LBJ School Faculty, Alumni and Staff Play Key Roles In ‘The Next Generation Project’; Innovative Policy Approaches to Meet Global Challenges Will Be Presented to Presidential Candidates

June 4, 2008

AUSTIN, Texas — As the United States takes another step this week toward determining who will be on the November ballot, members of the faculty, alumni and staff of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin are playing key roles in a project that brings together the nation's brightest emerging leaders to develop innovative solutions to the pressing global challenges facing the next president.

"The Next Generation Project: U.S. Global Policy and the Future of International Institutions" will convene its National Assembly this Thursday through Saturday (June 5-7) in Washington, D.C., with 70 young leaders from around the country in business, government, law, technology, religion, the military, international institutions, academia and the media. Almost two years of meetings, held across the country in regions of emerging economic and political importance, have set the stage for this National Assembly in Washington. The Project's findings and recommendations will be presented to the presidential candidates and their advisers.

Central to the nonpartisan initiative, sponsored by The American Assembly, has been identifying Next Generation Fellows—representing a spectrum of views, interests and backgrounds—and bringing them together to discuss global issues. Fellows assess whether the current national security, multilateral and international institutions are sufficient to meet the challenges of the future and explore innovative responses to an era of rapid globalization. The Project aims to build new policy networks, generate creative ideas and help shape discussion on these issues.

Francis J. Gavin, LBJ School professor and director of studies at the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at The University of Texas at Austin, is the director of The Next Generation Project.

"This is a new world we are living in, and we need innovative approaches to meet the complex challenges the U.S. and the world face," Gavin said. "This Assembly will build upon the creative thinking and solutions produced by diverse talent from around the country. It is our hope that these fresh perspectives will drive the political debates about the future of America's role in the world."

LBJ School Dean James B. Steinberg, former deputy national security adviser to President Bill Clinton and author of the forthcoming book "Difficult Transitions: Foreign Policy Troubles at the Outset of Power," is a member of the Project's Senior Advisory Committee and gave the keynote address during the Project's introduction in June 2006 at the LBJ Library.

"This Project has tapped extraordinarily talented young leaders to meet the pressing global challenges with creativity, civility and energy," Steinberg said. "We are thrilled that the LBJ School has had such a crucial role in the Project's success, as its efforts mirror the values and ideas we seek to teach our students, particularly in our new global policy studies curriculum."

Admiral Bob Inman, the LBJ Centennial Chair in National Policy at the LBJ School, is the chairman of the Project's Senior Advisory Committee, is on the board of The American Assembly and was awarded the assembly's highest award, the Service to Democracy medal.

"In the grand tradition of The American Assembly, The Next Generation Project has reached broadly across the country to identify talented young women and men," Admiral Inman said. "I expect the Washington meeting to add frosting to the cake. I believe the Project will have a long-lasting impact on how the country thinks about its largest challenges."

Three LBJ School alumni are Next Generation Project fellows and participated in previous Project Assemblies. Stacey Abrams (1998), a rising star in the Georgia legislature, is a National Fellow and Sara Meadows (2003) and Wesley Wilson (2001) are Regional Fellows. Joshua W. Busby, assistant professor at the LBJ School, is a member of the Project's leadership team, as a deputy director and discussion leader. Other University of Texas at Austin participants include Michael E. Webber, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and a research fellow at the Strauss Center; Terri Givens, vice provost and associate professor in the Government Department, and LBJ School Advisory Council member Demetrius G. McDaniel, partner at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld LLP.

Speakers at the National Assembly will include:

  • Richard W. Fisher, president and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas;
  • Diana Farrell, director, McKinsey Global Institute;
  • Donald M. Kerr, principal deputy director of national intelligence;
  • Jane Holl Lute, assistant secretary general, Department of Peacekeeping Operations, United Nations;
  • Lieutenant Colonel John A. Nagl, U.S. Army, author "Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam";
  • Sonal Shah, Google Development, Google.org.

All events will take place at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Studies.

"There is no greater responsibility than preparing the next generation of American and world leaders, and it is one the Next Generation Project has fully embraced," said Lee Hamilton, president and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, who will chair the national meeting. "I am excited to see so many talented young leaders seriously thinking about future challenges, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars is thrilled to partner with the Project. We share its internationalist and forward-looking outlook in hopes of securing a more peaceful and prosperous future for all the world."

The full list of Fellows, the reports from the four previous Next Generation Project meetings in Dallas, San Diego, Denver and Chicago, and additional information about the initiative can be found on the Next Generation Project Web site.

The American Assembly is affiliated with Columbia University. President Dwight D. Eisenhower founded the Assembly in 1950 as one of this country's first nonpartisan, national public affairs forums.

Steinberg (512-232-4008) is available for interviews or any inquiries.

For more information, contact: Susan Binford, 512-415-4820,, 512 415 4820.