National Service

National Service: A Key to Recovery

October 16, 2020  • Aspen Ideas Now

Led by the Aspen Strategy Group, a robust roster of Democrats and Republicans recently signed a statement on the need for a national service mission. “National service would offer binding and life-shaping shared experiences to help young Americans of all economic, ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds understand and respect each other,” the statement reads. “It’s harder to lampoon someone you know,” says Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, a co-signer of the statement. He joins ASG’s Nicholas Burns and Anja Manuel to reflect on the importance of creating a national service program and the key elements needed to make it successful. Among the many benefits, a service corps would help tackle domestic risks and economic weaknesses that have been brought into sharp relief by the pandemic.

About the Speakers

Anja Manuel, former diplomat, author, and advisor on emerging markets, is Co-Founder and Partner along with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, in Rice, Hadley, Gates & Manuel LLC, a strategic consulting firm that helps U.S. companies navigate international markets. She is the author of the critically acclaimed This Brave New World: India, China and the United States, published by Simon and Schuster in 2016. From 2005-2007, she served as an official at the U.S. Department of State, responsible for South Asia Policy. Earlier in her career, Ms. Manuel was an attorney at WilmerHale working on corporate governance, international and Supreme Court cases, and represented special committees of major corporate boards before the U.S. Congress, Department of Justice and the SEC. She was also an investment banker at Salomon Brothers in London. A graduate of Harvard Law School and Stanford University, Ms. Manuel now also lectures at Stanford University. Ms. Manuel serves on a number of corporate and non-profit boards and is a frequent commentator on foreign policy for TV, radio and print press. She is the Director of the Aspen Strategy Group and Aspen Security Forum — the premier bi-partisan forum on foreign policy in the U.S. — and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Deval Patrick, Originally from the South Side of Chicago, came to Massachusetts at 14, when he was awarded a scholarship to attend Milton Academy. After Harvard College & Law School, he clerked for a federal appellate judge and then launched a career as an attorney and business executive, becoming a staff attorney at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, a partner at two Boston law firms and a senior executive at two Fortune 50 companies. In 2006, in his first bid for public office, he was elected as the first African-American governor of Massachusetts. As governor, Patrick expanded access to health care to over 98 percent of residents, launched initiatives for clean energy, steered the state to a 25-year high in employment, and made unprecedented investments in public schools. He was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States, where his platform included opportunity and economic growth, reforming our healthcare and criminal justice system, an accessible and functioning democracy, and collaborative global leadership for the 21st century. His next step in public life is TogetherFUND, a political action committee to support progressive politics and grassroots groups working to drive turnout and engagement among disenfranchised and marginalized voters.

Nicholas Burns is the Goodman Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is Faculty Chair of the Future of Diplomacy Project and the Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship. He is also Chairman of the American Ditchley Foundation and Chairman of Our Generation Speaks which brings together young Palestinians and Israelis in common purpose. He is a Senior Counselor at the Cohen Group. From 2014-2016, Ambassador Burns was a member of Secretary of State John Kerry’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board at the U.S. Department of State. He served in the United States Foreign Service as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2005 to 2008. Prior to that, he was Ambassador to NATO (2001-2005), Ambassador to Greece (1997-2001), and State Department Spokesman (1995-1997). He worked on the National Security Council staff where he was Senior Director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Affairs and Special Assistant to President Clinton and, before that, Director for Soviet Affairs for President George H.W. Bush. He is the Executive Director of the Aspen Strategy Group and Aspen Security Forum.