Gen. Colin L. Powell, USA (retired), one of America's most well-known and highly regarded statesmen, has agreed to join the board of the National Institute for Civil Discourse at the University of Arizona.
The National Institute for Civil Discourse – recently unveiled at a news conference on the UA campus – is a nonpartisan center for debate, research, education and policy generation regarding civility in public discourse.
Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton will serve as honorary chairs for the institute.
"For decades, General Powell has been universally admired and respected by Americans of all political affiliations," said UA President Robert N. Shelton. "His service with the National Institute for Civil Discourse will significantly improve the institute's ability to fulfill its mission."
During his 35 years in the Army, Powell served two tours in Vietnam, was stationed in West Germany and South Korea, and acted as President Ronald Reagan's National Security Advisor from 1987-89. Later that year, he was promoted to the rank of general and was appointed by President George H.W. Bush to the position of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
After his retirement from military service in 1993, he founded America's Promise Alliance, an organization that helps at-risk children.
He was nominated for Secretary of State by President George W. Bush on Dec. 16, 2000. He was appointed Secretary of State on Jan. 20, 2001, after being unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
The first African-American to serve as Secretary of State, Powell served in that position for four years.
After stepping down as Secretary of State, he returned to a life of service in the private sector continuing his work with America's Promise Alliance. He serves on the boards of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Eisenhower Fellowship Program and the Powell Center at the City College of New York.
Powell joins a diverse group of national leaders on the National Institute for Civil Discourse board, including:
- Sandra Day O'Connor, retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice (honorary co-chair)
- Tom Daschle, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader (honorary co-chair)
- Madeleine Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State
- Ken Duberstein, former chief of staff for President Ronald Reagan
- Greta Van Susteren, host of "On the Record," FOX News Channel
- Scott Simon, host of "Weekend Edition," National Public Radio
- Donna Brazile, CNN and ABC analyst, former campaign manager for Al Gore
- Alan Simpson, former U.S. Senator (Wyoming)
- Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor
- Trey Grayson, director of the Harvard University's Institute of Politics
- Jim Kolbe, former U.S. Congressman
National Institute for Civil Discourse initiatives will include major policy discussions on topics that tend to generate polarized positions, research around the exercise of First Amendment freedoms and workshops and conferences to take place across the country.
Among the institute's first events will be an executive forum with media, foundation, academic, government and corporate leaders regarding moving forward the national conversation about civil discourse and proceeding with constructive solutions.
One of the key goals for the institute is to connect people with diverse viewpoints and to offer a venue for vigorous and respectful debate.