Gerald R. Ford Leadership Forum

Facing Fragility: America’s Youth and Their Future

“Kids these days: we’ve heard the expression, and we’ve perhaps used it ourselves. Today’s youth, however, face a unique set of challenges: the advent of smartphones, the unsettling rise of social media, declining trust in our social and political institutions, uncertain economic prospects, and so forth. They didn’t make this world—that would be their parents and grandparents who did—but they are trying to navigate it.

Are they doing so successfully? What obstacles are they facing? Is all this uncertainty making them more fragile and less resilient? Why does resiliency matter?

These were the questions explored in detail by the Ford Leadership Forum, part of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, in cooperation with Baylor and Pepperdine Universities and the Murdock Charitable Trust. The Ford Leadership Forum co-hosted two events on the theme “Facing Fragility: America’s Youth and Their Future,” held in Washington DC on October 11th. The first event was a conversation hosted by Leadership Forum Director Jeff Polet and featured professor Jean Twenge, author of iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy—and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood, among other works.

That evening, the Ford Leadership Forum co-sponsored an event at the National Press Club, moderated by Baylor Professor David Corey, and featuring Dr. Twenge, Dr. Anthony Bradley, and Dr. Curt Thompson. 


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