The LEAP Ambassadors are always up for learning new things, and we recently were offered a trifecta of new opportunities: (1) tour the Bush School for Public Service, (2) visit the Bush Presidential Library, (3) and hear Madeleine Albright discuss her career and thoughts on the current political climate.
The Bush School of Public Service
The Bush School of Public Service is one of the outstanding graduate programs in the US, particularly in the area of public administration. Kathryn Myers, along with two graduate students, did a great job of providing an overview of the program, while also giving insight from a student’s perspective.
Broadly speaking, they offer two programs: a Master’s in Public Service and a Master’s in International Affairs. For the Public Service program, additional tracks (e.g., non-profit management) and concentrations (e.g., state and local policy) are offered.
One of the interesting aspects of the Bush School is the cost. Tuition and fees are about $12,000 a year and, on average, Bush School students receive $4,000 worth of scholarships annually. When you factor in the fact that College Station has a lower cost of living than most places with top-ranked graduate schools, the savings are real and substantial.
The students on hand also did a good job representing the Bush School. Both indicated that the collegial, supportive environment was a big reason they enjoyed the school, and both indicated that the diversity of career options was a real selling point for them.
We left the Bush School tour opened up many more options for us, and we left the School feeling excited about post-graduate plans.
The George Bush Presidential Library
The Presidential Library showcased the life of Former President George H.W. Bush and his career in Public Service. Following a photo-op exhibit of the Presidential Limousine…
…the Museum opened with exhibits on Bush’s early childhood with his father, former Senator Prescott Bush, and his upbringing.
One of the things that distinguishes President Bush from average citizens–and even other Presidents–is the diversity and richness of his career. One of the highlights, for example, was President Bush’s years in the military. President H.W Bush served in World War II as a Naval Aviator in the Pacific Theater of the war. His bomber was shot down over the Pacific during a mission, and the exhibit displays an exact replica of the Bomber he flew. He was in this type of plane–The Avenger–in 1944, when he was shot down and had to ditch his plane at sea. While he parachuted out and survived, his crew mates perished.
In 1945, President Bush married America’s future First Lady Barbara Pierce. This young couple then embarked to Midland, Texas, where Bush began his oil career and entree to a political life.
After two unsuccessful runs for the Senate and one four-year stint as US Congressman, Bush held a series of foreign policy positions, all of which were addressed in the Library: Ambassador to the United Nations; US Ambassador to China; and then Director of the CIA.
His role as Vice-President in the 1980s, further raised his profile, and burnished his foreign policy resume, as President Reagan often utilized Bush in a foreign policy role.
The Library opens his presidential years with a replica of the Oval Office–and they allow photos at the executive desk!
Additional exhibits include a gift room, full of gifts from foreign leaders;
…a Cabinet Room, where decisions were made…
…a room highlighting the end of the Cold War–on that features a large slab of the Berlin Wall; and a very large exhibit on the Persian Gulf War.
Although our tour was short on time, we came away with a lot of knowledge, and a deeper appreciation of President Bush and his role in shaping the 20th century.
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
Another shaper of (very late) 20th Century history was Madeleine Albright who, in 1997, was named the 64th Secretary of State. As the first-ever female SOS, she became the highest-ranking female official in US History.
Secretary Albright has since served as chairperson for the National Democratic Institute and as a member of the U.S. Defense Department’s Defense Policy Board, and eventually became a New York Times bestselling author. Secretary Albright was at the Bush School for a book signing and discussion over her newest bestselling book Fascism: A Warning.
While the Bush Presidential Library was hosting Secretary Albright, the World Affairs Council worked with the Library to obtain a block of tickets, which were then offered to members.
The LEAP Ambassadors joined the World Affairs Council in this book signing and got the special chance to meet Secretary Albright and have our books personalized!
Finally, the group gathered with the World Affairs Council again to listen to Secretary Albright discuss her book and ideas of the future.
The moderated discussion was a series of questions where she discussed her upbringing and how it related to where she is today.
Her message was clear: There is still a path for American interests abroad through diplomacy. She warned that there are those who believe in American Superiority without diplomatic resolutions, and that these people do not understand how to conduct American foreign policy.
There are also foreign entities who are trying to undermine the American sphere of influence and democracy, but “we believe in the right and responsibilities of the individual” and we need to continue to spread “American ideals and never disregard democracy.”
Dinner at Tanaka Ramen
After the event, the LEAPsters ate dinner at Tanaka Ramen, a noodle bar located in College Station. The students devoured their dishes as it was the first time for many to have the real thing–as opposed to the inferior 25 cent instant ramen.
For dessert, they enjoyed Mochi balls, a delicious spherical dollop of ice cream encased in frozen dough. Of the six flavors ordered, red bean seemed to be the unlikely favorite. After the delicious dinner of noodles and broth, the students rode home in anticipation of the election results that night!
The LEAP Center would like to thank the World Affairs council for allowing us to attend this event with them. This has made such a large impression on us students and they could not have had this opportunity without them. We look forward to working and attending many more events to come!