LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush spoke at the Presidential Leadership Scholars graduation ceremony on Thursday at the Clinton Presidential Center.
The 2018 class of Presidential Leadership Scholars is comprised of doctors, veterans, corporate professionals, attorneys, public servants, educators, and more. Over the past six months, the 59 Scholars have come together to collaborate and make a difference in the world as they learn about leadership through the lens of the presidential experiences of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Lyndon B. Johnson.
The former Presidents hoped to show the graduates that by putting their political differences aside, they can accomplish much more as friends. The duo avoided more controversial topics like immigration reform, instead focusing on topics like education reform and the role the U.S. can play as a world leader.
“I happen to believe accountably in reading is the new civil right and in order to justify change there has to be measurement ,” said former President Bush, speaking on the need to improve public education.
Both former Presidents had plenty to tell the graduates about the importance of leadership and how they can make a difference in their communities.
“The risk adverse aren’t willing to dream big,” said former President Bush.
Former President Clinton had similar advice, “If you get beat up along the way, consider it a learning experience and don’t lose your way,”
It’s advice Eric Wilson, CEO of Noble Impact a Little Rock education nonprofit, and the only scholar from Arkansas, is ready to follow.
“We wanted a place where no matter our different political opinions we could also talk about the problem and how to move forward,” Wilson said.
This year’s class will join a network of 181 Scholars.