Principled Leadership in Polarized Times

From the Faith Angle Miami 2022 Forum in Miami, FL

David Gergen, Harvard Kennedy School

Jonathan Lee Walton, Wake Forest University

In a forthcoming book on public leadership, Prof. David Gergen, advisor to four U.S. presidents, CNN senior analyst, and founder of Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership, argues that declining trust in American institutions poses a real challenge to our common life. While there is one exception – America’s military – trust is down, from Congress to the presidency, from the news media to those of different political parties, even to religion. How can leaders within institutions change this dynamic? How can self-mastery and self-awareness fit into the larger work of selfless public service? The Rev. Dr. Jonathan Walton, dean of Wake Forest University’s Divinity School, will explore these questions by focusing on the unique role of faith play in institution-building. Are questions about trust, raised many of today’s students, relevant to the rest of us? How does U.S. history and witness of the Black Church speak to uncertainties experienced by a rising generation of Americans – from 9/11 to the 2008 Financial Crisis, from the Trump Years to media feedback-loops and racial unrest, from the pandemic to political polarization and now the war in Ukraine? This “big think” conversation will explore the role of trust – in leadership, institutions, and religiosity.


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Principled Leadership in Polarized Times


David Gergen

Harvard Kennedy School

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Jonathan Lee Walton

Wake Forest University

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