Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Wednesday, October 17, 2018

President Bill Clinton to speak at AU on Friday

President Bill Clinton to speak at AU on Friday
Bill Clinton served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 until 2001. Clinton will be receiving the new “Wonk of the Year” award

Former President Bill Clinton will speak in Bender Area Jan. 27 at 7 p.m., where he will receive the inaugural “American University Wonk of the Year Award.”

The award, established by the Kennedy Political Union and AU this year, recognizes an individual’s implementation of ideas and policies designed to create change in the world, said Student Government Vice President Liz Richards.

Student tickets sold out for Clinton’s speech on Friday within hours of KPU’s Jan. 22 announcement of their Speaker of the Year.

SG staff are looking into options for expanding access to the speech, SG Vice President Liz Richards said. KPU staff will post additional tickets on if they become available.

Clinton previously spoke at AU as president in 1993 and 1997.

In 2005, he founded the Clinton Global Initiative University event to address global issues such as poverty, education and healthcare, according to its website.

“Clinton is probably the best known wonk in the world,” Richards said. “Being a wonk is about creating ideas for the next generation, and I think it’s important to have him championing this case and these ideas.”

Richards was quick to give credit to KPU Director Alex Kreger, who is responsible for arranging Clinton’s visit and creating the award.

“KPU and I worked in tandem, but Alex is the one driving this through,” Richards said. “Without her hard work, neither this event, nor this award would even be possible.”

KPU staff came up with the idea of the award by examining the school’s WONK campaign and identifying a person who embodied all the qualities expected from an AU wonk.

“President Clinton took policy and found a way to bring it to the people,” Richards said. “Policy should translate into people’s lives, and I think that’s what AU’s really about.”

Clinton’s speech is titled “Embracing Our Common Humanity.” Richards emphasized that the theme of the event is the use of policy to aid different groups of people.

Clinton will not take questions from the audience. Instead, AU students can send questions ahead of time via Facebook, Twitter or

Clinton will hold the fifth annual Clinton Global Initiative University event at George Washington University from March 1 to April 1, designed primarily for college students.

Staff writer Zach C. Cohen contributed to this report.

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