President Mark D. Gearan will join the nation’s leading experts in service to launch a comprehensive plan sponsored by the Aspen Institute to promote more civilian service opportunities for America’s youth. As a facilitator and early advocate of this effort called ‘The Franklin Project,’ Gearan will join 200 national service and military leaders, government officials, and leaders in the corporate, philanthropic, non-profit, faith-based, academic, media, technology, and other sectors to build support for making national service a common expectation and opportunity for all Americans.
The Summit will present and secure endorsements for the 21st Century National Service Action Plan, The Franklin Project, and inspire commitments to advance the plan and issue a public call for signatures for a Declaration of Support for National Civilian Service.
At the Aspen Institute’s 21st Century National Service Summit in Aspen, Colo., later this month, Gearan and Scott Cowen, the president of Tulane University, will lead a session on how leaders in higher education can bring the Franklin Project policy ideas and a broader movement of community service and civic engagement to fruition.
“The Franklin Project envisions that all young people would have the opportunity to serve their communities through full-time civilian national service placements. We seek to have one million civilian placements to match the dedication and commitment of the one million Americans who serve on active duty in our Armed Forces,” explains Gearan. “I am heartened by the broad based support The Franklin Project is receiving across the country. It is an idea whose time has come. From my perspective as a college president, I know America’s Millennial Generation is committed to making a difference.”
Among the other leaders presenting at the summit are General Stanley McChrystal, retired United States Army General; David Gergen, CNN senior political analyst and Harvard Kennedy School Center for Public Leadership; John Bridgeland, former senior adviser to President George W. Bush; Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Barack Obama; Alan Khazei, founder of City Year; and Arianna Huffington, president, chair and editor-in-chief, The Huffington Post.
One of our nation’s leading experts on the intersection of higher education and civic engagement, Gearan has held numerous leadership roles in public service. As the chair of the Talloires Network Steering Committee, an international association of more than 200 institutions on six continents committed to strengthening the civic roles and social responsibilities of higher education, he has fostered a global culture of service. As the past chair of the Board of Directors of both National Campus Compact and the Corporation for National and Community Service, he has similarly supported civic engagement activities in the United States.
Gearan is the co-chair of the National Advisory Board on Public Service at Harvard College and serves on the Presidential Advisory Group for the NCAA. He is the past chair of the Board of Directors of the Annapolis Group, a nationwide consortium of liberal arts colleges. He is a Board member of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities and a former Board member of The Partnership for Public Service. With extensive credentials in public policy and service, he served as Director of the Peace Corps and was Assistant to the President, Director of Communications and Deputy Chief of Staff in the White House.
Outside of the education and service arenas, Gearan is an appointee of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Commission on Political Reform. He is a former member of the White House Council for Community Solutions, a group of cross-sector leaders appointed by President Barack Obama to recommend collaborative solutions to increase civic engagement. Locally, he serves on the advisory councils of the Happiness House Foundation, Ontario ARC and the Geneva Community Center.