We were extremely honored that the Hoover Institution was awarded the 2006 National Humanities Medal. President George W. and First Lady Laura Bush presented the medal to the Hoover Institution in an official ceremony in the Oval Office on November 9, 2006.
Since its inauguration in 1997, the National Humanities Medal has typically honored individuals but only a handful of organizations. As a public policy research center, the Hoover Institution is the first of its kind to receive this prestigious honor. The Institution was indirectly honored in other years when Hoover fellows Victor Davis Hanson, Thomas Sowell, and Shelby Steele were awarded this distinction individually.
The inscription on the award reads “The President of the United States of America awards this National Humanities Medal to the Hoover Institution for its responsible stewardship and its promotion of liberty and peace. For more than four decades, it has supported many of our leading thinkers and enriched public discourse on the most vital and consequential issues facing our Nation.”
As an institution dedicated to advancing the principles of individual, economic, and political freedom; private enterprise; and representative government, a tribute of this magnitude is especially meaningful, giving us significant pride in our role in advancing our institutional mission. By collecting knowledge, generating ideas, and disseminating both, the Institution seeks to secure and safeguard peace, improve the human condition, and limit government intrusion into the lives of individuals. Ideas have consequences, and we are proud of our vigilance in promoting ideas defining a free society. As a great tribute to the entire Institution, we stress our appreciation to our friends and supporters who play a crucial role in our success.
In the pages that follow, we expound on the activities of Hoover’s research program, archival initiatives, and communication efforts. These are exciting times at Hoover on all fronts. To exemplify the significance of new thinking about how to leverage our efforts to obtain greater impact, be sure to read about the task forces that are now being conceived and implemented. Hoover has a core of superb scholars, concentrated in economics and political science, each of whom has an aggressive individual research agenda. The Institution is also uniquely able to convene excellent scholarly talent from Stanford and other universities. The task force recipe is to combine these intellectual ingredients from within and elsewhere to form teams of scholars to work collectively for five years as a virtual faculty, following an agreed-on charter, to contribute to the debate on contemporary policy issues of importance.
Such issues range from international conflict and resolution to domestic policy concerns such as health, education, energy, taxation, property regulation, and government spending and from philosophic principles of freedom, prosperity, and security pertaining to Americans to the appropriate role of government within our society and possible procedural reforms of governance. Research in these entities is focused, and the outcomes of their efforts are geared toward pushing the national dialogue and debate forward with diligence and competitive purpose.
The Hoover Institution continues to pursue ideas defining a free society, with a longterm commitment toward developing enduring solutions for the challenges that face our nation and the world.
John Raisian and Peter B. Bedford