Cathedral Events

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 7:30 PM

Ignatius Program: Governing across the Divide

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Our national discourse is becoming increasingly shrill. We are faced with complex economic, social, and foreign policy questions that need a safe atmosphere in which to explore solutions that will work for the long term. Partisan attacks have taken hold in Washington and throughout the country, and reasoned analysis is harder and harder to find.

Can we turn it around? What will it take to shift from accusation to reflection and purposeful debate? Can we find mutual respect that allows us to “govern across the divide?”

On the evening of Tuesday, October 5, as part of its commitment to present programs at the intersection of faith and public life, Washington National Cathedral hosted the 2010 Nancy and Paul Ignatius Program. This year’s program featured David Axelrod, senior advisor to President Barack Obama, and Joshua Bolten, chief of staff to former President George W. Bush. Historian Michael Beschloss provided a reflection following the main dialogue featuring CBS anchor Bob Schieffer as moderator. Knowing firsthand how intense the political climate can get, Axelrod and Bolten shared a sense of how and why Washington has become so divisive and how we might return some civility and cooperation to the discourse.

Also participating, Senator Susan Collins (R-Me.) and the Rev. Barry C. Black, chaplain of the Senate, provided insight from their experience in the Senate; and historian Michael Beschloss put the current state of affairs into an historical context.

The Nancy and Paul Ignatius Program was created in recognition of Nancy and Paul’s service and commitment to Washington National Cathedral. It is made possible by a fund established by Nancy and Paul’s children, their friends, and other relatives to honor Nancy and Paul’s determination to take on the hard questions we all face. Last year’s program addressed deteriorating conditions in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and featured Senator John Kerry, author Rory Stewart, and Pakistani Ambassador Hussain Haqqani. The 2008 program focused on the future of American foreign policy, through the reflections of two of its masters, Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski.

About David Axelrod

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David Axelrod is senior advisor to President Barack Obama. Prior to that, he served as senior advisor to the Obama-Biden presidential transition and as senior strategist to Obama’s campaign for the presidency.

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About Michael Beschloss

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Michael Beschloss has authored several books on American presidents. The New York Times Book Review calls him “clearly the most widely recognized presidential historian in the nation.” An alumnus of the Harvard Business School, Beschloss has served as a senior associate member at St. Antony’s College (University of Oxford), a visiting fellow at the Harvard Russian Research Center, and a senior fellow at the Annenberg Foundation.

Among his awards and honorary degrees, Beschloss won an Emmy in 2005 for the Discovery Channel’s Decisions that Shook the World, which he hosted and helped create. He is a trustee of the Maret School, the White House Historical Association, and the National Archives Foundation, as well as a former trustee of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the Urban Institute, and the PEN/Faulkner Foundation.

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About the Rev. Dr. Barry C. Black

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The Rev. Dr. Barry C. Black, former chief of U.S. Navy chaplains, is the sixty-second chaplain of the U.S. Senate. His personal decorations include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medals, and Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals.

Black holds doctoral degrees in psychology and ministry, in addition to masters degrees in divinity, counseling, and management. He received the 1995 NAACP Renowned Service Award for his contribution to equal opportunity and civil rights and the 2002 Benjamin Elijah Mays Distinguished Leadership Award from the Morehouse School of Religion. In 2004, the Old Dominion University chapter of the NAACP conferred on him its Image Award, “Reaffirming the Dream—Realizing the Vision,” for military excellence.

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About Joshua Bolten

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Joshua Bolten, visiting professor at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, worked twelve years in the White House, serving both Presidents Bush. His posts included deputy chief of staff for policy, director of the Office of Management and Budget, and White House chief of staff for George W. Bush, and general counsel to the U.S. Trade Representative for the senior Bush.

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About the Hon. Susan M. Collins

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The Hon. Susan M. Collins (R-Me.) is ranking member and former chair of the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. She also serves on the committees for Appropriations and Armed Services and the Special Committee on Aging. She previously served on the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and led the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. O Magazine named her one of six women who could run for president.

Collins worked for more than 12 years in state government before serving as New England administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration from 1992 to 1993. After becoming the first woman in Maine’s history to win a major-party nomination for governor, she became the founding executive director of the Center for Family Business at Husson College.

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About Amy L. Ignatius

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Amy L. Ignatius has spent her working career in and around the state government of New Hampshire. She is currently a commissioner with the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission; she served previously as energy policy advisor to Governor John Lynch, as a director for the state’s Office of Energy and Planning, and in various capacities within the state’s Department of Justice. At the law firm of Devine, Millimet, and Branch, she worked in the field of government and regulatory practice.

Ignatius graduated from National Cathedral School in 1972 and is a 1977 honors graduate of the University of Wisconsin with a B.A. in American History. She graduated in 1982 from the University of Virginia School of Law.

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About Bob Schieffer

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Bob Schieffer, chief Washington correspondent for CBS News and moderator of Face the Nation, celebrates 53 years as a reporter this year. The author of four books, Schieffer has covered all four major beats in the nation’s capital: the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, and Capitol Hill. He has covered every presidential campaign and been a floor reporter for all Democratic and Republican National Conventions since 1972. In 2004 he moderated the final presidential debate.

Schieffer has received virtually every award in broadcast journalism, including seven Emmys and two Sigma Delta Chi Awards. In 2002 the National Press Foundation recognized him as Broadcaster of the Year. He has been named to the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame and in 2009 was honored with the Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award in Broadcast Journalism.

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Parking at the Cathedral

Parking in the Cathedral’s underground garage is free on Sundays for services and organ recitals; parking for concerts and programs is available for an event-parking fee. Learn more about parking options for individuals and groups.