Barbara Bush to be the New Speaker for Malott Public Affairs Program

Barbara Bush. Photo courtsey of

Barbara Bush. Photo courtsey of

On March 24, Barbara Pierce Bush will give a lecture entitled “Confronting Today’s Global Health Challenges” at Garrison Theater as part of the Elizabeth Hubert Malott Public Affairs Program, which seeks to bring speakers to campus who offer opinions not commonly found at Scripps. Barbara Bush, daughter of the 43rd President, George W. Bush, co-founded and currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of the Global Health Corps.

The Global Health Corps is an organization that strives to bring healthcare to the most under-served regions by matching qualified leaders with non-profit organizations that promote global health equity. The Echoing Green foundation named it one of the 14 most innovative worldwide startups and Newsweek and Glamour Magazine have honored Bush as one of the most influential female entrepreneurs in 2011 and 2013, respectively.

After the Malott Program disinvited George Will as its 2015 speaker, Bush was a “natural” choice for the new speaker committee, according to Scripps President Lori Bettison-Varga. “She is a confident, courageous and hopeful woman who has initiated important changes on a global level,” President Bettison-Varga said regarding the committee’s decision.

President Bettison-Varga believes that Ms. Bush will significantly contribute to dialogue on campus by emphasizing the important and complex issue of global access to quality healthcare, a subject not too often discussed at Scripps. “She will comment on the challenges, policies and civic engagement opportunities in a series of discussions and presentations with students, faculty, staff and members of the public,” she said.

The Elizabeth Hubert Malott Public Affairs Program is known for bringing conservative speakers to campus, including last year’s speaker, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan. Although Ms. Bush, with her extensive social work and public support for liberal causes, such as gay marriage, appears to be an odd fit for the program, President Bettison-Varga believes that “her experience as a member of the first family gives her a unique perspective on 21st century political conservatism.” President Bettison-Varga said she views Ms. Bush’s leftist tendencies as an asset that will allow her to better identify with the questions and concerns of Scripps students.

President Bettison-Varga also reported that the Scripps community has positively received Ms. Bush’s speaking invitation.