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The Year Ahead for the Bush Center
In this Bush Institute interview, Kenneth Hersh, President and CEO of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, shares his observations since becoming the leader of the Bush Center in 2016. He also presents his goals for the Bush Center in 2017.
Six months into your tenure, what has surprised you most about the work of the Bush Center?
I have been surprised by the depth of the work that is going on at the Bush Center. We are tackling some of the most pressing issues of our time in a thoughtful and serious manner. The Bush Center is so much more than the museum.
Their priorities inspire our work and the work here is done in partnership with them.
You speak of the Bush Center being relevant to current issues. How do you see that goal playing out in 2017?
Obviously with a new administration, we can be helpful in being an educational resource in navigating certain challenges. We are able to access resources across the country and around the world given our platform and those resources will be valuable in the months ahead.
At the same time, the voice of a former President is important to emphasize leadership traits that inform those taking on major responsibilities. We have enjoyed the manner in which our work has been received.
What are your goals for the Bush Center in 2017?
2017 will be a big year for the Bush Center.
President Bush’s paintings of the courageous men and women who served in the military will shine a bright light on the work we are doing to help post-9/11 veterans deal with their invisible wounds of war.
The release on February 28 of his new book, Portraits of Courage: A Commander In Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors, along with the opening on March 2 of the special exhibit at our museum of those portraits, will showcase this work.
In addition, we will emphasize our work within our Global Leadership Impact Center, which houses our Human Freedom Initiative, Women’s Initiative, and Global Health Initiative through our affiliate Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon.
Finally, my personal goal is to broaden the participation in our programming at many levels, through increased attendance, participation in our working groups, and membership in our advisory councils.
The Bush Center is both a regional and national asset. My goal is to engage as much and as often as possible.
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