Quarter One 2024 Bush Institute Briefing

The Bush Institute is focused on ensuring opportunity for all, strengthening democracy, and advancing free societies.

A note from David J. Kramer

The Bush Institute’s efforts to advance free societies, ensure opportunity for everyone, and strengthen our democracy got off to a strong start in the first quarter of 2024.

Hannah Johnson, Program Manager for Global Policy at the Bush Institute, spoke at the White House in February on the global impact of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). In March, Congress reauthorized the program, which has saved more than 25 million lives and helped 5.5 million babies be born HIV free since its inception 20 years ago. While the reauthorization was just for one year, we hope that lawmakers will return to a five-year reauthorization next year and continue important congressional oversight of the program.

The Bush Institute continues to stand with democracies around the world. Igor Khrestin, our Bradford M. Freeman Managing Director of Global Policy, traveled to Taiwan as part of a delegation led by the Global Taiwan Institute and met President Tsai Ing-wen. They discussed the threat to Taiwan from China, particularly against the backdrop of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

We continue to draw attention to the Taliban’s mafia-like behavior. A new series titled the Captured State, authored by my Bush Institute colleagues Natalie Gonnella-Platts, Jessica Ludwig, and Albert Torres, was released this past quarter outlining ways the international community should confront this challenge, particularly by targeting foreign enablers. We know the series is hitting its mark since Taliban-linked entities criticized some of the findings. Additionally, Chairman Michael McCaul submitted a statement for the record at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing in January and U.S. Representative Joe Wilson submitted two of the papers into the record at a hearing in March.

Here at home, we explored how universities and academic medical institutions are driving economic prosperity in America’s cities. J.H. Cullum Clark, Director of the Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative, released a report outlining how cities can leverage “eds and meds” institutions to grow their metros.

We also remain committed to showcasing pluralism in action. Utah Republican Governor Spencer Cox and Kansas Democratic Governor Laura Kelly took on “The Art of Disagreeing Better” in January at an Engage at the Bush Center event presented by NexPoint. Cox also appeared on the same topic on an episode of The Strategerist podcast. We also welcomed our ninth class of 60 diverse and accomplished leaders to the Presidential Leadership Scholars program in January as they make a difference in their communities, our nation, and the world.

The Catalyst: A Journal of Ideas from the Bush Institute explored “The State of American Democracy” – how we got here and how we move forward. The issue features interviews with President George W. Bush and Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) and articles by Governor Kelly and Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin.

Lastly, my friend Ken Hersh, the Bush Center’s President and CEO, kicked off a series in The Dallas Morning News with a piece titled “A survival guide for a moderate conservative.” He shared tips on navigating the 2024 election cycle and how he remains optimistic.

Thank you once again for your support advancing President and Mrs. Bush’s timeless values of freedom, opportunity, accountability, and compassion.

Continue reading the Bush Institute Briefing (PDF)