n her book Spoken From the Heart, Laura Bush shares many stories of her incredible life. But the one she retells the most often “may not be the one” that she actually wants to tell, she said in an interview with Convene. It’s the story
of where she was on Sept. 11. “When I talk about where I was, everyone wants to talk about where they were,” Mrs. Bush said. “We want to still go over in our minds where people were; I think this probably occurs at all times when there is a very dramatic happening. People want to put some sort of context to it, such as where they were, or how they heard, or what they thought.” Mrs. Bush’s personal retelling of the events of that day — a big part of her book —
includes stories other people have told her, such as people who lost a family member that tragic day. And those stories are part of the design of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, which is being built on a 24-acre site on the campus of Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas. After people walk through the museum, they will be “able to record where they were and what they heard,” Mrs. Bush said. “Their stories become part of the history that belongs to the presidential library.” So, back to Mrs. Bush and where she was on the morning of Sept. 11. She was on
Capitol Hill, scheduled to brief the Senate Education Committee about an education symposium to be held under her leadership. She hasn’t stopped beating the drum for education and leadership development since she left the White House. Here, she shares with us what that — and the importance of creating a network — means in terms of the meetings industry.
Why is it that you are so passionate about education? I believe that education is the key to any sort of success in society, both personally and profession- ally. When you have a chance to read widely, your whole world is broader. You may not be able to travel, but if you can read widely, you know what is happening in other parts of the world. I also think that educated people are more
understanding. They understand others, see the ways that they are different and similar. We all feel happiness, sadness, and loneliness. I think learning and reading is the way to be a broader and more open person. Especially now, consid- ering the huge technological advances that are happening, it is important for people to receive a formal education much earlier in their life and to continue to educate themselves. They have to learn to handle technology. For instance, when
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I went to library school, you shelved books and checked books out with a card catalogue. Now we use search engines, computers, and such. We don’t look in the old Encyclopedia Britan-
nica that we might have in the past. We have a much broader and wider access to information. This is true in every field. Technology has changed things, and lifelong learning helps you keep up with it. Deeper than that, if you are learning, you are
still living. The more you continue to read and keep up with current events and also read history, the better your life will be. I think it gives you a deeper understanding and a more interesting life to have a broader view. Knowing about people and technology — and all the things you might not have learned when you were back in a formal education setting — is so important.
‘Technology has changed things, and lifelong learning helps you keep up with it.’