America faces a series of international and domestic challenges that threaten the nation's security and long-term prosperity. Abroad we face continued violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, a global struggle against Al Qaeda and affiliated terrorist networks, and increasingly overstretched Armed Forces. At home we must address growing trade and budget deficits, rising unemployment rates, runaway healthcare costs, and the pending financial strain caused by the retirement of the Baby Boom Generation.
To help overcome these challenges, the Center has launched an initiative to inspire the nation's leaders to exercise civility and inclusive leadership as they address our nation's critical challenges. Commitment to these principles is an essential step toward overcoming the nation's current political polarization, forging national unity of purpose, and marshaling the best minds across party lines.
The President of the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress (CSPC), Dr. David Abshire, initiated this effort with the presentation of his essay, The Grace and Power of Civility, at the Library of Congress in October 2004. Shortly afterward, Ambassadors Abshire and Max Kampelman announced the formation of a bipartisan National Committee to Unite a Divided America, which has since grown to include over 200 prominent Americans from across the country.
All members of the National Committee have signed the Declaration on Civility and Inclusive Leadership. The Declaration, while welcoming constructive debate, urges America's leaders to look beyond partisan divisions to develop a strategic consensus for the way forward.