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.
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.
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.
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.
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 2014, CSPC had the pleasure to award Senators Susan Collins and Joe Manchin with its Publius Award at the 47th Annual Awards Dinner. Click here for more information about the 47th Annual Dinner.
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:
Senator Joe Manchin
Senator Susan Collins
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
For more than forty years, Presidential Fellows have been coming to Washington, DC, to learn about leadership and governance, to share their outstanding research and scholarship, and to develop as future leaders of character. This unique non-resident program offers up to seventy-five top undergraduate and graduate students from leading colleges and universities across the country a year-long opportunity to study the U.S. Presidency, the public policymaking process, and our Chief Executive’s relations with Congress, allies, the media, and the American public. Our goal is to develop a new generation of national leaders committed to public service.
The Presidential Fellows are selected by their colleges and universities with guidance from the Center. Fellows travel to Washington, DC, twice a year to attend three-day conferences. At these policy workshops, Fellows discuss national issues with scholars of American government and international affairs, senior government officials, and leaders from the fields of business, media, public policy, and the military. Recent speakers have included Jon Clifton, Deputy Director of the Gallup World Poll; Dr. Donald Marron, Director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, former member of the President's Council of Economic Advisers and former acting director of the Congressional Budget Office; Dr. Vint Cerf, Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist at Google, recognized co-inventor of the internet, former Chairman of ICANN, and former project manager for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency; Tom Ridge, former member of the United States House of Representatives, the 43rd Governor of Pennsylvania, former Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, and the first United States Secretary of Homeland Security; and George Stephanopoulos, an alumnus of the Fellows Program and chief political correspondent for ABC News.
The centerpiece of the Fellowship is the student’s original research paper on the Presidency or Congress. Each student identifies a faculty advisor on his or her home campus and is appointed a Mentor from a relevant field by the Center. Students make presentations at each conference, are eligible to receive two awards, and compete for publication in our annual anthology, The Fellows Review.
During the Spring Leadership Conference, Presidential Fellows also attend the Center’s Annual Awards Dinner which honors a leading public servant. The most recent recipients are Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen, and Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke. Typically, the Fellows are able to meet with the award winner for a private, off-the-record question and answer session before the dinner begins. Additionally, the two Fellows whose papers have been selected to receive top awards will be recognized alongside the public servant being honored and will have the opportunity to briefly present their research to an audience including many current and former high-level officials.
Fellows can come from any major or specialization, but they all have strong academic credentials, a demonstrated interest in the institutions of the Presidency and Congress, and a desire to make public service a part of their careers. Typically, Fellows are seniors in an undergraduate program, but advanced underclassmen or graduate students can also participate in the program. Alumni of the Fellows program are Capitol Hill and White House staffers, award-winning journalists, CEOs of corporations and non-profit organizations, senior military leaders, and university presidents and deans. Many of our Fellows have been awarded the prestigious Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright, Truman, and Gates Scholarships. Our 2010-2011 class included Rhodes Scholar Ye jin Kang from Rice University and Gates Cambridge Scholar Chris Carter from University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill. Our 2011-2012 class included Truman Scholar Stephanie Spangler of Emory University and Truman Finalist David Hoyt of Stanford University. Our 2012-2013 class included Truman Scholar Mike Norton of University of Arkansas.
Center Presidential Fellowships are funded by dedicated individuals, colleges and universities, foundations, and corporations. For more information on the Fellows Program, please contact Jeff Shaffer, Program Director. He can be reached at 202-872-9800 or
Presidential Fellows Program Informational Video (2 parts):
The Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress established the National Consortium for Character-Based Leadership in 2005. The Consortium seeks to develop and disseminate creative approaches to character and leadership education by facilitating dialogue among educators and representatives from vocations such as government, business, health, and sports. The foundational basis for the Consortium is that good character—defined as a knowledge and love of the good—and good leadership—through which individuals create positive change in their communities—must be taught together. To teach leadership without character is dangerous, while teaching character without leadership leaves the next generation unprepared to face its responsibilities and opportunities to make the world a better place.
The National Consortium is currently building a web forum to facilitate dialogue on this topic and offer a web-based menu of resources for high school and college educators nationwide. The web forum will include teaching guides, case studies, a regularly updated blog, in-depth profiles of standout character and leadership programs, and lively discussion rooms.
Staff Contact For more information on the National Consortium for Character-Based Leadership, please contact Egil "Bud" Krogh via
or at 202-872-9800.
In Triumphs and Tragedies of the Modern Presidency, more than 50 of the nation’s leading Presidential historians and journalists describe the most notable successes—and failures—of American presidents from Woodrow Wilson to Bill Clinton. This kaleidoscope of many of the most dramatic events of the twentieth century is presented in 76 case histories told by observers, practitioners, scholars and top advisors to the Presidents whose decisions resulted in success or failure, triumph or tragedy. Additionally, this publication includes discussions of presidential transitions, examining the first one-hundred days of ten Presidents, with updates for each subsequent new Administration.
To better examine the challenges of a second term, CSPC collaborated with Dr. John P. Burke of the University of Vermont on a case study of Presidential second terms, with particular focus on the second term of President Barack Obama.
This program was launched in 2007 to help prepare the new President to confront critical issues facing the country. For this project, the Center worked with key Members of Congress, members of past Presidential Administrations, leaders in the business and non-profit sectors, scholars and policy makers to develop a series of cross-cutting recommendations on these key challenges.