Vanderbilt taps 26 notable names to democracy project board

March 29, 2022 GMT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Vanderbilt University initiative aimed at bridging the gap of political polarization in the U.S. has named 26 members to its advisory board, ranging from politicians to musicians.

The Vanderbilt Project on Unity & American Democracy announced Tuesday a panel that includes prominent political and government voices. Among them are former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former U.S. Attorney General and current Belmont University law school dean Alberto Gonzales, Bill Clinton’s former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles, and former U.S. ambassador to China and one-time Washington governor Gary Locke.

Joining them are country music artists Martina McBride, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.

Other board members include Jonathan Nez, Navajo Nation president; Kofi Appenteng, president and CEO of the Africa-America Institute; David Brooks, columnist for The New York Times; Forrest Harris, American Baptist College president; Valerie Rockefeller, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors chair; Walter Isaacson, biographer and former editor of Time; and Darren Walker, Ford Foundation president.

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The project says the board’s broad appeal will lend authority and trust to a wider audience.

The project’s co-chairpeople are former Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Haslam and Vanderbilt faculty members Jon Meacham, a presidential historian, and Samar Ali, research professor in political science and law.