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  • George W. Bush Presidential Center

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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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Former President Bush And Mrs. Laura Bush Outline Vision And Goals for the George W. Bush Institute

February 3, 2013

“I pledged to govern based on principles that empower people to improve their lives and strengthen our Nation. These principles…are timeless ideals that inspired our Nation’s founders. And they will guide the work of the Bush Institute.” George W. Bush, November 12, 2009

The George W. Bush Institute

Former President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura delivered remarks at Southern Methodist University Thursday outlining their vision for the George W. Bush Institute, a unique public policy Institute that will link scholarly research with practical results and real-world action. The Institute will be part of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, which will also include a Presidential library archive and museum, and which will be the first presidential library complex to house a policy institute.

The Institute’s mission is to advance policy initiatives that expand freedom, opportunity, responsibility, and compassion. Former President Bush announced today that the Institute’s programming will start in the spring of 2010 and will focus on four initial areas: education, global health, human freedom, and economic growth.

Across all areas, the Institute will work to empower women and social entrepreneurs.

FOCUS AREA: EDUCATION

“I believe every child can learn, every school should be accountable for results, and measuring progress is the best way to ensure children master the basics.” George W. Bush, November 12, 2009

Building on the Progress of No Child Left Behind

As President, George W. Bush revolutionized America’s education system through the bipartisan No Child Left Behind Act, which brought accountability to schools, raised student performance, and helped narrow the achievement gap. The Bush Institute will partner with SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development to bring together scholars and practitioners to pursue the next steps in education reform and to help prepare more effective teachers, advance the principles of accountability, and enable schools to make better use of the data collected and tools provided by No Child Left Behind.

Bush Institute Announces Education Fellows and National Conference on Education

President Bush today named Dr. Jim Guthrie and Sandy Kress as the Institute’s first two education fellows. Dr. Guthrie is currently a professor at Vanderbilt University, where he helped lift the Education School to the nation’s top ranking. Beginning on January 1, he will serve as the Director of Education Policy Studies; he will become the first concurrent fellow, with joint appointments as a Senior Fellow at the Institute and as a full professor at SMU. Mr. Kress, a former member of the Dallas School Board, will serve as the Director of Education Policy Development and Outreach.

Along with the Institute’s first associate – education expert Beth Ann Bryan – Dr. Guthrie and Mr. Kress will oversee an innovative product to study how best to recruit, prepare, evaluate, and reward leaders in the field of education. The Institute will work with school boards, private education companies, and universities – including SMU – to ensure the findings of this study are applied directly to America’s schools. The project will be launched in Dallas in March 2010 with a national conference on education, which will bring together educators, scholars, and private and public sector officials.

FOCUS AREA: GLOBAL HEALTH

“I believe in the timeless call, ‘to whom much is given, much is required.’ It should affect the conscience of our country when a child goes hungry or dies needlessly from a mosquito bite. I also believe America has a strategic interest in alleviating suffering.” George W. Bush, November 12, 2009

Developing New Ways to Help Those in Need

The Bush Institute will build upon the global health and development programs created by President Bush, including the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the Malaria Initiative, and the Millennium Challenge Account. These programs helped save millions of lives and created a new approach to development based on partnership, not paternalism.

Bush Names Ambassador Mark Dybul as Institute’s First Global Health Fellow

Ambassador Dybul led the Bush Administration’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which expanded the number of people receiving anti-retroviral treatment from 50,000 in 2003 to more than two million in 2008. He now serves as co-director of the global health program at Georgetown University. Under Ambassador Dybul’s leadership, the Institute will develop a strategy to provide timely, effective, and comprehensive health services to new mothers and babies.

FOCUS AREA: HUMAN FREEDOM

“As I said in my second Inaugural Address, extending the reach of freedom ‘is the urgent requirement of our nation’s security, and the calling of our time.’ History shows that free societies are peaceful societies.” George W. Bush, November 12, 2009

Standing with Advocates of Freedom and Democracy

Over the past century, we have seen the transformative power of freedom in places such as Japan, South Korea, and Eastern Europe. Today, the forces of freedom face new challenges in countries such as North Korea, Cuba, Burma, Iran, and Venezuela. While in office, former President Bush met with hundreds of dissidents to hear their stories, highlight their cases, and stand in solidarity with their struggle for freedom. The Bush Institute will continue this important work by supporting advocates of freedom around the globe.

Institute Will Create “Freedom Collection,” Names First Human Freedom Fellow

The Bush Institute will assemble a Freedom Collection, which will be a repository of video histories, memoirs, and documents from democratic activists; it will be searchable online for all to see. Leaders who have agreed to participate include President Vaclav Havel of the Czech Republic; President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia; Mohsen Sazegara, an Iranian activist; and Kang Chol-hwan, who spent ten years in a North Korean gulag.

Former President Bush also announced that Oscar Morales Guevara will serve as the Institute’s first Fellow in Human Freedom. For years, Oscar and his fellow Colombians suffered at the hands of a narco-terrorist network called the FARC. Oscar launched a movement through Facebook called “one million voices against the FARC.” One month later, more than 12 million people in 40 countries came out to support rallies and proclaim “No Mas FARC.” As part of his fellowship, Oscar will help organize a conference that brings together cyber-dissidents from around the world to share lessons on using the Internet to promote democratic change.

FOCUS AREA: ECONOMIC GROWTH

“I believe the role of government is not to create wealth, but to create the conditions that allow entrepreneurs and innovators to thrive. … History shows that the greater threat to prosperity is not too little government involvement, but too much.” George W. Bush, November 12, 2009

Promoting Free Trade

The Bush Institute will convene a task force of leading economists to promote free trade. Free trade is under threat from protectionism and isolationism. The task force will analyze the benefits trade has delivered in the past, and the opportunities it can create for American workers and developing nations in the future.

Promoting Energy Security

Thanks to recent advances in drilling technology, America’s natural gas reserves have expanded by 35 percent; America now has enough natural gas to last us an estimated 90 years. In April 2010, the Bush Institute will host a conference titled “Natural Gas Nation” with the Maguire Energy Institute of SMU’s Cox Business School. The conference will bring together experts from across the country to discuss the benefits of American natural gas production and help guide the way toward stronger, cleaner economic growth for America and the world.

EMPOWERING WOMEN AND SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS

“The Initiative will focus on advancing social and economic opportunities for women and girls around the world. … Research shows that when you educate and empower women, you improve nearly every other aspect of society. … The Institute will form partnerships with women educators, political leaders, health professionals, and entrepreneurs all over the world – especially from the Middle East.” Laura W. Bush, November 12, 2009

Within all four areas of focus, the Bush Institute will prioritize involvement from two important groups: social entrepreneurs and women.

Social Entrepreneurs

Just as business entrepreneurs pioneer new ideas to create jobs, social entrepreneurs find innovative ways to help people. The Institute will promote social entrepreneurship by conducting research on best practices and shining a spotlight on successful agents of change – including faith-based organizations. Next year in Dallas, the Institute will host a conference on social entrepreneurship, during which it will honor an organization that has achieved outstanding results.

Women’s Initiative

Numerous studies show that when you educate and empower women, all other aspects of society improve as well. President and Mrs. Bush believe strongly that women will lead the democracy movement in the Middle East – and they will have an ally in the Bush Institute. The Institute will involve women in many different ways – from saving the lives of new mothers in Africa, to empowering women entrepreneurs in America, to encouraging women reformers around the world.