Twenty-five years after his historic election to the presidency, and nearly fifty years after his graduation from the University, the Georgetown community will gather for a series of events examining the vision that drove the campaign and presidency of President William J. Clinton (SFS’ 68).
Hosted by the Institute of Politics and Public Service (GU Politics) at Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy, the event, Clinton 25: Georgetown Reflects On The Vision Of Bill Clinton, will bring together former campaign and administration officials, and other guests to look back on his journey from the Hilltop to the White House, his time as President, and his vision for the country and the world.
The events will take place on Georgetown’s main campus from November 3-6, 2017. Over the course of four days, GU Politics and its campus partners will host panel discussions, movie screenings, original videos, and exhibitions on the 42nd President of the United States.
The symposium will culminate in a keynote address by President Clinton in the University’s historic Gaston Hall.
"There's nothing like coming back to Georgetown," said President Clinton. "I've often said that I don't think I could have become President if I hadn't studied there. I'm grateful for the opportunity to return and continue our discussion on what it means to live a life of public service – I believe it's more important than ever."
"President Clinton is one of the most accomplished global leaders of our time," said University President John J. DeGioia. "We look forward to this opportunity to welcome him back to our Hilltop and learn from his perspective gained from a lifetime of service to our nation."
Inside ‘The War Room’
The series of events will kick off on Friday, November 3rd, the 25th anniversary of Election Day 1992, with a fun “election night watch party” featuring election night broadcasts from 1992 in real time.
On Sunday, November 5th, GU Politics will convene strategists from President Clinton’s 1992 campaign, including Paul Begala, James Carville, Mandy Grunwald, and Rodney Slater to look back at the dynamics, messages, strategies and tactics that helped elect the first Democratic President in nearly two decades. The conversation will follow a screening of “The War Room,” the critically-acclaimed documentary about the 1992 Clinton campaign.
The Clinton Vision
On Monday, November 6th, the symposium will feature a series of discussions exploring President Clinton’s vision for America and the world, and his view of public service, and how they framed his presidency.
- Vision of America will be a reflection on how President Clinton viewed the potential of America and the domestic policy agenda his vision inspired. The conversation will feature former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Maria Echaveste, former Senior Advisor for Policy and Strategy Rahm Emanuel, former White House Political Director Minyon Moore, and former Director of the Domestic Policy Council Bruce Reed. (Discussion co-hosted by GU Politics and the McCourt School of Public Policy.)
- Vision of the World will be a reflection on President Clinton’s vision of the world and America’s leadership role in the international community, and the foreign policy agenda it inspired. The conversation will feature former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former President of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo, and former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott. (Discussion co-hosted by GU Politics and the Walsh School of Foreign Service.)
- Vision of Leadership and Public Service will reflect on President Clinton’s leadership style, his belief in government as a tool to help people, and his efforts to inspire Americans to public service. The conversation will feature former White House Chiefs of Staff Mack McLarty, Erskine Bowles, and John Podesta. (Discussion co-hosted by GU Politics and the Baker Center for Leadership & Governance.)
- The symposium will conclude with a keynote address by President Bill Clinton. (Address co-hosted by GU Politics and the Georgetown University Office of the President.)
Clinton at Georgetown
A 1968 graduate of Georgetown’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, President Clinton has a long relationship with the University. As Governor of Arkansas, he delivered the 1980 commencement address on campus. In 1991, as a Democratic candidate for president, he presented three “New Covenant” speeches in the University’s historic Gaston Hall on Responsibility and Rebuilding the American Community, Economic Change and American Security. As President-elect, he addressed the foreign diplomatic corps from the steps of Georgetown’s historic Old North building.
In 2013, he delivered the first of four “Clinton Lectures” at Georgetown exploring the people, events, lessons and guiding principles that have shaped his career in public service. The lectures examined the framework for a lifetime spent championing an idea espoused by his Georgetown professor Carroll Quigley: that America is the greatest nation in history because our people have always believed in two things – that tomorrow can be better than today and that every one of us has a personal, moral responsibility to make it so. His keynote address at “Clinton 25” will be the final of the four speeches in this series.
During his time at Georgetown, Clinton served as class president, served on the student council, ran for president of the student council and lost, and worked for Sen. William Fulbright (D-Ark.), then chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The Phi Beta Kappa and Kappa Kappa Psi member earned a Rhodes Scholarship to attend the University of Oxford after he graduated from Georgetown.
“As a Georgetown undergrad, I witnessed first-hand the energy and excitement President Clinton’s candidacy brought to the Hilltop, and his vision inspired me to dedicate the next twenty years of my life to being a part of the political process,” said GU Politics executive director Mo Elleithee (SFS’ 94). “The 25th anniversary of his election is the perfect opportunity to reflect on that time, and harness it to inspire the next generation of leaders to public service.”
Reaffirming the Promise of Politics
Through its Fellows program and other programming like speakers series, career events and mentorship, the Institute of Politics and Public Service connects and empowers students and the community in an effort to improve and reimagine politics and public service and reaffirm its promise.
Founded in the fall of 2015 as a part of the University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, GU Politics programming is open to the entire Georgetown community.