On Wednesday your VFW was at the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas for the institute’s first summit on “Empowering Our Nation’s Warriors,” hosted by former President George W. Bush. The summit brought together non-profit, government, higher education and private sector leaders to discuss the issues facing America’s newest generation of veterans.
“There is no doubt in my mind this generation of veterans is just as great as any group of veterans before,” said Bush in his opening remarks. “There’s no doubt in my mind they will be the leaders in the years to come for our nation.”
Bush also opened the summit by outlining three specific objectives to best serve the veterans’ community in the coming years by working to break the civilian-military divide; offering quality opportunities for post-military employment; and working to better serve veterans through philanthropic efforts. To do so, the Bush Institute plans to work closely with Syracuse University’s Institute on Veterans and Military Families, or IVMF, to develop metrics to track not only the needs and perceptions of the veterans’ community, but also evaluate the effectiveness of philanthropic and outreach programs. Bush said the institute and IVMF plan to publish their initial findings in the coming months.
Dr. Jill Biden, military mother and wife of Vice President Joe Biden, was also on hand for the summit on behalf of her program Joining Forces, which seeks to build public-private partnerships to better serve military families. In her remarks, Biden discussed ways in which businesses have stepped up to offer quality career opportunities to veterans and military spouses, as well as ways educators have worked to better understand the experiences of military children.
Robinson pointed out that current information on student outcomes is largely irrelevant to the veterans’ community and that no one has compiled reliable outcome data on veterans since World War II. Through its report, SVA hopes to demonstrate to the American people the return on their investment in the education of today’s veterans. Your VFW worked closely with SVA to facilitate its discussions with the National Student Clearinghouse and VA to get the student veteran data project off the ground. Your VFW was also a recent recipient of a Google Global Impact Award grant alongside SVA and IVMF to compile quality data on the student veteran experience.
VFW Executive Director Bob Wallace said the discussion was a good starting point, and applauded the former president for publicly demonstrating his ongoing support to serving America’s veterans even after the wars end. The George W. Bush Institute plans to hold a follow-up summit this fall, in which the VFW will look to also play a role.
For highlights from the summit, click here.
(Embedded video from George W. Bush Institute. Image: SVA President and CEO D. Wayne Robinson discusses student veteran outcomes during this week's summit on empowering veterans at the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas. Photo by Ryan Gallucci.)