groups and as one large group, and conducting additional exercises to stimulate critical thinking, 15% of the students changed their minds about social networking and 100% of the students felt engaged and stimulated by the seminar.




Mar. 2, 2013
ProCon.org and the March of Dimes Canada held a celebrity golf tournament to raise money for our nonprofit organizations.
(Desert Hot Springs, CA)

It was our first ever fundraising event. See dozens of our celebrity golf tournament photos or watch the celebrity golf tournament videos on our YouTube channel.




Jan. 17, 2013
Why I Love ProCon.org

A panel of prominent film celebrities and education leaders judged 1-2 minute student videos on the theme "Why I Love ProCon.org,” and their winners in the ProCon.org national student video contest were announced. Watch seven wonderful student films about ProCon.org




Sep. 5, 2012


July 25, 2012
Using ProCon.org for Critical Thinking
(Los Angeles, CA)

For the fourth year in a row, ProCon.org gave a workshop titled "Using ProCon.org for Critical Thinking about Illegal Immigration" to about 100 Junior Statesmen of America (JSA) high school students attending JSA's "Gene A. Burd Symposium on Los Angeles Media and Politics" on the UCLA campus. The students' amazing thank you letters inspired us.




May 30, 2012
The Library of Congress (LOC) announced that it was going to archive ProCon.org

The reason is for having "materials of historical importance to the Congress and the American people to foster education and scholarship.” ProCon.org had been partially archived by the LOC on April 20, 2008, and this time they opted to archive all of our content.




July 26, 2011
ProCon.org gave a 90-minute workshop titled "Using ProCon.org for Critical Thinking about Illegal Immigration
UCLA Campus (Los Angeles, CA)

About 75 Junior Statesmen of America (JSA) high school students attended JSA's "Gene A. Burd Symposium on Los Angeles Media and Politics” on the UCLA campus.






July 6, 2011
ProCon.org was highlighted in the Congressional Record
Congressman Rob Andrews (D-NJ) honored ProCon.org by reading a glowing statement about the organization on the floor of the US House of Representatives. His statement said in part: "It is my distinct pleasure to honor the staff of ProCon.org and wish them continued successes in their service to the American public. Their unbiased and truthful presentation makes a tremendous contribution to the political system." Read the entire statement here.






June 17, 2011
A division of the American Library Association (ALA) voted ProCon.org as one the Top 25 Free Reference Websites of 2011.

Other winners included TED, Wikileaks, and Google Translate. The Machine-Assisted Reference Section (MARS) of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) of ALA recognized outstanding reference sites on the World Wide Web. ProCon.org thanks the reference librarians who voted and who have supported our work over the years.




May 19, 2011
California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson, California’s highest elected education official, sent us a wonderful testimonial and offered to notify educators throughout the state about ProCon.org.

He wrote:

"I’m pleased to encourage California educators to add www.procon.org to the tools they use to help students learn more about important issues and develop their critical thinking skills. I have used www.procon.org personally and recommend that California teachers and librarians take advantage of this great - and free -educational resource.”

Mr. Torlakson also recommended ProCon.org to educators on his personal Facebook page on August 14, 2011.




July 23, 2010
For the first time, ProCon.org was the subject of a peer-reviewed scientific study.

Max-Planck Institute for Informatics researchers published the study " Language-Model-based Pro/Con Classification of Political Text” in the Proceedings of the 33rd International ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval. The paper basically concluded that pros and cons work well to classify controversial political topics.




Apr. 22, 2010
Managing Editor Kamy Akhavan represented ProCon.org as an expert panelist in one of the first ever Continuing Medical Education (CME) classes on medical marijuana in the United States.

The session titled "What Physicians Should Know About Medical Marijuana” was organized by emarc Network, held at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, approved by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), and attended by dozens of physicians.




Aug. 12, 2009
Kamy Akhavan (Managing Editor of ProCon.org) gave a 90-minute presentation titled "Critical Thinking about Illegal Immigration: Media Analysis Using ProCon.org”

The speech was to over 115 high school students at the closing night of the Junior Statesmen of America symposium "Los Angeles Media and Politics” on the UCLA campus. The students and JSA Symposium Program Director, Tracy Poindexter, loved the presentation as reflected in their thank you letters to ProCon.org.




