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The Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership is proud to sponsor Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon Wood of Brown University, who will be visiting Charlottesville this weekend. Professor Wood will be speaking to the students in this year's College Leaders Program as well as the 2006 Class of our Political Leaders Program, which will be meeting in Charlottesville on Friday and Saturday.
The Sorensen Institute will also be sponsoring a public talk by Professor Wood on Saturday, June 3, at 3pm at the Harrison Institute on Grounds at the University of Virginia. He will talking about his new book, Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different. Sorensen's Coy Barefoot will also be interviewing Professor Wood on Charlottesville radio--which will be podcast next week.
Gordon Wood is the Alva O. Way University Professor at Brown University and a renowned scholar of the early American republic. Among his books are â€œThe Radicalism of the American Revolution,â€ for which he won the Pulitzer Prize, and â€œThe Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787,â€ which won the Bancroft and John H. Dunning prizes. Professor Wood's scholarship has also been honored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Historical Association, and the Huntington Library, where he was a recipient of the Fletcher Jones Distinguished Fellowship.
David Lambert, a graduate of the Political Leaders Program Class of 2003, was showcased by the Richmond Times-Dispatch in an article today titled "Blacks Make Gains in Business: Ownership Grows as Young Professionals Realize Options."
David is the entrepreneur behind Richmond's Hyperlink Cafe.
College Leaders Program Class of 2006
Blog Update: Day 4-- Tuesday, May 30
Reported by: Brian Coy, a recent graduate of James Madison University
Brian Coy is interviewed for the local CBS affiliate in Charlottesville about the College Leaders Program
Today we dove into the first section of study outlined in the College Leaders Program curriculum, which is entitled â€œThe Informed Citizen: Virginia Government and Politics.â€ Professor Quentin Kidd conducted a morning session which focused on the geographic, political and demographic features that constitute the Commonwealth. This in-depth examination of the different regions of Virginia will no doubt serve us well as we attempt to understand the policy needs of the Commonwealth on both the local and statewide levels. As we discussed each region of Virginia, the students that hail from these areas offered details and insights that helped to paint a clearer picture of life in different parts of the state. Our morning session clearly demonstrated that although we are all Virginians, our day to day experiences are in many cases vastly different in our respective parts of the Commonwealth.
The afternoon session was spent wrapping up the remainder of Dr. Kiddâ€™s survey of the different features of the regions of Virginia, and afterward we set our focus on the Constitution of Virginia. Dr. Kidd requested that we as a class name things that we believe should be changed within Article One of the document. The first suggestions that were made led to a fascinating discussion on amending the Constitution, with a group of students espousing the idea that the Constitution should be amended in order to reflect the make-up of the people it serves. Another group asserted that the Constitution should not to be amended unless there is a truly pressing need. This discussion highlighted very well how talented, thoughtful and intellectually diverse our group is this summer.
Tonight we spend our last night in our temporary home, the Cavalier Inn, before we move into Bice Hall, our home for the rest of the program.
--Brian Coy, James Madison University
College Leaders Program Class of 2006
Blog Update: Day 3--Monday, May 29 (First Day of Class!)
Reported by: Katherine Ely of Old Dominion University
"Kat" Ely at the Ropes Course on Sunday
The day began (early, again) with a discussion about the problems/challenges in Virginia. I often find myself asking this question and trying to understand that my perspective is drastically different from othersâ€”this proved to be an inaccurate statement. My beliefs about the problems in Virginia were shared with every member of the class, which was surprising and comforting. Being from the same part of the country and the same state my entire life, my perspective is rather narrow, but with every experience and every individual I encounter, I broaden my knowledge and expand my horizons. I wonder what life in rural Virginia would be like. Questions like that are better answered from others' opinions and discussions (i.e.â€”I donâ€™t really want to move there to find out).
The speakers that we heard today were quite intriguing. The first, Marc Cheatham, who works in the Governorâ€™s office, was a very energetic and passionate person. [Marc is Director of Constituent Services for Governor Tim Kaine and is a member of the Sorensen Institute's Political Leaders Program Class of 2006]. Marc shared with us the perspective of a man who has just begun his journey into the world of professional politics after a life of incredible experiences and diversity. Marc struck me as someone similar to myself-- not a political science major, but still someone very passionate about Virginia and advancement of â€œhonest and forthright public policy.â€
I especially enjoyed his discussion about how important it is to have a background in research to fully understand and deal with all of the problems that constituents present. Working as a Legislative Aide, I frequently find that constituents come to their representatives when they have a problem-- even if it doesnâ€™t deal with the state (talk to an LA and you will hear some crazy stories), I have been a research assistant for four years. I didnâ€™t really know how much it would help, but now I have hopes that one day I can use it for something of consequence.
The final part of the day was a seminar directed by the Sorensen Institute's Executive Director, Sean T. Oâ€™Brien, about Ethics. I fully enjoyed his lecture and the information that he presented. Ethics is such a subjective topic that I think some of the class members didnâ€™t find it all that impressive; but then again, can you really teach someone what morals and values are? The difference between right and wrong, and the purpose of understanding when you have a dilemma and how to fix it? These are things that I believe to be â€œexperience-based knowledgeâ€; mostly fluid information that changes with your experiences and your evolving self-perspective.
