The Year Ahead for the Bush Center
In this Bush Institute interview, Kenneth Hersh, President and CEO of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, shares his observations since becoming the leader of the Bush Center in 2016. He also presents his goals for the Bush Center in 2017.
Six months into your tenure, what has surprised you most about the work of the Bush Center?
I have been surprised by the depth of the work that is going on at the Bush Center. We are tackling some of the most pressing issues of our time in a thoughtful and serious manner. The Bush Center is so much more than the museum.
Their priorities inspire our work and the work here is done in partnership with them.
You speak of the Bush Center being relevant to current issues. How do you see that goal playing out in 2017?
Obviously with a new administration, we can be helpful in being an educational resource in navigating certain challenges. We are able to access resources across the country and around the world given our platform and those resources will be valuable in the months ahead.
At the same time, the voice of a former President is important to emphasize leadership traits that inform those taking on major responsibilities. We have enjoyed the manner in which our work has been received.
What are your goals for the Bush Center in 2017?
2017 will be a big year for the Bush Center.
President Bush’s paintings of the courageous men and women who served in the military will shine a bright light on the work we are doing to help post-9/11 veterans deal with their invisible wounds of war.
The release on February 28 of his new book, Portraits of Courage: A Commander In Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors, along with the opening on March 2 of the special exhibit at our museum of those portraits, will showcase this work.
In addition, we will emphasize our work within our Global Leadership Impact Center, which houses our Human Freedom Initiative, Women’s Initiative, and Global Health Initiative through our affiliate Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon.
Finally, my personal goal is to broaden the participation in our programming at many levels, through increased attendance, participation in our working groups, and membership in our advisory councils.
The Bush Center is both a regional and national asset. My goal is to engage as much and as often as possible.
Empowering veterans and their families to successfully reenter civilian life
With the right support and policies, virtually all veterans and military families can continue to lead and serve in meaningful ways. The beginning of a new administration presents an opportunity to take a fresh look at the strategies, policies, programs, and resources that can empower them to successfully re-enter civilian life.
Building on America’s Leadership in Global Health
The new administration should stay the course as a strong leader in global health. This is a bipartisan effort, as both sides of the aisle have agreed on the importance of health care investments through successive Congresses and administrations, reflecting the priorities of the American people.
A Look Back at Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon in 2016
Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon is closing a momentous year of transition and growth. The partnership marked its fifth anniversary, began operating as an independent non-profit organization affiliated with the George W. Bush Institute, welcomed new leadership, established an office in Washington, D.C., and expanded its team of talented staff to advance Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon’s mission of fighting women’s cancer in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. In 2016, much was accomplished to save the lives of women and girls from breast and cervical cancer in countries where there is a particularly high burden of disease. With Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon’s partners and supporters, we celebrate: Finalizing plans for an investment of $3.5 million in financing from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to support the transition of the Zambian cervical cancer program to the Ministry of Health by 2019; Opening 12 new sites to screen for an