WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama Wednesday appointed Vartan Gregorian, the president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and 27 other prominent Americans to the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships.
This accomplished group of citizens representing a broad range of backgrounds, interests, and professions are responsible for recommending a group of exceptional men and women to the president for selection as White House Fellows. The commission will be chaired by John Phillips, a partner at Phillips and Cohen Law Firm. Cheryl Dorsey, president of Echoing Green, will vice-chair the commission.
Gregorian assumed his position at the Carnegie Corp. in June 1997, prior to which he served as president of Brown University from 1989.
From 1981-1989, he was President of The New York Public Library. Gregorian has taught European and Middle Eastern history at San Francisco State College, UCLA, and the University of Texas at Austin.
In 1972, he joined the University of Pennsylvania faculty and was appointed Tarzian Professor of History and professor of South Asian history. In 1974, he became the founding dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania and four years later became its twenty-third provost.
Gregorian is the author of The Road to Home: My Life and Times; Islam: A Mosaic, Not a Monolith; and The Emergence of Modern Afghanistan, 1880-1946. He is the recipient of numerous fellowships, including those from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Social Science Research Council, and the American Philosophical Society.
Currently, he serves on several boards including Brandeis University, The Hunter Foundation, National September 11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center, The American Academy in Berlin, Qatar Foundation, National Constitution Center, Philadelphia, Central European University, Human Rights Watch, Museum of Modern Art, and The Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton.
Among the many awards and honors Gregorian has received are the American Academy of the Institute of Arts and Letters’ Gold Medal for Service to the Arts (1989), the National Humanities Medal (1998), and the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civil award (2004). After majoring in history and the humanities, Gregorian graduated with honors from Stanford University in 1958 and was awarded a Ph.D. in history and humanities from Stanford in 1964.
Gregorian will join Clark, Tom Brokaw, John Hockenberry and Thoman Daschle among others on the commission.
The Commission will convene this week in Washington, DC to select the 2009-2010 class of White House Fellows. The Commission will select 11 to 19 fellows from among the 30 chosen as national finalists; more than one thousand people applied for the class.
“The men and women of this commission embody what makes the White House Fellows program so special,” said President Obama. “These leaders are diverse, non-partisan, and committed to mentoring our next generation of public servants. I’m confident that they will select a class of White House Fellows that demonstrate extraordinary leadership, strong character, and a deep commitment to serving their country.”
The White House Fellowship is America’s most prestigious program for leadership and public service, providing young individuals with experience working at the highest levels of the federal government. Fellows also participate in an education program consisting of roundtable discussions with renowned leaders from the private and public sectors and complete service activities throughout the year. Alumni of this non-partisan program include former Secretary of State General Colin Powell, retired U.S. Army General Wesley Clark, and author Doris Kearns Goodwin.
“The White House Fellows program is so important as it allows for a variety of perspectives to come together to offer expertise and experience on important policy issues and then these Fellows carry what they’ve learned back to their own communities to benefit Americans far outside the walls of the White House,” said First Lady Michelle Obama.