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Even in Summer, Freedom Matters to Students
A few weeks back, I was asked to share the Bush Institute’s Human Freedom Initiative with a group of Texas high
school students participating in Camp 43, a summer leadership course offered by the Bush Library. What a thrill it was that the group of 25 or so young people were enthusiastic about concepts of freedom and the stories of people struggling for liberty around the world.
Unfortunately, not all students are so engaged on topics of leadership, freedom, and general civics. That’s why the Institute developed Freedom Matters!, a supplemental curriculum that helps students connect the foundations of freedom to today’s global struggles for liberty.
National assessment data reveals that only 24 percent of high school seniors in the United States are “proficient” in civics, a trend going back more than a decade. That’s simply not sustainable for a free society whose life blood is informed participation from its citizenry.
It’s exciting that this resource is already finding audiences. This past school year, North Texas’ Lovejoy Independent School District incorporated Freedom Matters! into “Celebrate Freedom Week.” Each fall, students in Texas public schools study their country’s founding documents and the principles of freedom. Lovejoy ISD students used the curriculum to explore liberty in their own country and the experience of freedom and democracy around the world.
Freedom Matters! can be viewed here and downloaded free-of-charge.
Christopher Walsh serves as Senior Program Manager for the Human Freedom and Women's Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute. In this role, Christopher manages communications, evaluation, and public policy research projects that advance freedom and democracy in the world. He also develops and implements efforts to make the Bush Institute a welcoming place for today’s generation of dissidents and democracy advocates, overseeing visits for training, inspiration, and insight.
Prior to joining the Bush Institute, Christopher worked with the International Republican Institute in Washington, D.C. As IRI’s program officer for Central and Eastern Europe, he coordinated political party building and civic advocacy programs in the Balkans and Turkey.
A native of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Christopher is a graduate of American University with a B.A. in International Studies. He currently lives in Dallas with his wife and three young children.Full Bio
Chinese Prisoner’s Death Holds a Message for Americans and China
Liu Xiaobo, China’s most prominent dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner died this week. His death holds a message for Americans and for China.
Release of Chinese Political Prisoner a Timely Reminder to Support Freedom Advocates Abroad
More than half the world’s population still lives in countries where basic political rights and civil liberties are only partly respected, if at all.
Bringing Freedom to the Forefront of 21st Century Politics
Is the global liberal democratic order in danger? Purposefully constructed in the aftermath of World War II, this order -- and the American leadership that is central to its success --has contributed to securing peace and expanding prosperity in the United States and around the world. Today, that order appears to be dissolving. This crisis is not new or sudden; it has been mounting for several years. Global challenges like authoritarian capitalism, violent extremism, demographic pressures, and displaced populations have placed global freedom in decline. Fraying traditional alliances united by core values of freedom are increasingly weak to respond. It is alarming that the downdraft in democratic resilience over the past decade or more includes countries that have long been part of the consolidated democratic West. This is democratic deconsolidation. In much of the Western world, we see a rise in demagogic populism, illiberalism, nationalism, protectionism, and waning conf
The Importance of Speaking Truth to Tyrants
What the president of the United States says matters. Even during the realpolitik policies of détente under Richard Nixon, it was still clear that American policy was based on a set of core values. Nixon’s practical goals of reaching deals with America’s adversaries was never based on the “great chemistry” with himself or praising the Soviet or Communist Chinese leadership doing a “fantastic job.” When the president aligns himself with the autocrats and dictators, he aligns America with their oppression. He sends a message that corruption and brutality are not our concern. Contrast that with how Ronald Reagan defied much of world opinion in calling out the brutality of the Soviet system. Natan Sharansky, then a refusenik imprisoned in a Soviet gulag, later wrote for the Weekly Standard of his thoughts on Reagan’s pronouncement that the USSR was an evil empire: “It was the great, brilliant moment whe