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#9 | Celebrating the Bush Center's top ten milestones of 2011
Milestone 9: Convened leading voices in freedom movements The Bush Institute’s focus on human freedom seeks to extend freedom around the world by emboldening freedom advocates with education, moral support, and practical tools for networking. The President and Mrs. Bush have long felt an obligation to support those seeking freedom. That is why President Bush met with over 180 dissidents and freedom advocates from every corner of the globe during his term in office. “Freedom,” he told a meeting of dissidents in Prague, “is the design of our Maker, and the longing of every soul. Freedom is the best way to unleash the creativity and economic potential of a nation.” In 2011, the Bush Institute convened some of the most courageous voices in the cause of freedom, bringing to Dallas stories from the front lines in the fight against authoritarianism. In May, we hosted His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who contributed an early draft of what became the 1963 Tibetan Constitution with handwritten comments and suggestions from His Holiness as the founding artifact of the Bush Institute’s Freedom Collection, which will be launched in early 2012.
That same month also brought former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, other U.S. experts, and freedom advocates from several Middle Eastern nations to Dallas to discuss early lessons from the Arab Spring. In November, our Voices for Freedom meeting featured former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar López,, Antonio López-Istúriz White, Secretary General of the European People’s Party and three former political prisoners from Cuba, who shared personal accounts of oppression and explained the power Americans have to transform the lives of those who stand for freedom. At that event, we received a second artifact to the Freedom Collection: hand-copied pages from the Bible been used by members of house churches during their imprisonment in Chinese labor camps.
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.Full Bio