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.
Abby Didawick is a recent graduate from the University of Kentucky, where she holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Arts Administration, with a minor in Digital Media and Design. Through previous positions, Abby has gained experience with nonprofit organizations, including special events, fundraising, and marketing. Abby most recently served as an intern for the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts and U.S. Congressman Pete Sessions (TX).