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  • Through our three Impact Centers -- Domestic Excellence, Global Leadership, and our Engagement Agenda -- we focus on developing leaders, advancing policy, and taking action to solve today’s most pressing challenges.

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Off to a Great Start

March 9, 2012 7 minute Read by Hannah Abney

 

This week, supporters of the George W. Bush Presidential Center had the opportunity to hear from Dr. Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State and the chair of the Bush Institute Advisory Board. We found Dr. Rice’s remarks so powerful and inspiring that we wanted to share them more broadly. Her succinct assessment of the opportunity provided through the work of the Bush Institute to create “…a freer, more prosperous, healthier and more democratic world” perfectly sums up the goal of our action-oriented organization. If you'd like to learn more about the work of the George W. Bush Institute, visit www.bushcenter.com.

  Dr. Condoleezza Rice We are all united here by our desire to see this be a Center that fully represents the marvelous work of the 43rd President of the United States George W. Bush and Laura Bush. I think we have a lot of work ahead of us, but wow, has this Institute gotten off to a great start. It’s gotten off to a great start because of the dedication of the fine professionals who are working in it, it’s gotten off to a great start because it already has a great vision of what it can do. I've had the pleasure of sitting with one of the young women who is here as part of the Women’s Initiative Fellowship Program, and that conversation just shows me what the Bush Institute can do. Here we have among us women who are going to make a difference— they've already made a difference in their home country, but they are going to make a difference because their country is changing at a dizzying pace. And what can we do? We can’t democratize Egypt for them, but we can make available experience and mentoring and opportunities to get to know what it takes to make democracy work. That’s what the Institute is doing with this program, and with many, many more that it is sponsoring. The Institute, for which I am very proud to be the chair of the advisory, has also gotten off to a great start because it is located at a wonderful university. The partnership with SMU is going to make this a very special place. I look forward to working with the leadership of the school, with the Board of Trustees, with the faculty and with the students to get the great synergies that we can between the wonderful university that is here and the programs of the Bush Presidential Museum and Library and the Institute. Nothing like this ever works without the hard work and the resources of those who see the vision. It’s a particularly American way of doing things. I’ve traveled all over the world, and around the world when you do something like this, you usually call on the government to get it done. But not in the United States. We call on private citizens, we call on patriots, we call on people who are committed to the cause and who are willing to give of their time and resources to make that cause work. But the real reason that this is going to be something else -- something that we can all be proud of -- is because of its namesake, the 43rd President of the United States George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. We know that we share their vision for a country that fully and completely takes advantage of the potential of its citizens: through an economic growth program, the 4% Project, that might actually get us not just into a stable economy, but a growing and prosperous one in which all Americans are willing to take advantage and move forward.  We know that this is a vision that sees for its people education where it doesn’t matter where you came from, it matters where you’re going.  Where you can come from humble circumstances and do great things. Where it’s no longer okay, as is currently the case in our country, that I can look at your zip code and tell whether you are going to get a good education.  That hasn’t ever been good enough for America, and it’s not good enough for George and Laura Bush, and it’s not good enough for those of us in this room. We know, too, that that vision is one that provides not just the best for our own citizens, but reaches out beyond our borders to promote dignity, hope, prosperity and especially liberty for people abroad. Because we know that our fate is linked to theirs. We know that where women are not empowered, there is danger. We know that where people are suffering from disease, there is despair. And we know especially that where people do not have liberty, and where tyranny reigns, there is real trouble, as we found out on September 11th, 2001. So this vision, of a freer, more prosperous, healthier and more democratic world is one that animated the administration of our 43rd President and our first Lady, it is one that spoke for the non-negotiable demands of human dignity, it is one that said men and women deserve to be free, not to live in tyranny and my friends, the former President and First Lady worked hard for that. We know that this world still needs their leadership and those values that brought us towards their goals. It is a great honor to share this vision and to share in the work of the Presidential Center that will be committed to ideas and committed to action.


Author

Hannah Abney
Hannah Abney

Hannah Abney directs strategic communications and messaging for the George W. Bush Presidential Center, leading a team responsible for developing and implementing communication strategies that help advance the Bush Center’s work in developing leaders, fostering policy, and taking action to save and change lives.

Prior to joining the Bush Center, she led public relations activities for consumer and non-profit brands at The Richards Group.  Abney also led communications efforts  at a national retail trade association in Washington, DC, and served in the George W. Bush Administration in the Vice President’s Office.

A native of Milwaukee, WI, she is a graduate of the Southern Methodist University (B.A., Music) and lives in Dallas with her husband and young sons. 

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