“Think of The Arena Summit as equal parts spring training, group therapy, summer camp, and speed dating for progressives.” WIRED

The Arena Summit is a convening of rising civic leaders from across the country. The Philadelphia Summit will be our fifth since December 2016, and we expect over 1,000 civic and political leaders in attendance.

We gather in the City of Brotherly (and Sisterly) Love to rededicate ourselves to a politics of love + action. We'll spend time planning out the steps we will take to rebuild our republic based on the values of love, respect, inclusion, and dignity.

The Philadelphia Summit is proudly sponsored by the Alliance for American Manufacturing. AAM is a non-profit founded in 2007 that explores worker-friendly solutions to challenges such as job creation, infrastructure investment, international trade, and global competitiveness.


Here’s a preview of some of the people you’ll hear from at the Summit. Stay tuned - there’s more to come.


Danica Roem

Delegate, Virginia House of Delegates


Mitch Landrieu

Former Mayor of New Orleans, LA


Amber Goodwin

Founder and Executive Director, Community Justice Reform Coalition (CJRC)


Dan Pfeiffer

Co-Host of Pod Save America, Former Senior Advisor to President Obama


John Fetterman

Mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania and Candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania


Michael Nutter

Former Mayor of Philadelphia, PA


Rebecca Rhynhart

City Controller of Philadelphia

Martin O'Malley

Former Governor of Maryland


Movita Johnson-Harrell

Founder of The CHARLES Foundation, and Interim Victims Services Coordinator for the City of Philadelphia


John King

Former US Secretary of Education



Malcolm Kenyatta

Democratic Nominee for Pennsylvania State House


Keir Bradford-Grey

Chief Defender of the Defender Association of Philadelphia

Michael Tubbs

Mayor of Stockton, CA


Chrissy Houlahan

Candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania


Toni Blackman

Rapper, Actress, and Writer


Dr. Kira Banks

Associate Professor of Psychology at St. Louis University, Expert on Unconscious Bias


Anton Moore

Criminal Justice Activist, 48th Ward Leader for the City of Philadelphia


Jamira Burley

Anti Gun-Violence Activist, Youth Advocate, Named White House “Champion of Change”



If you’ve been to a Summit before, things will be a little different. You will choose your training options in advance and we’ll also cap attendance on a first-come, first-served basis.

In this workshop, you’ll participate in a cypher aimed at building creativity, confidence, and self-expression. Led by hip hop artist and educator Toni Blackman, you’ll connect the ideas of history and hip-hop, and participate in performative activities. You should only participate in this session if you are willing to open up, perform, and be vulnerable in front of others. No prior experience in hip hop is assumed.

When we meet in Philadelphia, we’ll be only 61 days out from the critical 2018 midterm elections. The Arena is partnering with SwingLeft in support of their new campaign, The Last Weekend. This campaign is focused on recruiting volunteers for the last weekend before the election with the goal of increasing voter turnout. In this session, you'll learn about volunteer opportunities, recruit your friends to volunteer, and leave realizing that volunteering is easier and more fun than you might think.

Unconscious bias is a rigid belief, positive or negative, about a group of people that is based on limited evidence. It is something that everyone has yet few know how to keep in check. Bias often comes from our experiences, or lack thereof, and its effects are pervasive, like smog in the air. What type of messages you receive about whom, or what groups are omitted from these narratives is largely based on your personal social identities. Lead by Dr. Kira Banks, this session will explore on how our personal and social identities influence our unconscious biases. You will increase your knowledge of the psychology of bias and learn the steps necessary to de-bias.

Thinking about running for office, but don't know where to start? Join Arena Partner and Arena Fellowship lead Kate Catherall in a session that outlines the first steps you should take when planning a run for office. We will review important questions to answer, timeline considerations, and early campaign planning. You will also learn where to find useful resources to guide your campaign from an idea to a reality. Come ready to ask questions and be inspired.

2020 is primed to be an historic election cycle, and an important time to immerse yourself in electoral politics. Whether you've worked on campaign before, or are just starting out, we will help you create a plan for joining a campaign — from presidential to local and everything in between. We will review what kinds of jobs campaigns hire for, when these jobs come available, and the best way to present your skill set.

Entrepreneurship is a key factor in local economic development. In this training, we'll examine innovation and private businesses that solve public problems, learn how local businesses get off the ground and work in small groups to design business models that have measurable social impact goals. You’ll leave with a new framework for sustainable and impactful business building and an inspiration to support, invest in, or start a business in your city.

Telling your story is key to becoming a successful activist, candidate, or organization. In this training, we will help you identify and craft your 15 and 60-second pitch.


We know you come to the Summit to connect with the next generation of civic leaders. That’s why we throw a party on both nights.

On Friday September 7th, we’ll host a welcome party in the evening after our community dinner at the Franklin Institute.

The Franklin Institute was founded in 1824 and has remained dedicated to public education and scientific learning for almost 200 years. It’s one of the most visited museums in Philadelphia and a short walk from the Convention Center.

On Saturday September 9th, we'll host an after party. Stay tuned for the location and details.


On Friday September 7th, we'll feature music performed by Play On, Philly! Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Andrés González. Play On, Philly! is an organization that provides personal development opportunities to children through the study of music. A group of their musicians will perform before our community dinner.


Karim Abouelnaga
Emily Abrams
Desmond Atem
Erica Atwood
Cathy Barbash
Jonathan Beninson
Aryanna Berringer
Daren Berringer
Lauren Bille
Alicia Bonner Ness
Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza
Melissa Byrne
Rolando Cantú
Charlie Cavell
Katrina Chan
Amy Chiou
Earl Coleman
Bobby Cunningham
Neil Deegan
Elijah Dornstreich
Erin Fitzgerald
Billy Fleming
Lauren Footman
Aman George
Jon Greeting
Alon Gur
Andrea Hailey
Josh Henderson
Jevin Hodge
Christine Jacobs
Molly Jong Fast
Nick Kowalski
James Lauderdale
Eric Lavin
Holly Lynch

Sara Lynch
Kevin Madden
Neil Makhija
Meghan Malloy
Claudia Marte
Coss Marte
Juan Martinez
Nick Marzano
Alexis Morin
Michael Newmuis
Michael O'Bryan
Millennial Politics
William Packer
Nathaniel Parks
Alex Peay
Alison Perelman
Desiree Peterkin Bell
Sujeet Rao
Anthony Robinson
Jason Salus
Annie Sanditen
Neal Sarkar
Adam Schupack
Stacey Shells
Michael Simon
Liz Simon
Michael Slaby
Charlotte Slaiman
Stanford Thompson
Megha Upadhyaya
Christian Urrutia
Anne Wakabayashi
Elizabeth Wexler
Jeremy Wilcher
Katherine Zuk