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  • George W. Bush Presidential Center

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President and Mrs. George W. Bush to Speak at Graduation of Liberty and Leadership Forum Participants

May 16, 2016

Dallas, TX. – President and Mrs. George W. Bush will speak at the graduation of the 2016 class of the Bush Institute’s Liberty and Leadership Forum on May 25. The class is made up of of 18 Young Leaders from Burma (Myanmar) who are contributing to their country’s transition to democracy.  Also participating are Phyoe Phyoe Aung and Lin Htet Naing, two Young Leaders of the inaugural class who were unable to attend their graduation in 2015 while imprisoned for peacefully advocating for education reform.  Upon their release in April 2016, Aung and Naing were invited to meet with President and Mrs. Bush and to participate in this year’s graduation ceremony. 

The Bush Institute’s Liberty and Leadership Forum equips young leaders with the knowledge and skills they need to lead in countries where transitions to democracy are occurring. It uses a curriculum focused on the principles of liberal democracy and economic freedom, lessons from other democratic transitions, and practical leadership skills.

The Liberty and Leadership program begins with a three-week summer seminar in the United States, including coursework at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas, and a four-day experience tour of Washington, D.C. Through a combination of an intensive year-long curriculum, hands-on skill development, and practical application, the men and women of the Liberty and Leadership Forum will be equipped to help support democratic change in their home country.

The selection of Burma for the first two classes of the Liberty and Leadership Forum builds on President and Mrs. Bush’s history of standing with Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and the brave men and women of Burma’s pro-democracy movement. While now on a path toward democracy, Burma’s destination is not yet guaranteed. One key to success is ensuring that today’s young democracy advocates in Burma are prepared to be tomorrow’s political and civil society leaders. With the knowledge and skills they gain from the program, the men and women of the 2015-2016 Liberty and Leadership Forum class will have many of the tools they need to succeed. 

WHAT:                                 
Liberty and Leadership Forum Graduation
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
5:30 p.m.

WHERE:
The George W. Bush Presidential Center
2943 SMU Boulevard
Dallas, TX 75204

NOTE: Media who plan to attend must apply for credentials here.  This event is not open to the public but will be streamed on www.bushcenter.org.

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Photos from this event can be found here.  A transcription of Mrs. Bush's remarks can be found here.

About the Bush Institute:

Housed within the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the George W. Bush Institute is an action-oriented, nonpartisan policy organization with the mission of cultivating leaders and advancing policies to solve today’s most pressing challenges. It raises current and thought-provoking issues and builds programs to address the challenges facing our nation and our world. The work of the Bush Institute is inspired by the principles that guided the Bushes in public life: education is the foundation of a successful life; freedom is a universal human desire; free enterprise is the engine of economic prosperity; and every human life is precious.

The Bush Institute’s Human Freedom initiative seeks to advance the development of free societies rooted in individual liberty, civil society, and democratic institutions and practices.  Our programs provide a continuum of support for freedom advocates leading nonviolent change in countries that are closed, in transition to democracy, or in retreat from democracy.  We advocate for U.S. global leadership and engagement as essential to increasing freedom in the world.