Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Bush Hager to join Critical Conversations Speaker Series

Published: September 15, 2017
Updated: October 03, 2017
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Auburn University will welcome Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Bush Hager to campus Thursday, Oct. 5, at 5 p.m., in Auburn Arena as part of the university’s Critical Conversations Speaker Series.

The daughters of former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush, Bush and Hager—accomplished authors, leaders and philanthropists—will participate in a moderated discussion on the topic of Diverse Perspectives on Women Leaders, followed by a Q&A session.

"We are delighted that Barbara Bush and Jenna Hager will be joining Auburn’s Critical Conversations series next month," said Taffye Benson Clayton, vice president and associate provost for inclusion and diversity. "As accomplished women and renowned activists, having their voices as a part of this important dialogue is invaluable."

Launched this month, the Critical Conversations Speaker Series welcomes distinguished scholars, journalists and thought leaders to campus to promote diverse ideologies and advance dialogue on topics such as inclusion, intellectual diversity and civil discourse in higher education. On Sept. 1, the series successfully opened with a moderated discussion by internationally recognized Ivy League professors Cornel West and Robert George. Additional fall speakers include authors and scholars Howard Ross, Derald Wing Sue, Frank Bruni and former White House correspondents Donna Brazile and Ann Compton.

"As strong women leaders and respected advocates for global initiatives like health equality, literacy and human rights, I know Barbara Bush and Jenna Hager will inspire Auburn students to have important conversations around these issues and what it means to be a woman leader in today’s society," said SGA president Jacqueline Keck.

Jenna Bush Hager is a contributing correspondent for NBC’s TODAY and is the current chair of UNICEF’s Next Generation, an initiative dedicated to reducing the number of preventable childhood deaths around the world. Hager traveled throughout Latin America and the Caribbean with UNICEF where she saw firsthand the plight faced by the underprivileged. Her experience inspired her to write "Ana’s Story: A Journey of Hope," a New York Times best seller based on the life of a 17-year-old single mother living with HIV and determined to shield her child from the abuse and neglect that riddled her own childhood.

In addition to Ana’s Story, she also co-wrote "Read All About It!" with her mother Laura Bush. Hager and Mrs. Bush recently released a second children’s book, "Our Great Big Backyard," which celebrates the centennial of the National Park Service and encourages children to go outside and explore America’s parks. Hager is preparing to release a book of short stories with her sister titled "Sisters First" for release in October. It will take readers on an extraordinary and deeply personal journey behind the scenes of what it is like to be born into a political dynasty, reveal never-before-told stories about their family and uncover the enduring sisterly bond that kept them sane through it all.

Barbara Pierce Bush is the CEO and co-founder of Global Health Corps, or GHC, a global community of young leaders working to build the movement for health equity. To date, GHC has fostered more than 1,000 young leaders who believe health is a human right and who take an innovative approach to solving some of the world’s biggest global health challenges. In 2015, Bush was recognized as one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business. Previously, she worked at the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Red Cross Children’s Hospital in South Africa, UNICEF in Botswana and the UN World Food Programme. Bush is a member of UNICEF’s Next Generation Steering Committee and on the board of directors of Covenant House International, PSI and the UN’s Social Entrepreneurship Council.

Doors will open at 3 p.m. on Oct. 5. Attendees are asked to be seated by 4:45 p.m. The event is open to the public and will be livestreamed on the Critical Conversations website at

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 29,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn's commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact. Auburn's mission to educate, discover and collaborate drives its expanding impact on the world.