Harvard University political scientist David King says today’s young Americans are engaged in politics and their communities in a way unseen in years, indicating a definite shift from the “me” generation to the “we” generation.

King, the associate director of the Institute of Politics and lecturer in public policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, politically profiles today’s youth in the third installment of Lawrence University’s four-part international studies lecture series “U.S. and European Security: Challenges and Choices.”

A 1985 Lawrence graduate, King returns to campus Thursday, April 21 to deliver the address “The Activism and Optimism of American Youth: Implications for U.S. Foreign Policy” at 7 p.m. in Science Hall, Room 102 on the Lawrence campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Based on the findings of a recent survey he conducted, King will provide a description of the complex political ideology of today’s youth, a profile that does not easily break along the lines of liberal or conservative but rather offers clear secular and religious divisions. He also will discuss young people’s attitudes toward U.S. foreign policy and the way they view the role of America as the chief architect of democracy around the world.

A government major at Lawrence, King joined the Kennedy School faculty in 1992 after earning his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Michigan. His research interests include youth attitudes and political engagement, legislative institutions and U.S. political parties and interest groups.

He co-authored the 2003 book “The Generation of Trust: How the U.S. Military has Regained the Public’s Confidence since Vietnam” and wrote “Turf Wars: How Congressional Committees Claim Jurisdiction,” which was published in 1997. He oversees Harvard’s Program for Newly Elected Members of the U.S. Congress and served as chair of the Task Force on Election Administration on behalf of former presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.

The “U.S. and European Security: Challenges and Choices” lecture series is sponsored by the Mojmir Povolny Lectureship in International Studies. Named in honor of long-time Lawrence government professor Mojmir Povolny, the lectureship promotes interest and discussion on issues of moral significance and ethical dimensions.