March 29, 2016

In a society that is plagued with conflicting news reports, bickering presidential candidates, and growing political protest movements, there seems to be one overarching question: Who can we trust?

According to a 2015 survey from the Pew Research Center, only one in five Americans reported a consistent trust in their government, while separate Gallup polls found trust in the news media and confidence in law-enforcement to both be at record low levels. So what has led to such high levels of mistrust, and is there a way to rebuild people's trust in their leaders and institutions?

A conference at The Catholic University of America on Thursday, April 14, will examine these questions with the help of a panel of interdisciplinary experts. The conference, "Rebuilding Trust," is sponsored by the University's Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies (IPR) and the School of Arts and Sciences.

According to Andrew Yeo, associate professor of politics and IPR fellow, the decline in trust across the country has already had profound consequences, including numerous protests against police misconduct and the political rise of more ideologically extreme presidential candidates. He said the conference is intended to explore the problem of declining trust and the ways in which it can be restored across a range of policy issues.

Conference speakers will include experts from the fields of history, sociology, political science, psychology, theology, international relations, media studies, and education.

"For me, the project was always about fostering an interdisciplinary dialogue on trust," Yeo said. "Having an open discussion on where trust comes from, why it falls apart, and how it might be rebuilt may encourage and inspire others to consider the policy relevance of trust from an angle they previously might not have considered."

"Rebuilding Trust" will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center, Great Room A. For more information or to register, visit .