International Presidential Fellows
In the span of one year, the International Presidential Fellows Program has expanded from the original group of two Japanese students to its current group of six students coming from Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, and Japan. The inclusion of students from foreign universities as Presidential Fellows first began in 2011, and quickly became an important component of CSPC’s mission to develop future civic leaders. Since 1970, through its Presidential Fellows Program, CSPC has convened a select group of university students to speak candidly with American policymakers and experts. In the age of globalization, the inclusion of international students brings fresh perspectives and enriches the program’s discourse.
The 2012-2013 group of International Fellows includes Ms. Lore Hayek of Austria, Mr. Rodrigo Morais Chaves of Brazil, Mr. Alexander Ognibene of Canada, Ms. Meicheng Wang of China, and Ms. Noriko Amanuma and Ms. Mutsumi Yoshikawa of Japan (to see their university affiliations, see the list of 2012-2103 Fellows). The wide range of interests reflected by their paper topics is both impressive, and indicative of the quality of work of the Fellows program as a whole. Ms. Hayek is a Ph.D. candidate studying the influence of American media on election campaigns. Mr. Chaves is pursuing a Master’s Degree through the Getúlio Vargas Foundation, where he conducts research on America’s role in the history of nuclear energy development in Brazil. Ms. Wang is researching urban planning and the special conditions for America’s collaborative planning and collaborative governance. Ms. Amanuma’s paper focuses on the role of social media on American politics, especially the 2012 presidential election. Lastly, Ms. Yoshikawa studies industrial policy, with her research directed to the similarities and differences between American and Japanese industrial policy. These papers are eligible for the Marron, Moffett and Kilmarx prizes, as well as publication in the annual Fellows’ Review.
International Fellows benefit from a number of activities during their trips to Washington, DC for the fall and spring conferences. During the Fall 2012 Conference, the six Fellows met with Austrian Ambassador to the United States, Hans Peter Manz, with Scotty Greenwood at the Canada-America Business Council, and had a guided tour of the National Mall.
In its inaugural year (2011-2012), thanks to the generosity of Toyota Motor Corporation, CSPC was able to partner with the US-Japan Research Institute to offer two Fellowship spots to students from Japan's top universities. The participants in our inaugural International Presidential Fellows Program were Mr. Kenji Hayata and Ms. Miki Ito. Mr. Hayata attends Waseda University where he is majoring in Economic and Industrial Development in East Asian Countries with a minor in Political Science. He is an intern with Foreign Affairs Japan, and is interested in researching the role of think tanks in the United States and how similar institutions might be established in Japan. He also spent a year studying in the United States at Bates College and a summer in Washington, DC working for the NHK Washington Bureau.
Ms. Ito attends the University of Tokyo where she is majoring in Law. She is a member of the U Tokyo Legal Consulting Office, and is researching the decision-making process of American political leaders. She spent her junior high and high school years in the United States, graduating cum laude from Choate Rosemary Hall.
The 2011-2012 program included private meetings with leaders and scholars including His Excellency Ichiro Fujisaki, Ambassador of Japan to the United States;; Mr. Bill Breer, former Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; Ms. Elyse Bauer Anderson, Foreign Policy Director for Congressman Frank Wolf; Ms. Meredith Broadbent, Scholl Chair for International Business at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; and Dr. Greg Smith, Senior Researcher at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
If you are a representative of a college or university outside the United States and are interested in joining the International Presidential Fellows Program, please contact Andy Steele, Program Director, at 202-872-9800 or via
STEM Education Policy
Since the close of our Strengthening America’s Future Initiative (SAFI), we have continued our work in education reform. One issue that revealed itself as paramount in the SAFI Education and Competitiveness Issue Team was STEM Education, so we decided to focus this follow-on work in that area. We reconstituted the team, with Roy Romer, head of the Broad-Gates Strong American Schools Initiative; Norm Augustine, chair of the National Academies Study, Rising Above the Gathering Storm; and former U.S. Senator and Secretary of Labor Bill Brock serving as co-chairs.
One session was held on the Hill and featured remarks by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rep. James Langevin (D-RI) as well as a bipartisan group of more than a dozen Hill staff. Discussion focused around ESEA reauthorization as well as STEM-specific legislation that various members were introducing. At a more recent meeting, Stephen Pruitt from Achieve led a discussion with our group on the state-level efforts that he is coordinating on common core standards.
The most recent product of this initiative is "A Letter on STEM Education to America's Parents." To read the letter, click here.
