Fels Institute of Government students welcomed David Gergen to the Public Policy in Practice speaker series on Thursday, March 18, 2021. Mr. Gergen is a former presidential adviser who served during the administrations of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. He is currently a senior political analyst for CNN and a professor of public service and the founding director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School.
In the conversation, moderated by Distinguished Fellow Elizabeth Vale, Mr. Gergen shared stories from each presidential administration he worked with. In one lighthearted memory, he recalls Nancy Reagan requesting her husband receive short briefings from his staff to read at night in order to have an early bedtime. Mr. Gergen also shared that he authored President Nixon's official resignation letter, which is now located in the National Archives.
Mr. Gergen spoke highly of national service and his belief that everyone should spend a year in programs such as AmeriCorps. His upcoming book is a plea for the younger generation to participate in public service. To close the night, Mr. Gergen was asked what advice he'd give his younger self, to which he said, "Take your work seriously, but not yourself. Give yourself a break to have a balanced life."