In every sector of American society, civility has declined, according to recent polls—from vicious political rhetoric to attacks in the blogosphere and lack of personal decency.

The Dilenschneider Group, a strategic communications firm, is sponsoring a series of lectures on civility in conjunction with the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.

"Today, the virtue of civility has been abandoned in the United States," said Robert L. Dilenschneider, president of the Dilenschneider Group "As a result, there is strife throughout America—screaming blogs, political attacks, vicious reader comments, and the inability to work across the legislative aisle without rancor or demeaning acrimony. This series is an attempt to restore a measure of civility in our dealings."

"We think this lecture series will be an important contribution to public life," said Carnegie Council President Joel H. Rosenthal. "The talks will be recorded on video and audio, and disseminated globally through our websites, iTunes, YouTube, and public television. They will also be live webcast, so that everyone can watch them."

The series of lectures on civility in America, to mark the 20th anniversary of the Dilenschneider Group, run throughout 2011 and feature speakers from politics, the media, finance, business, and other areas. Some of the nation's most insightful minds will explore the crisis and offer their opinion as to how we can restore civility in society.

All talks will take place at the Carnegie Council's headquarters in New York City at 5:30 PM Eastern Time. The first three scheduled speakers are:

In addition, the Dilenschneider Group is publishing an essay titled "A Return to Civility" by the Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, CSC, president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. 

Fr. Hesburgh concludes that "given the turbulent times we are experiencing in every sector of society and recognizing the stakes that will determine the shape and future of the next generation, I can think of few civic issues that are as important."