In early 2009, the U.S. and Syrian governments actively engaged each other at very high levels, creating more fertile ground for cooperative efforts. The Bush Administration had withdrawn the U.S. Ambassador to Syria in 2005. However, in the first half of 2009, Secretary Hillary Clinton has taken steps toward resuming relations by sending three envoys to the country.
The Center is helping to build non-governmental links between the two countries. From March 9-12, 2009, it lead a group of distinguished American and Syrian leaders in diplomacy, science, health care, and higher education and convened a series of meetings in Damascus. CSPC Trustee Pamela Scholl led the American delegation, which included Nobel Laureate David Baltimore and former U.S. Ambassador to Syria (2001-2003) Theodore Kattouf.
The goals of the exchange were: to increase and enhance discussions among scientists and medical and higher education professionals and create a sustainable dialogue among these professionals; to expand knowledge and mutual understanding on both sides; and to identify areas for potential collaboration.
The Center, the British Syrian Society and the Damascus University collaborated to convene these experts under the sponsorship of Mr. Wafic Rida Saïd, a Syrian-born businessman and philanthropist. During three days of frank and substantive discussion, the delegations looked at the challenges facing Syria, ways of improving U.S.-Syrian relations, and areas for greater cooperation. The delegation was well-received by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, with whom the delegation met for an hour. President al-Assad welcomed the exchange and indicated his support for the recommendations for future cooperation arising out of the dialogue. He has since assigned specific responsibility for follow-up on the delegations' recommendations to the President of Damascus University.
The Center is currently completing a report that lays out the findings of the expert working groups on health, science and higher education. It will provide a snapshot of the major challenges that the groups identified in these areas and offer concrete recommendations for the way forward. In addition, the Center is currently examining other methods for increasing U.S. links to Syria, to build on the successful March trip.
This team examines an array of issues relevant to national security, including homeland security, intelligence and nuclear proliferation.
National Security issue team members
Mobilizing NATO in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Acting under Article 5 of the NATO Constitution, NATO began control of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in 2003, a body of 42 countries working in Afghanistan to support the Afghan National Army and National Police. Recently, though, many NATO nations operating in Afghanistan under ISAF have been continually withdrawing more and more troops from the region and drawing back their support. This Americanization of the war in Afghanistan is posing an extreme threat to the stabilization of the nation, the safety of countries all around the world, and the future of the NATO alliance.
On August 1, 2009, the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress launched an action initiative to persuade European leaders to encourage NATO to enact reforms and encourage member nations to share more equitably in NATO’s involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Since the launch, the Center has worked with Members of Congress and leading American and European experts to develop an assessment of unused capabilities of aligned NATO members that could be brought to bear in Afghanistan. The Center is also working to establish a report describing what the consequences of failure in Afghanistan would be to both the European community and the NATO alliance. The project is co-chaired by Center President David Abshire and W. Bruce Weinrod, the former Secretary of Defense Representative for Europe and Defense Advisor to the U.S. Mission to NATO. It is advised by the recently-retired Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Bantz J. Craddock.
On January 26, 2010 the initiative published its first report, entitled Mobilizing NATO for Afghanistan and Pakistan: Ensuring the Alliance's Future.
A conference in Europe has been organized between American Congressional staffers and their European counterparts to foster an open exchange about NATO’s role in Afghanistan. The conference is scheduled for early 2010.
Mobilizing NATO for Afghanistan and Pakistan Update
Infrastructure and Transportation
This team examines the nation's infrastructure and looked for not only flaws in the current system, but also ways to use infrastructure spending to meet wide-ranging challenges from alternative energy to homeland security.
Infrastructure and Transportation issue team members
Strengthening America’s Future Initiative
In September 2008, the Center received a major grant from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation to help the new Administration confront 50 years of strategic failures. Building on President Eisenhower's "Solarium Exercise," the Center is conducting a comprehensive assessment of the challenges and opportunities facing the nation as well as the resources available. Three influential strategic leaders are guiding the project: David Walker, President and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and former Comptroller General of the United States; Norman Augustine, former Chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation; and Roy Romer, former Governor of Colorado, former Superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District, and Senior Advisor to the President of College Board.
A Steering Committee of eminent public and private sector leaders developed the project's methodology and are providing guidance and insight throughout the effort. Members of this group include: The Honorable C. Fred Bergsten, former Assistant Secretary of Treasury; former Senator Chuck Hagel; former Congressman Lee Hamilton; The Honorable Carla Hills, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Trade Representative; and The Honorable Thomas Pickering, Former Ambassador to the United Nations, Israel, Russia, India, Jordan, Nigeria, and El Salvador.
