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Obama and McCain Agree to Participate in Forum on Service and Civic Engagement (9/11/2008)

Thursday, August 21, 2008   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Greg Heinrich
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August 21, 2008 [New York, NY] – Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain will discuss in depth their views on service and civic engagement in the post-9/11 world during a primetime forum on the evening of September 11 in New York City.


The Forum is being staged by ServiceNation, a dynamic new coalition of 110 organizations (including AmeriCorps Alums) that has a collective reach of some 100 million Americans and is dedicated to strengthening our democracy and solving problems through civic engagement and service. It will be the opening event of the bipartisan, Sept. 11-12, ServiceNation summit, which will launch a one year grassroots campaign to expand voluntary community and national service opportunities for all Americans; use proven service strategies to tackle some of America’s most chronic social challenges; and call on all Americans to make service a bedrock ideal in our democracy


At the Forum, called “A Nation Of Service,” Senators McCain and Obama will appear on stage separately to discuss their respective visions for the role of service in America’s future. Richard Stengel, Managing Editor of TIME, will moderate, and the event will be open to all broadcast networks.


“I look forward to participating in the 9/11 service forum,” said Senator Obama. “After September 11, Americans of every age, race, region and walk of life were ready to step up and answer a new call of service for their country. Making that call to service will be a central cause of my presidency, because we need the active citizenship of the American people to meet the challenges of the 21st century."


"I am pleased to be participating in the ServiceNation Summit in New York City. The Summit will be an important remembrance of those that made the ultimate sacrifice serving their country and others as we focus on how to inspire others to serve causes greater than their own self-interest through national and community service," said Senator McCain.


The Forum audience will include 9/11 family members, young Americans, military veterans, and thought leaders, and questions can be submitted by the general public at “The Presidential Candidates’ Forum will serve as a call to action for the next administration,” said Forum moderator and TIME managing editor Richard Stengel. “I hope to have candid conversations with Senators McCain and Obama about their plans for engaging more Americans in national service.”

Background on ServiceNation and the Summit:


The bipartisan September 11-12 ServiceNation Summit, will convene more than 500 distinguished leaders from American business, government and leading non-profit institutions to celebrate the ideal and power of service, and lay out a bold policy blueprint for addressing America’s greatest social challenges through expanded opportunities for voluntary community and national service. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will welcome the Summit attendees when the proceedings continue the morning following the candidates Forum, on Sept. 12th, and the summit will conclude with a keynote address by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who earlier this year became the first governor to create a cabinet post dedicated to service and volunteering.


"Service is an idea whose time has come." said Alan Khazei, CEO of Be The Change, Inc. one of the four organizations--along with City Year, Civic Enterprises and Points of Light Institute--that are helping to coordinate the ServiceNation effort. "The entire Service Movement is energized by both Senators McCain and Obama making service a central theme of their respective visions for America.”


The ServiceNation Summit is being co-chaired by Caroline Kennedy; Alma Powell, Chair of America’s Promise Alliance; TIME’s Stengel; Vartan Gregorian, President of Carnegie Corporation of New York; Bill Novelli, CEO of AARP; and Laysha Ward, President of Community Relations and the Target Foundation. It is convened and underwritten by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York and Presented by TIME, AARP and Target. The recording artist, Usher, serves as the Youth Chair for the Summit.


Following the summit, on Sept. 27, ServiceNation will organize a national Day of Action to engage tens of thousands of Americans in events across the country that will showcase the power, potential and impact of service. To date, 891 events have been created in 50 states. The public can sign up to host, or find events to attend, at


The goal of ServiceNation (, which currently includes 110 organizations who collectively reach some 100 million Americans, is to mobilize a grassroots movement that will inspire America’s leaders to expand voluntary community and national service opportunities, target Americas greatest societal challenges with proven service strategies, and promote voluntary service as a core ideal in our democracy. Facebook is the lead social media partner to help ServiceNation achieve these goals. A full list of ServiceNation coalition members can be found at:


In parallel to the ServiceNation campaign, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) are currently working on new bipartisan national and community service legislation designed to expand opportunities for voluntary community and national service. One of the key goals of the Service Nation campaign is to inspire the next president and Congress to enact this legislation by September 11, 2009.


The Service Nation summit and forum will build on the momentum sparked by TIME Managing Editor Stengel’s September 10, 2007 cover story --  “The Case for National Service.” Throughout the last year, TIME and have continued to cover national service topics with a particular focus on the candidates’ positions. To coincide with the Sept. 11-12 ServiceNation Summit, TIME plans to feature stories on national service and civic engagement in the issue that hits newsstands on Friday, September 12.


ServiceNation’s bipartisan Summit Leadership Council includes mayors, governors, former Senators and leaders from every sector of American society (full list is available at

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