The Next Generation Project Texas held its inaugural meeting of fifty of the best and brightest young leaders in the state at the historic Fort Worth Hilton on October 20th – 21st.
This Project, sponsored by the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas at Austin, identifies young leaders between the ages of twenty-eight and forty-two from diverse backgrounds and brings them together to discuss the most pressing issues facing the state and the nation. In its first meeting, the assembled talent tackled one of the most difficult problems on the horizon: energy, the environment, and U.S. global policy. "We face complex challenges that require innovative solutions", said Francis J. Gavin, the Strauss Center's Director. "Our goal is to engage the best young minds with diverse perspectives to meet the challenges Texas and the nation will face in the years to come."
The Next Generation Project Texas builds on a nationwide Next Generation Project created by David Mortimer, the President of The American Assembly at Columbia University, and Richard Fisher, the Assembly's Chair in 2006. Now President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Fisher opened the meeting of future Texas leaders last week. "One of my proudest achievements was helping to create the Next Generation Project and I could not be more excited to see the concept flourishing here in Texas", he said. The Next Generation Project Texas was made possible through the generous support of Mr. I. Jon Brumley, currently the Chairman and CEO of Bounty Investments of Fort Worth. "I was incredibly impressed by the caliber of talent at this first Assembly," Mr. Brumley said. "We should all be proud that Texas has such great young leaders in the pipeline."
The Honorable Sharon Burke, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs, delivered the lunchtime keynote speech on ways the Department of Defense is improving its energy efficiency. Ms. Burke is both a former Fellow and a member of the national Next Generation Project Leadership Team. "The Next Generation Project had an important impact on my career and I was honored to be part of its relaunch in Texas, especially as it tackled such a critical set of issues", she said. Admiral Bobby R. Inman, Lyndon B. Johnson Centennial Chair in National Policy, a member of The American Assembly's board, and one of the founders and supporters of the Project, provided the closing remarks.
Future leaders representing the arts, non-profits, media, energy and law were present to share their views on the Assembly's topic. Lindsey Hughes, Associate Director of The Wind Coalition said, "It is an incredible honor to be part of the Next Generation Project Texas. The next generation recognizes the difficulty in determining energy strategies that properly weigh the costs and benefits for our environment and the people". A member of the national class of the Next Generation Project, Ms. De'Edra Williams brought her expertise on energy to the Texas Assembly. She said, "I anticipate that the Next Generation Project Texas will achieve the myriad of objectives that were set forth in this first Texas Assembly and accomplish even greater things both in the near and distant future".
The Strauss Center will produce a report of the Assembly's proceedings and plans to conduct annual meetings of the group.