During all phases of this project the Center is working closely with the President, Vice-President and Congressional leaders to assist the work of the new Administration and to communicate the project's findings to the American people.
SAFI issue teams:
- Budget and Taxes: examined the revenue and spending side of the federal budget, naturally looking for ways to reduce deficits and restore the fiscal health of the government.
- Commission on U.S. Federal Leadership in Health and Medicine: assessed current challenges in the U.S. health system and developed a slate of strategic recommendations for federal leadership and action to help address these challenges in the United States and worldwide in the years ahead.
- Education and Competitiveness: examined the nation's educational system, including how a quality system of national standards can be developed and what role education plays in national competitiveness.
- Energy, Climate Change, and Resource Management: examined options and offered federal policy recommendations on energy production, technology, efficiency, investment and climate policy.
- Finance, Economics, and Trade: examined not only how the government will need to continue to lead the country out of the crisis but also how public policy should be structured to prepare for contingencies not yet seen.
- Infrastructure and Transportation: examined the nation's infrastructure and looked for not only flaws in the current system, but also ways to use infrastructure spending to meet wide-ranging challenges from alternative energy to homeland security.
- Innovations, Comparative Advantage and Synergies (ICAST): identified cross-cutting and exacerbating problems and mis-investments at the federal government level as well as solutions that cut across issues and have multiplier effects.
- National Security: examined an array of issues relevant to national security, including homeland security, intelligence and nuclear proliferation.
- Revitalizing the U.S. Armed Forces: looked at challenges facing the U.S. military after nearly seven years of war in Afghanistan and, for most of that time, Iraq.
- Restoring America's Trust and Influence Abroad: focused on American foreign policy, public diplomacy and "soft power" with an eye toward how the United States can repair its global standing and image.
- Science and Technology: focused on primary science and technology issues facing President Obama and the Congress.
- U.S. Geopolitical Relations: a series of region-specific working groups examined the myriad issues confronting U.S. geopolitical relations and developed recommendations to repair and strengthen relationships around the globe. U.S.-Latin America Relations, U.S.-Europe Relations, U.S. Africa Relations, U.S. -Middle East Relations, U.S.-Asia Relations, U.S.-China Relations
- U.S. Innovation and Growth: Small and Mid-size Business: looked specifically at small and mid-size businesses, which generate many jobs and are responsible for a great deal of U.S. innovation and identified the primary challenges for small and mid-size businesses and ways for the government to best support them.
In January 2007, the Center launched Agenda 2008 to help prepare the new President to confront the critical issues facing the country.
The centerpiece of Agenda 2008, A Call to Greatness: Challenging Our Next President, draws from history to identify the characteristics and strategies needed for the next President to succeed. Published in January 2008, this unique book was distributed to all major Presidential candidates and key Members of Congress.
Through a series of focused discussions among leading policymakers, academics, and business leaders, the Center began identifying breakthrough policy options that could gain bipartisan support and meet the critical challenges facing the nation. The results of these discussions are regularly shared with the Administration, Congressional leaders, other public policy organizations, the media and the public.
Agenda 2008 culminated in the Strengthening America's Future Initiative (SAFI), a comprehensive assessment of our strengths, weaknesses and critical vulnerabilities. It also included a strategic framework outlining the leadership and specific recommendations needed to confront the nation's challenges. This effort followed the framework of President Eisenhower's Solarium Exercise, which developed policies and created the institutions that won the Cold War. SAFI's preliminary recommendations were presented to the President, Congress and the American people on March 20, 2009.
Discussion On Presidential Organization for Effective Leadership
As part of Agenda 2008, on February 20, 2008, the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress hosted a panel discussion at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, to focus attention on the upcoming Presidential election and the need for inclusive leadership and strategic organization for effective governing. Following the model set by former Senators David Boren and Sam Nunn during their January 2008 forum on bipartisanship at University of Oklahoma, the Center's panel addressed the current landscape and asked the question: "Can the next President rise above partisan posturing and organize for effective leadership?" Moderated by Center President David M. Abshire, the panel featured: The Honorable Bill Brock, former Senator and Chairman of the Republican National Committee; Norman Ornstein, Ph.D., Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute; and The Honorable Leon Panetta, former Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton.
View the February 20, 2008, discussion
CSPC is uniquely qualified to marshal the expertise required to create transformational change on critical national issues. The Center demonstrated this in 2000 by providing groundbreaking publications to assist in the Presidential transition.
