April 30, 2013 – Former President Bill Clinton (SFS’68) today told an audience in Georgetown’s historic Gaston Hall that being a good citizen in the 21st century “requires every thoughtful person to try to do some public good.”
The 42nd president of the United States, whose speech was geared toward students, said that if young people want to go into a field that serves the public, they should focus on four things: “people, purpose, policies and politics.”
Clinton said the most important aspect is listening to people’s stories and what their needs and interests are.
“Most people get in real trouble and abuse power when they forget that the purpose of their power is not to impose their will on others but to let other people be empowered to live their own lives better,” he said. “Or as I always say, have better stories.”
Today's talk, part of The Clinton Lectures at Georgetown, was the first in a series at the university exploring the people, events, lessons and principles that shaped his career in public service.
Relaying stories about his early childhood in Arkansas in a house without a television or private telephone line, Clinton explained how his grandfather and uncle were role models and shaped his life.