July 14, 2009
ProCon.org celebrated its 5-year anniversary with a party for supporters and friends in our Santa Monica office.
(Santa Monica, CA)

We also held five anniversary contests and awarded winners over $500 in cash and prizes. See photos and video from the party, find out who won the contests, and read highlights and reflections from our first five years on ProCon.org's Five Year Anniversary page.




July 14, 2009
California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell met with ProCon.org’s founder Steve Markoff.
(Santa Monica, CA)

After the meeting, California’s highest elected education official Tweeted:

"Just met with the founder of procon.org. It's a great resource that breaks down hot button issues with quality, sourced info… The best part about procon.org is the entire web site is free to use... no registration necessary. If you’re in ed, check it out... a quality resource for controversial issues...”




Apr. 20 and 21, 2009
ProCon.org’s Managing Editor was invited to serve on two panels ("The Future of Online Debate and Dialogue” and "Collaborative Politics Online: Principles, Pitfalls and Practical Advice”) at the Politics Online national conference.
(Washington, DC)

A video excerpt of the latter panel is available here. It was ProCon.org’s first time participating as an invited speaker at a national conference.




Feb. 2, 2009
ProCon.org was honored to receive the "Best Non-Profit to Work For" award in a national competition.
ProCon.org was one of five winners in its class of "non-profits with an operating budget of under $2.5 million." There were 15 winners total. There are roughly 1,000,000 nonprofit organizations in the United States.






Apr. 20, 2008
The Library of Congress honored ProCon.org by requesting permission to archive three of our websites (ProCon.org, 2008 Election ProCon.org, and US Iraq ProCon.org)

The Library of Congress considered our three sites "materials of historical importance to the Congress and to the American people."




Oct. 11, 2007
ProCon.org appeared on television for the first time.

LATV, a television station based in Los Angeles, conducted an interview with Managing Editor Kamy Akhavan about medical marijuana.




Mar. 30, 2007
ProCon.org received 501(c)(3) nonprofit status from the IRS 21 months after we applied for it on June 28, 2005.





Feb. 26, 2006
First radio interview for ProCon.org

It took place on WLPO radio in Oglesby, Illinois. In the 23-minute interview, host John Small commented "Fascinating website. I think we can learn something. Anybody who has access to a computer can learn a little more about their world and get a little ammunition to battle the office bully over an issue but it's also just to better your brain."




Jan. 23, 2006
ProCon.org selected as a "Yahoo! Pick"

The Yahoo! editors wrote: "You're guaranteed to disagree with 50% of what you read here, but you'll come away better informed and -- if the site's founders are proved out -- a better citizen, to boot."




Oct. 26, 2005
ProCon.org is declared by the State of California Franchise Tax Board as a charitable corporation and thus exempt from state franchise or income tax under code section 2370ld.





July 12, 2004
ProCon.org's Articles of Incorporation are certified by the California Secretary of State, and thus ProCon.org is officially born.

Steven C. Markoff, the Chairman of ProCon.org, has been active in trying to find pros and cons of various controversial issues since 1986. He created an organization to pursue this effort, and after going through several iterations, that organization became ProCon.org on July 12, 2004. Read a detailed personal statement from Mr. Markoff on the origins and background of ProCon.org.




Sep. 19, 1772
Ben Franklin explains concept of pros and cons in 1772 letter

Benjamin Franklin commented on the practical use of pros and cons in a Sep. 19, 1772 letter to his friend Joseph Priestley:
"When these difficult Cases occur, they are difficult chiefly because while we have them under Consideration all the Reasons pro and con are not present to the Mind at the same time... To get over this, my Way is, to divide half a Sheet of Paper by a Line into two Columns, writing over the one Pro, and over the other Con... And tho' the Weight of Reasons cannot be taken with the Precision of Algebraic Quantities, yet when each is thus considered separately and comparatively, and the whole lies before me, I think I can judge better, and am less likely to take a rash Step..."