Triumphs and Tragedies of the Modern Presidency: Seventy-Six Case Studies in Presidential Leadership was prepared for the two 2000 Presidential candidates. It includes an analysis of the first 100 days of all Presidents from Franklin Roosevelt to Bill Clinton. During the transition, George W. Bush's transition team contacted the Center for additional copies and assistance.
Comprehensive Strategic Reform was drafted and shared with the Vice President, Secretary of State, and the National Security Advisor. This call for a post-Cold War net assessment was in publication on 9/11 and reflects the challenges of the new war on terror.
In Harm's Way: Intervention and Prevention summarizes the growing number and complexity of threats to U.S. security and provides checklists used by past Presidents in their decisions over the necessity of an intervention.
Dialogues on Presidential Leadership: The President, Congress and the Media includes a discussion between Senators John Breaux and Chuck Hagel and presentations by David Gergen, James Schlesinger, Eleanor Clift, Michael Barone and William Brock, with recommendations to the President-elect on his relations with Congress and the media.
Advancing Innovation: Improving the S&T Advisory Structure and Process stresses the urgency of appointing a Presidential Science Advisor and gaining sustained corporate and Congressional support for basic science research.
Forward Strategic Empowerment captures the benefits of synergizing the planning and actions of the State Department, regional Commanders-in-Chief, and key U.S. agencies.
The Southern Cone, a briefing paper prepared by Ambassador Richard McCormack and widely circulated among White House, State Department, and Treasury Department officials, encouraged the Executive Branch to better marshal national resources to deal with increasingly complex financial contingencies in Latin America and around the globe.
Restoring America's Trust and Influence Abroad
This team focuses on American foreign policy, public diplomacy and "soft power" with an eye toward how the United States can repair its global standing and image.
Restoring America's Trust and Influence Abroad issue team members
Innovations, Comparative Advantages and Synergies (ICAST)
This group identifies cross-cutting and exacerbating problems and mis-investments at the federal government level as well as solutions that cut across issues and have multiplier effects.
Innovations, Comparative Advantages and Synergies issue team members
The Publius Award draws its name from those Founders—Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison—who authored the Federalist Papers in 1787-1788, under the collective pseudonym, Publius. These leaders came together from different schools of political thought for a higher purpose. Specifically, they sought to ensure ratification of the Constitution by asserting with prescience that a federal republic would best preserve the sovereignty of our new nation while safe-guarding the civil and political liberties that are the inalienable rights of every human. At the Annual Awards Dinner, the Center often presents the Publius Award to one or more individuals who have demonstrated bi-partisan leadership at the federal level of government.
In March of 2013, CSPC presented Senators Mark Warner and Bob Corker with its Publius Award at the 46th Annual Awards Dinner. Click here for more information on the 46th Awards Dinner.
In certain instances, the Publius Award will be named after a particular U.S. President and given to a leader whose contributions reflect the best attributes of that past President's leadership.
In April of 2012, CSPC presented Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta with the Eisenhower Award at the its 45th Annual Awards Dinner. Click here for more information about the award and the 45th Awards Dinner.
On April 8, 2010, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke was presented with the Center’s Alexander Hamilton Award for his courageous actions in facing the unparalleled financial crisis of our time. This award draws its name from Alexander Hamilton, the brillant strategic thinker and first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury who initiated policies that built the financial foundation of the United States during the country's critical first years. Center Trustee Stephen Schwarzman, Trustee David Gergen, and the Honorable Paul Volcker were participants in the program, which also honored the Center’s 2009-2010 Presidential Felllows.
Previous recipients of CSPC recognitions include:
The Honorable David Walker
Senator Dianne Feinstein
Senator John W. Warner, Jr.
Dr. David M. Abshire
Ambassador Max M. Kampelman
Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
The Honorable Thomas J. Ridge
The Honorable William H. Frist
The Honorable John Breaux
The Honorable Chuck Hagel
Secretary of the Treasury Robert A. Rubin
The Honorable Howard Baker
The Honorable John McCain
The Honorable Patrick Moynihan
The Honorable Richard Lugar
Vice President Al Gore
The Honorable Sam Nunn
The Honorable John D. Rockefeller IV
Ambassador George Mitchell
The Honorable William Richardson
President Gerald R. Ford
The Honorable Alexis M. Herman
The Honorable Leon Panetta
The Honorable Mark Warner
The Honorable Bob Corker