We are the Henry Clay Center, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose strategic mission is to change the nature of our country’s political discourse and the manner in which our nation approaches ideological divisions.


The Henry Clay Center’s long term vision is to become the center of excellence for cooperative national political dialogue and to return Kentucky to its historical position as a place where opposed cultures can work together – Iroquois-Cherokee, French-English, Northern-Southern, urban-rural. Ultimately, we envision a transformation of the national political dialogue inspired by leaders who understand the power of statesmanship and elevate its core principles.


The mission of the Henry Clay Center is to transform the tone of our country’s political discourse. We don’t seek to change partisan minds, but rather to teach individuals how to listen and find common ground in the spirit of the profound legacy of the great Kentucky statesman, Henry Clay.


Founded in 2007 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship is dedicated to the education of tomorrow’s leaders in the skills necessary for statesmanship, dialogue, negotiation and compromise. The first annual College Student Congress was held in 2008 and continued every year until 2012. In 2014 and 2015, the Center transitioned from hosting a college program to the High School Student Congress. Beginning in 2016, the Henry Clay Center began hosting both the College and High School Student Congresses annually in partnership with the University of Kentucky and Transylvania University. In 2017, the Center expanded the College Student Congress to include an additional program in Washington, D.C. with an opportunity for internships upon completion. Alumni of the Henry Clay Center now number over 700 and serve in a variety of professions, including as elected state and local officials, staffers in the US. House and Senate, and corporate and legal professionals in the private sector.


We accomplish this mission by growing a cadre of future leaders, engaging our elected officials and educating the American public. Our competitive student congresses select rising high school and college seniors from across the United States to participate in rigorous summer programs in Lexington, Kentucky and Washington, D.C. that are centered on today’s most pressing policy issues. Our bipartisan speaking engagements, alumni mobilization and policy summits challenge speakers and audiences to listen to those who hold beliefs different from their own, to identify shared goals, to collaborate on areas of mutual interest and to learn the art of cooperating while maintaining personal convictions and values.

clare magee

Clare Magee,

Executive Director, Director of Academic Programs

Tennessee native Clare Magee has been with the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship since the spring of 2017. Clare has experience in nonprofit organization and program logistics, as well as social media and project management. She has previous experience interning with the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as well as working on a variety of humanitarian projects overseas. Clare is a member of the 2019-2020 Leadership Lexington class.


Clare holds a Master of Arts in Diplomacy and International Commerce, with specializations in Diplomacy and Development, from the Patterson School at the University of Kentucky, and a Bachelor of Arts in Intercultural Studies, with a minor in English, from Union University.


henry clay center

Alison Griffith,

Director of National Outreach

Alison is a seasoned program officer with twelve years international and domestic experience leading high-quality, evidence-driven projects that create positive change at the local, regional, and international levels.  Managing programs in the District of Columbia (D.C.), Hungary, Iraq, Nicaragua, and Oman, Alison engaged in tactful diplomacy and targeted outreach to develop creative solutions to address diverse challenges and strengthen community leadership.  Prior to her service with the U.S. Department of State, Alison served as a professional staff member for the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs.


Alison holds a Master of Arts in Public Policy, with a specialization in International Affairs, from Central European University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, with a Minor in Italian, from Wake Forest University.  Alison is a native of Lexington, Kentucky, and currently resides in Washington, D.C.


henry clay center

Rob Givens,

Senior Advisor to the Board

Louisville native Rob Givens graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1986 and achieved the rank of Brigadier General before retiring in 2013 after serving his country for 27 years in the United States Air Force. During his military career he became a command pilot with more than 3,700 flying hours in the F-16 and A/O A-10. Rob is a combat veteran with more than 100 career combat sorties in Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom and was twice decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism in action against Iraq. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Fighter Weapons School and flew as the Right Wing for the USAF Thunderbirds.



He is a graduate of the School of Advanced Air Power Studies and the National War College. Rob has attended executive level education programs at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, Kenan- Flagler Business School at University of North Carolina and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. In January 2015 Rob became a partner in Forward Strategy Partners. Prior to joining the Henry Clay Center, he served as the national security advisor to the Rand Paul for Senate Campaign and as an independent advisor on defense issues with both the public and private sector.


Board of Directors List

Senator Trent Lott,

Honorary Co-Chair

Senator Tom Daschle,

Honorary Co-Chair

Robert N. Clay,


Bill Giles,


Bob Babbage

Alex Boone

Seamus Carey

Charlie Grizzle

Merl Hackbart

John R. Hall

Tom Harris

Douglas Kiker

Crit Luallen

Ian Ralby

Derek Vaughan

McGuire “Mac” Riley

Alumni Association Co-Chairs

Mikael Tessema,

2019 College Student Congress Alumnus (Connecticut Representative)

– Harvard University

Madison Powell,

2019 College Student Congress Alumnus (Kentucky Representative)

– Kentucky State University