Lexington, KY - A recently signed agreement between Transylvania University and the University of Kentucky makes Transylvania the primary location for The Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship and its annual Student Congress. And with the change comes a significant shift in focus to a younger generation of aspiring leaders.
The center has in the past brought top college students from across the nation to Lexington for a one-week academic immersion into Clay’s principles of debate, diplomacy, communication and beneficial compromise. Beginning in 2014, the program will instead bring outstanding high school students from all around Kentucky to participate in the event. By educating these potential leaders, the center aims to have a positive impact on the nation’s public conversation.
The center’s core mission is to promote the ideals of statesmanship that Henry Clay exhibited in his public life from 1806 until his death in 1852.
Clay was Secretary of State under President John Quincy Adams, a senator and representative (Speaker of the House for six congresses) from Kentucky and a three-time presidential candidate. His skill at diplomacy earned him the title of the Great Compromiser.
“We are thrilled to be working in association with the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship and the University of Kentucky on this important project,” Transylvania President R. Owen Williams said. “Few Americans from the 19th century are more closely associated with the art of political compromise than Henry Clay. We are delighted to be part of a program that advances greater civility in public discourse, especially given the many challenges in the current political arena.”
Many would agree that if the country ever needed a leader skilled in the fine art of compromise, now is the time. The Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship hopes to improve the climate for political negotiation in the future through its prestigious summer Student Congress, which promotes the ideals of enlightened compromise and civil discourse that Clay championed throughout his distinguished political career in the 19th century.
“Our nation’s current stalemate known as the ‘fiscal cliff’ is an excellent example of why America needs to rally around Clay’s ideals, developing win-win solutions for all,” said Robert Clay, co-chair of the center.