A Conversation with Students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School:
Meighan Stone (Moderator)
Fellow, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, HKS (2017)
President, Malala Fund (2015-2017)
Welcome Remarks by
Director, Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School
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March For Our Lives is created by, inspired by, and led by students across the country who will no longer risk their lives waiting for someone else to take action to stop the epidemic of mass school shootings that has become all too familiar. In the tragic wake of the seventeen lives brutally cut short in Florida, politicians are telling us that now is not the time to talk about guns. March For Our Lives believes the time is now.
On March 24, the kids and families of March For Our Lives will take to the streets of Washington, DC to demand that their lives and safety become a priority. The collective voices of the March For Our Lives movement will be heard.
School safety is not a political issue. There cannot be two sides to doing everything in our power to ensure the lives and futures of children who are at risk of dying when they should be learning, playing, and growing. The mission and focus of March For Our Lives is to demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues. No special interest group, no political agenda is more critical than timely passage of legislation to effectively address the gun violence issues that are rampant in our country.
Meighan Stone is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations' Women and Foreign Policy Program and served previously as entrepreneurship fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center, where she researched refugee policy and collaborated with Harvard students and faculty to foster social innovation.
As president of the Malala Fund from 2014 to 2017, she worked with founder and 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai to empower girls globally to learn and lead without fear. She has led high-level advocacy, media and digital projects with Bono’s ONE Campaign, the United Nations, World Economic Forum, FIFA World Cup, and Group of Seven summits.
Named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People and to ELLE Magazine's 2017 "Women in Washington Power List", Stone serves on the boards of Indivisible, Congressman John Lewis’ bipartisan Faith and Politics Institute, Civic Engagement Fund and women's university Sweet Briar College.
Mark Gearan became the 19th director of the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government on March 1, 2018. A leading voice at the intersection of education and public service, Mark has held numerous leadership roles in American politics, government, and education.
From 1999-2017, Mark served as the President of Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS), becoming the longest-serving president in HWS history. During his tenure, Mark oversaw an era of unprecedented growth that included doubling the Colleges’ endowment, a capital plan which raised $205 million to support facilities, endowment and annual giving, establishing 168 new endowed scholarships, and the completion of 80 significant capital projects. Following his time at HWS, Mark held an appointment as President-in-residence at HGSE for the 2017-2018 academic year.
In September 1995, President Bill Clinton appointed Mark as the 14th Director of the Peace Corps, after serving in senior positions in the Clinton White House. While Director, Mark oversaw the expansion of the Peace Corps program into South Africa, India, and Haiti as well as the establishment of the Crisis Corps, which would send former Peace Corps volunteers into crisis areas for six months or less to help during emergencies.
President Clinton said of Gearan: “One of the best personnel decisions I have made as President was to appoint Mark Gearan as the Director of the Peace Corps. I believe he has been one of the most successful Directors since President Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961. He has rejuvenated the Peace Corps, and demonstrated a deep commitment to its legacy of service and the women and men who serve as Peace Corps volunteers. He can be proud that the Peace Corps will soon have more volunteers serving overseas than at any time in a generation."
Mark has served in a variety of roles in American politics and government including White House Communications Director, White House Deputy Chief of Staff, Vice Presidential Campaign Manager for Clinton/Gore ’92, Executive Director of the Democratic Governor’s Association, Headquarters Press Secretary for Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis’s 1988 presidential campaign, Chief of Staff for U.S. Representative Berkley Bedell of Iowa, and a reporter for the Fitchburg, Massachusetts Sentinel and Enterprise.
Mark’s first taste of politics came as an IOP intern in the Washington, DC office of Massachusetts’s Congressman Robert Drinan, S.J.
He is the Vice Chair for National and Public Service of the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service; and is a past chair of the Board of Directors of both National Campus Compact and the Corporation for National and Community Service. Mark also sits on the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Standing Committee for Public Service.
Born in Gardner, Massachusetts, Mark attended Gardner High School. He earned an A.B. in government cum laude at Harvard University in 1978 and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1991. He is the recipient of 13 honorary degrees. Mark is married to Mary Herlihy Gearan and they have two daughters, Madeleine, Harvard ‘15 and Kathleen, HWS ’21.
Follow Mark on Twitter at @MarkDGearan