The George W. Bush Institute Launches "Freedom Square"

The post originally appeared on the Freedom Collection’s blog: Freedom Square.“Freedom is universal.” That’s a phrase that...

The post originally appeared on the Freedom Collection’s blog: Freedom Square.

“Freedom is universal.” That’s a phrase that President George W. Bush used many times in the White House, and it’s the guiding principle of the Bush Institute’s very first program—the Freedom Collection. Freedom is not just for Americans and Europeans, for the rich and educated. Everyone desires it and deserves it.

Originally, we conceived the Freedom Collection as an archive of video history for scholars: dozens, and eventually hundreds, of interviews with dissidents and freedom advocates. But we quickly expanded our notion of the Collection’s audience. All Americans—and people around the world—need to know these personal stories of courage and imagination. And perhaps the most important audience for the Collection is composed of people living under tyranny themselves today in places like Iran, Cuba, and Syria.

But the Freedom Collection is more than an archive and more than an educational platform. It is a forum, a meeting place, an educational institution, and a shining beacon—the online equivalent of Freedom Tower, which glows above the new Bush Center in Dallas.

Today, therefore, we launch the Freedom Collection blog, and we’re calling it “Freedom Square.” It’s hard to think of a time in the past 20 years when Freedom Square has been more necessary. Freedom, after advancing for so long, is now in retreat, and America threatens to curl up into isolation.

Still, there is good reason to hope. The Arab Spring holds the promise of being the most important revolution of our time; Latin America, poised between democracy and autocracy, has gained new self-confidence; and, while Iran’s great civilization remains under a cloud of a dangerous and repressive regime, the Green Movement and the recent presidential election show that vast numbers of citizens want change. Freedom Square, as we conceive it, will help shine the light of liberty and democracy into the world’s darker corners.

James K. Glassman is the Founding Executive Director of the George W. Bush Institute.