The Art of Democracy
Creative Expression and American Greatness
With every freedom, there is a responsibility.
With the freedom of speech, a responsibility to listen. With the freedom of belief, a responsibility to accept. With the freedom from want, a responsibility to serve. With the freedom from fear, a responsibility to act. During the spring of 2017, Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, delivered this message in—and across—four commencement addresses. The result, expanded and edited for this volume, is a stirring defense of democratic values and institutions, and an urgent call for civic engagement in our time.
About The Author
Darren Walker is President of the Ford Foundation, the nation’s third largest philanthropy, and for two decades has been a leader in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. He led the philanthropy committee that helped bring a resolution to the city of Detroit’s historic bankruptcy and chairs the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance.
Prior to joining Ford, he was Vice President at the Rockefeller Foundation where he managed the rebuild New Orleans initiative after Hurricane Katrina. In the 1990s, as COO of Harlem’s largest community development organization, the Abyssinian Development Corporation, Darren oversaw a comprehensive revitalization program resulting in over 1,000 new units of housing, Harlem’s first commercial development in twenty years and New York’s first public school built and managed by a community organization. He had a decade long career in international law and finance at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and UBS. He serves as a trustee of Carnegie Hall, New York City Ballet, the High Line, the Arcus Foundation and PepsiCo.
Educated exclusively in public schools, Darren received the “Distinguished Alumnus Award,” the highest honor given by his alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin. In 2016, TIME magazine named him to its annual list of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.” He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the recipient of thirteen honorary degrees.
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