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Jeremi Suri: Can America Be Great Again?

Posted: April 4, 2012
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Re-printed with permission from The Alcalde, March 30, 2012. Reporter: Joanie Ferguson.

Jeremi Suri’s game-changing idea: reinvent American greatness by taking a look back into history.

Suri, UT professor, author, and historian, holds the Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs in the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.

As part of the Game Changers lecture series, on Wednesday Suri outlined three elements he believes are crucial for societal progress. He spoke about the importance of dreaming, making connections, and most importantly, improving.

Suri said that Americans need to awaken historical wisdom for our society to thrive once more, and we can start doing that by allowing ourselves to dream.

“You can judge the character of society by the character of its dreams,” Suri said.

He spoke about the Great Depression, saying he is impressed by how much Americans dreamed in that difficult time. He said that our generation doesn’t do enough dreaming to better our society.

Suri said that making connections is necessary for America to be great again. He explained how the New Deal established these important connections in the 1930s.

“The New Deal did not solve the American economy—what it did was create a body for people to connect again.”

He said that the decline of connectivity from then to now correlates with the decline of the American economy.

Suri also discussed the GI Bill, saying that it was an investment by a deeply divided American society that could agree on one thing—the importance of educating veterans for their future and everyone else’s.

The historian explained the importance of studying the past to learn from the choices made then.

“I’m arguing that we can take inspiration from that period so we as a society can make those choices today,” Suri said. “I’m looking back to think forward.”

Watch the video, "Meet a Game Changer: Jeremi Suri" on UT Austin's You Tube page:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njAmFCBNEbE&feature=player_embedded

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