I donâ€™t really know who I am or where Iâ€™ll be in ten years. I have goals and dreams, but theyâ€™ve already changed so many times that who really knows what my sense of morality will be in the future--even tomorrow? I can only hope that experiences like these I am having here in Charlottesville and programs like Sorensen can help me to evolve into a more effective leader and responsible member of society.
--Katherine Ely, Old Dominion University
College Leaders Program Class of 2006
Blog Update: Day 2--Sunday, May 28
Reported by: Chalana Williams of Radford University
Chalana Williams, Holly Mattocks and Tyler Sinsabuagh help Emily Reijmers over "The Wall" at the Ropes Course on Sunday, May 28
The second day of the College Leaders Program started bright and early on a warm Sunday morning. The day ahead of us would be an active one and at times quite challenging.
At the Falls River Valley we all participated in various courses that taught us how to work as a team, trust each other, and communicate effectively. Never in a million years would I have expected to be climbing walls or watching one of my classmates climb a huge pole--blind folded! I absolutely loved the early morning events.
After we finished up with that, everyone came back to the hotel and quickly got ready for dinner. The Baja Bean Company was exactly what I needed to put back on all of the calories that I had worked off earlier that day. These first two days at the Sorensen Institute have been loads of fun, and I cannot wait to see what else is in store for us!
--Chalana Williams, Radford University
College Leaders Program Class of 2006
Blog Update: Day 1-- Saturday May 27
Reported by: Kimberly McKay of Virginia Tech
Kimberly McKay and Program Manager Chris Wrobel at the Ropes Course on Sunday, May 28
Today, marked the beginning of the 2006 College Leaders Program at the Sorensen Institute. We moved into the Caviler Inn for the first four days of the program and will move to Bice Hall in the middle of the week. Our orientation to the program reminded us why we choose to be apart of this program. As young leaders, we want to create change and better our communities through government.
After dinner we had the first of our guest speakers, Will Harris the Director of the Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier. He urged leaders to adhere to the Constitution and work
within its limits. He wanted us as leaders to think about the
importance of the Constitution in our understanding of the political
process. The Constitution is the basis for government created by the
people of that nation, and leaders should hold themselves to the
standards detailed in that document. When elected officials take an
oath of office, they promise to uphold and abide by the Constitution.
Dr. Harrisâ€™ speech provided a thought-provoking start to the program.
We concluded the day with a scavenger hunt around the Grounds of UVa. We found places from the White Spot (home of the famous "Gusburger") to the Raven in Edgar Allen Poeâ€™s room. It offered students a chance to get to know each other and got the program off to a great start. â€”Kimberly McKay, Virginia Tech
This summer we launch something new for the Sorensen Institute: daily updates on our College and High School Leaders Program. These blog updates will be written by none other than the students themselves!
Each day we will bring you a report from a student about what happened the previous day in the program. We hope you enjoy this unprecedented sneak peek into Sorensen's incredibly successful and unique youth programs.
This edition of our podcast includes a talk by Marc Johnson, Director of Sorensen's Youth Programs, to welcome the Class of 2006 College Leaders Program. Marc gave this address on Saturday, May 27, to kick off the month-long class here in Charlottesville. Twenty-six college students from across Virginia are participating in this year's program.
The title of Marc's talk is "Responsible Stewardship and Leadership in the 21st Century: The Role of Ethics, Values and Character." The podcast lasts just under 20 minutes and is attached to this post as an MP3 file.
This edition of our "Virginia Leadership" Podcast includes Sean O'Brien's opening remarks this past weekend at the launch of our College Leaders Program Class of 2006. The podcast lasts just under five minutes.
The podcast is attached to this post as an MP3 file.
Name: Tim Johnson
Born: Burlingame, California and grew up in Clifton, Virginia.
Current Digs: I live in Arlington and work in Woodbridge.
Occupation: Legislative Assistant
Favorite part about the job: Watching committees eviscerate a bad piece of legislation.
First job ever? Bagged groceries at Giant food store.
Favorite book? Don Quixote
Favorite movie? The very first Star Wars
Must See TV? English league soccer
Comfort food? Cereal
What's in your car CD player right now? Panic! at the Disco--a new band out of Las Vegas
Next journey? Out to Oregon for a friend's wedding
One thing people might be surprised to learn about you? I'd love to be a stand-up comedian.
Last gift you received? A lamp from my mom.
Best advice you ever got? Life is hard; and if you're dumb, it's really hard.
Whom do you admire and why? My mom. She raised three kids by herself and did it smiling.
If you could have dinner with any one currently living, whom would it be and why? I'd have dinner with Pope Benedict XVI and ask him all sorts of theological and existential questions.
Ambition, political or otherwise? I'd like to be a chief of staff on the Hill, go in to lobbying, make some good money, and then smile as I give it away to charities.
Describe a perfect day. Wake up and watch Manchester United beat Chelsea, go in my backyard and read a book in the sun, then go out to dinner at the Inn at Little Washington. Perfection!
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