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Global Leadership: A Look Back At 2017
Human Freedom Initiative
In October, the Bush Institute hosted The Spirit of Liberty, a national forum in New York that kicked off a major new effort to affirm American values of freedom and free markets, strengthen the institutions that secure these values at home, and help create a new consensus that spreads these values abroad. The event included remarks by President and Mrs. Bush and brought together top business leaders, scholars, and policymakers to examine the challenges democracy faces at home and around the world.
The Liberty and Leadership Forum, our training program that prepares young leaders to succeed during a democratic transition, graduated its third Burmese cohort in June. This year’s graduates include a sitting member of the democratically-elected Burmese Parliament; a Rohingya Muslim human rights advocate; a UN public information officer who volunteers to help lift children out of poverty; and a BBC journalist whose radio programming reaches millions of Burmese youth, all of whom are contributing to Burma’s transition to democracy.
After analyzing the needs of North Korean refugees living in the United States, our Freedom in North Korea program worked with the Communities Foundation of Texas, Korean American leaders, and others to establish the North Korea Freedom Scholarship. In June, we distributed $25,000 to the first eight scholarship recipients, helping these escapees pursue a range of educational opportunities and build new lives in freedom.
The First Ladies Initiative released its inaugural research report, A Role Without a Rulebook: The Influence and Leadership of Global First Ladies. The report examines the expanding role of first ladies, their leadership on critical issues, the challenges they face in leveraging their unique platforms, and their ability to overcome those challenges to make a difference. The research includes interviews with 11 current and former first ladies, providing unique case studies for women’s leadership more broadly.
In October, the Women’s Initiative Fellowship invited 14 women leaders from the Middle East, North Africa, and Afghanistan to a weeklong workshop at the Bush Center. The workshop served to inform policy and research on women leaders’ roles in advancing economic opportunity as well as to refine the leadership and development model for the Bush Institute’s work in these regions. The workshop culminated in a lively roundtable discussion with experts and practitioners from public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
In November, Mrs. Bush and First Lady of Afghanistan Rula Ghani led a congressional briefing as part of the Afghan Women’s Project. In collaboration with 11 members of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council, they met with 21 Members of Congress to advocate for an integrated strategy that ensures the security and prosperity of the Afghan people and to convey the importance of continued investment in Afghan women and girls.
In April, President and Mrs. Bush visited Botswana and Namibia to demonstrate their continued commitment to the people of Africa and call for continued investment in global health. The trip highlighted the work of Bush Institute affiliate Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, a valuable partner to African countries in the fight against women’s cancers, and the First Ladies Initiative.
Demonstrating the influence of global first ladies, President and Mrs. Bush visited Ella du Plessis High School in Namibia to showcase First Lady Monica Geingos’s youth empowerment efforts and the First Ladies Initiative’s ongoing engagement with her office.
The trip was President Bush’s seventh to Africa since leaving office.
Miriam Spradling is a Manager of Communications for the George W. Bush Presidential Center, where she focuses on the Bush Institute’s global initiatives.
Prior to joining the Bush Center, Miriam was an Assistant Director of External Relations at Stanford Law School, managing recent graduate engagement, direct appeals, and the class gift campaign. Before Stanford, Miriam worked for MD Anderson Cancer Center as a Communications Specialist. In that role, she provided writing, video production, and media relations support. Miriam also worked for ABC13 in Houston as an Associate Producer.
Miriam graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in business. As a student, she completed multiple internships, including roles with former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas Monthly, ESPNU, and ABC News.Full Bio
Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon's Commitment to Defeating Cervical Cancer
January marks Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, a time to remember the thousands of women who have battled cervical cancer and to re-dedicate our collective efforts to ending preventable deaths from the disease.
ICYMI: Bush Institute Young Leader Discusses the Rohingya Crisis on Nightline
Bush Institute Liberty and Leadership Forum young leader Nickey Diamond (Ye Myint Win), of Yangon, Burma, recently spoke to ABC’s Bob Woodruff about the Burmese government’s brutal persecution of the Rohingya people. During the interview, Diamond explained how one-sided messages from the Burmese government and Buddhist leaders manipulate the general public into hating the Rohingya and believing they are terrorists. The segment also enabled Diamond to share his human rights work, which documents Burmese military officers’ crimes against humanity. Diamond has been threatened and often worries for his family’s safety. Still, he told Woodruff, “They’ll never stop what I’m doing.” Watch the full story on ABC Nightline.
Q&A with Dr. Nilofar Ibrahimi, Member of Parliament, Afghanistan
Dr. Nilofar Ibrahimi is a member of the national assembly of Afghanistan. She represents Badakhshan province in the Wolesi Jirga (house of representatives). Her story is one of survival, pursuit of dreams, and dedication to women’s well-being and health. Here, Dr. Ibrahimi shares her thoughts on the current state of Afghan women’s empowerment, the challenges women face in achieving equal rights, and the impact women have on the country’s long-term peace, security, and prosperity.