Monthly Archives: March 2014

Remembering James Schlesinger

Today the Foundation and the extended Jackson family mourn the loss of a giant and a man central to the Jackson tradition:  we mark the passing of former Secretary of Defense Dr. James Schlesinger at the age of 85.  Dr. Schlesinger was Director of the CIA under President Nixon as well as becoming the first Secretary of Energy under President Jimmy Carter.  He was also a recipient of many awards, including the National Security Medal and the Dwight Eisenhower Distinguished Service Medal, and was awarded nine honorary doctorates.  His career achievements as a public servant are too numerous to mention.Jim Schlesinger Pentagon

Jim Schlesinger was a man distinguished by his intellectual rigor and the breadth of his knowledge.  He was a founding member of the Board of Governors of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation and played a key role in the establishment of the Foundation.  Once when he was in Seattle in 1994 to give the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Lecture, he presented his prepared remarks for an hour on America’s foreign policy and what he viewed as a widespread sense of drift in the uncharted waters of the post-Cold War world.  What struck many of those in the audience, however, was his mastery of the hour that followed his lecture: the question and answer period, which ranged from the expansion of NATO, the North Korean nuclear threat and the post-Deng era in China to the role of the CIA in the post-Cold War world, nonproliferation treaties and whether the U.S. should be providing Russia with financial aid.  His complete command of every subject raised was breathtaking and a true expression of the variety and depth of his important political posts he held throughout his career.

The Jackson Foundation awarded Dr. Schlesinger its highest honor, the Henry M. Jackson Award for Distinguished Public Service, in 1996.  In presenting him that honor, Foundation Chair Helen H. Jackson said this about him:

“In a momentous period that spanned more than two decades, Jim has helped shape American domestic and foreign policy at the highest levels.  He has served his nation with great distinction.  During those years of governmental service, Jim and Scoop worked together very closely.  They developed a relationship of mutual respect, strengthened by their shared values and convictions.  My husband relied on Jim for his vast experience in energy, defense, and national security matters.  Scoop was not alone in his high regard for Jim, whose long and dedicated service to this country has been widely recognized.”

Jim Schlesinger remained an engaged and active observer and analyst of political and military affairs until the end.  He was regularly consulted for his trenchant analysis, scholarly depth and quick mind.  His role in America’s public life will not be easily filled.  We will miss him.

Lara Iglitzin, Executive Director

Welcome!

Lara Iglitzin
Lara Iglitzin

Welcome to the Jackson Foundation’s new website! We are delighted to have up-to-date features including profiles of recent grantees and programs, videos and photos of historical value and present-day relevance, such as our conferences and lectures, and this new blog. In this blog you’ll occasionally find thoughts about the current situation in Russia, with an emphasis on developments in civil society.

Olympic Games

I have been reflecting on Russia post-Olympics, post-Ukrainian revolution. Now that the Olympics in Sochi have ended, Russia’s internal and external concerns will again rise to the surface.

The run-up to the Olympics in terms of press for Russia was not good – from security concerns, cost overruns, and migrant labor walk-outs to the outcry on gay rights and worries about gay athletes and their supporters worldwide.  Since we’ve been closely observing the deterioration of civil society in Russia for the past several years, the world’s attention has been welcome even as the problems are worrisome.  Putin’s gestures in advance of the Olympics – the freeing of oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was behind bars for over 10 years, as well as the early release of the young women from the punk-protest group, Pussy Riot – were also welcome, if transparent in their intent to win friends and minimize protests before the Games.

My concern had been that now that the Olympics are over, the world’s attention would shift from Russia again.  But the Ukrainian revolution and threatening behavior by Russia makes that very unlikely, at least in terms of our nation’s foreign policy concerns.  But the problems within Russia’s own walls will also remain:  a constricted space for civil society, a controlled media environment, and a manipulated political space, with Putin pulling the strings.   It is in all of our best interests that we continue to urge Russia to develop stronger protections for all of its citizens  and for the region as a whole.   Our Foundation intends to keep its focus on Russia and the former states of the USSR for the long-term.  We will be monitoring Russian aggression in Ukraine closely, particularly with an eye on how Russian and Ukrainian civil societies are impacted.

Partnerships

Leadership Forum Panel
Leadership Forum Panel

I will also comment in this space on our latest programs, such as the one in late January that we had in partnership with the Evans School at the University of Washington.  For over twenty years we have been able to help talented graduate students at the Evans School studying environmental policy.  Our goal when we began this program was to find and encourage graduate students who will become our future leaders as we tackle water and land management, climate change, energy geopolitics, clean air and water concerns – and all sorts of environmental resource challenges that we could not have foreseen at the time.  Over the years we have heard from many of the students about the impact of their fellowships and how financial support allowed them to focus more on their classroom work and policy interests.  Allison Kelly received the Jackson Environmental Policy and Natural Resource Management Fellowship after serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama, where she worked on a program to better protect the buffer zone of a unique cloud forest and help preserve the rare species found in the forest in perpetuity.  She excelled in her Master’s work and began a Ph.D. at the Evans School.  Another Fellowship holder, Meg Boyle, was a founding member of the Energy Action Coaltion and the Climate Campaign in Maine before beginning her studies with Fellowship support.  She has also worked as a global warming policy specialist for Greenpeace USA.

It is our hope that many of these students will help become the future leaders who help us solve our nation’s challenges on the environmental front, carrying on the towering legacy of Senator Jackson in this field.

We will welcome hearing your views and urge you to comment on our work and the Jackson legacy in action.