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11 October 2011

A More Perfect Union: A Dialogue on American Values

The Ford Foundation, in partnership with Georgetown University, held a conversation on the national budget on Oct. 11. This discussion was the first in a series of groundbreaking forums that reflected a shared commitment to elevating national dialogue around American values and how those values influence policy choices.

George Stephanopoulos, the host and anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America,” engaged public leaders and thinkers in this dynamic conversation, posing some challenging questions to the participants: How will we secure America’s financial future while addressing the urgent needs of today? What’s at stake? How do we ensure opportunity for all? Who will lead us forward?

“A More Perfect Union: The National Budget” took place at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Participants included:

  • Calvin Butts, Pastor, The Abyssinian Baptist Church; President, SUNY College at Old Westbury
  • Richard Danzig, Chairman of the Board, Center for a New American Security; Former Secretary of the Navy
  • Carly Fiorina, Chairman and CEO, Carly Fiorina Enterprises; Former Chairman and CEO, Hewlett-Packard
  • Juliet García, President, University of Texas at Brownsville; Trustee, Ford Foundation
  • Michael Gerson, Opinion Writer, Washington Post; Former White House Speechwriter
  • John DeGioia, President, Georgetown University
  • Michael A. Nutter, Mayor of Philadelphia
  • Peter Orszag, Vice Chairman, Global Banking, Citigroup; Former White House Budget Director
  • Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Chair, American Bridge; Former Lt. Governor of Maryland
  • Luis Ubiñas, President, Ford Foundation

Images from the Event

To view captions for each photo, click the full screen icon, then "Show Info" in the top right corner.

About the Series

Two hundred and thirty-five years ago at Independence Hall, an assembly of American citizens drafted a set of extraordinary documents—the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution—that gave root to the idea that our diverse and growing nation could govern itself based on shared values. Our forebearers strived for “a more perfect union” based on liberty, justice, tranquility and welfare for all. But today, with serious challenges both domestic and foreign, do we still share a belief in a common set of values that can help map our future? Many Americans are asking themselves that question and how the ideas of shared destiny and common good can guide us through the tough decisions that lie in front of our growing, diversifying nation.

The presidents of Georgetown University and the Ford Foundation posed similar questions to one another, and decided it was a critical time to kick-start a conversation about American values and their role in public life. This series of dialogues with a broad cross-section of Americans is the result.

“A More Perfect Union: A Dialogue on American Values” will examine the essence of American values and what they might tell us about our political choices today and about our efforts to fulfill the legacy of our forebearers’ mission. Learn more about the foundation’s work in this space.

More Information

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