Obama's domestic adviser to deliver Segal lecture

Lecture is free and open to public; RSVP required

Melody Barnes

Melody Barnes, President Barack Obama's domestic policy adviser, will discuss civic leadership and public service at an Eli J. Segal Citizen Leadership Lecture on March 23. Barnes is the director of the Domestic Policy Council in the White House.

Her talk will take place at 7 p.m. in Levin Ballroom and is free and open to the public, but those wishing to attend must RSVP online by March 16.

The event is being hosted by the Segal Program, a foundation created in honor of the late Eli J. Segal '64 that aims to inspire young men and women to serve their country as citizen leaders for social justice. Former President Bill Clinton delivered the inaugural lecture in 2007.

"I'm honored to address this network of students who share the values of service, responsibility and community that we value deeply in President Obama's administration," Barnes said. "I look forward to discussing ways we can transform communities and our country for the better."

Eli Segal served as a top aide to President Clinton during his campaign and in his administration. He led in the creation of AmeriCorps and the Welfare to Work Partnership. The network of Segal Program affiliates now numbers more than 400 people and includes Segal Fellows at Brandeis, fellows who received Segal awards from City Year, the Corporation for National and Community Service and AmeriCorps alums and founders who contribute expertise and financial support to the program.

"We are delighted that Melody Barnes will join us to inspire future generations of America's leaders," said Eli's widow, Phyllis N. Segal. "Her career exemplifies the leadership this program seeks to develop – men and women who use their intellectual skills to improve the lives of others."

Barnes was the senior domestic policy adviser during Obama's presidential campaign. Before that, she served as executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress and for eight years was chief counsel to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Barnes' other career experience includes work in fields of women's health, religious freedoms and business law. She served the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as director of legislative affairs and also worked in the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights.

Fellows say they hope the lecture will engage the entire community in a discussion about service and the different paths everyone can take to improve communities.

"We hope this lecture will inspire the next generation of citizen leaders to continue to work toward the common good," said Segal Program Manager Toni Schwarzenbach. "The Segal Program teaches people how to unite around a common cause, and serve others through a variety of career paths," she said.

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