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September 2009
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President's Message

Steve Wiley and Angela SontheimerSeptember has always seemed to me to be a time of new beginnings—the start of cooler fall weather, the start of a new school year. This month, we were thrilled to be part of a new start for the Lincoln Leadership Academy in Allentown, Pa., where I spoke as part of the grand opening ceremony on September 8.

Joining me on stage for the inaugural day of this wonderful new charter school were Rep. Charles Dent (R-Pa.), Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, Eastern University President David Black, and our very own Jim Getty, who as always did a great job portraying Abraham Lincoln.

The Lincoln Leadership Academy will provide a holistic education to 250 students in grades 6 to 9 coming from high-risk environments. We are thrilled to be one of their strategic partners. Scroll down to see some photos of the opening.

In this month’s e-news blast, you’ll also hear from faculty member Bob Prosperi, who recounts his experience leading President Jimmy Carter, Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in September 1978 when they were working toward the agreement that the following year, was signed as the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty at Camp David.

The dignitaries stopped in Gettysburg for a tour and history lesson—and some say that their walk through the battlefield led the three men to make the new start toward finding a peaceful solution to their conflict. As we say during our Transformational Journey from Gettysburg program, you never know when a small pebble can turn into a powerful avalanche for leaders.

Read on to learn more and as always, please send your comments and questions to our managing director, Angela Sontheimer, at angela@lincolnleadershipinstitute.com.

Happy fall!
Steven B. Wiley

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Lincoln Leadership Academy Charter School

The Lincoln Leadership Academy of Allentown, Pa., officially opened its doors for the first time this month, and 250 students, grades 6 to 9, started classes at the new charter school.

Local elected officials including Rep. Charles Dent, Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, Pennsylvania State Sen. Pat Brown, and Lehigh County Executive Don Cunningham attended the grand opening ceremony.

"This is truly a great day for our school and our children," said Sandra Figueroa-Torres, the school’s founder, CEO and principal. "It took a lot of hard work to get to this day but truthfully, now the work really begins. On this day, though, I realize that dreams really do come true when you dedicate yourself to fulfill a purpose and work hard at it."

Steven Wiley, president and founder of the Lincoln Leadership Institute at Gettysburg, delivered the keynote address. James Getty, who portrays President Abraham Lincoln, spoke to the students.

"This is indeed a special and spectacular day," Wiley told the crowd. "We are looking forward to our partnership with the academy and teaching the students about the lessons learned from the Civil War."

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President Jimmy CarterThe afternoon I took President Jimmy Carter, Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin on a tour of the battlefield

By Bob Prosperi

Thirty-one years ago, on a sunny September Sunday, I spent a few hours with three heads of state. President Jimmy Carter was hosting Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin at Camp David in hopes of hammering out a peace agreement between the two adversaries. Egypt, along with various other Arab nations, had fought four wars against Israel in the scant 30 years since its founding. While truces and cease-fire agreements existed, no permanent peace treaty had ever been crafted between an Arab state and Israel.

I met President Carter the previous July, when I led him and his party, which included noted Civil War historian Shelby Foote, over the battlefield. Frankly, I was more intimidated by the presence of Foote than that of the president. During that tour, I was very impressed with Mr. Carter’s ability to absorb and analyze many facts and complex ideas. By the end of the tour, I almost felt that he was ready to be awarded a Battlefield Guide license.

On that September visit, the talks at Camp David had not been going well. Both sides clung to points on which they vowed not to compromise and President Carter, acting as intermediary, decided they needed a break from the unresolved issues and the rustic isolation of Camp David. A trip to Gettysburg would provide the world’s media with great photo opportunities while Begin and Sadat would be united on a "neutral" battlefield with so many tangible reminders of the slaughter of thousands of young soldiers.

I believe President Carter was hoping that seeing a battlefield would remind the negotiators just how important their success could be. President Sadat had studied the battle as a military cadet, but Prime Minister Begin was much more familiar with Lincoln and his famous Gettysburg Address.

Throughout the tour, everyone -- except me-- seemed quite relaxed and amiable. President Carter frequently joined in as I conducted the tour and when we got to the National Cemetery, Prime Minister Begin recited from the Gettysburg Address. But perhaps the most memorable moment of that day was at the Angle, where Pickett’s charge was repulsed. As we talked about the grim harvest of battle, often pitting friends and family against each other, President Sadat extended his hand over the barrel of a cannon and enjoined the prime minister to return to Camp David and "make peace."

The tour ended with me being dropped off along Emmitsburg Road, and them motoring back to Camp David. They did "make peace" and later, Sadat and Begin would share the Nobel Peace Prize. Three years later, President Sadat was murdered by Egyptian fundamentalists because he made peace with Israel. Despite naysayers and critics, the peace treaty written by those diplomats stands today. And I spend my sunny September Sundays mowing the lawn.


PACACNew college admissions counselors working with the Pennsylvania Association of College Admission Counseling (http://www.pacac.org) gathered last month to hear words of wisdom about leadership and teamwork from keynote speaker Steven Wiley.

"Many of those in attendance had just graduated from college and were in the first few days of their first professional job," said Russell Althouse, assistant director of admissions for undergraduate admissions at Binghamton University, and chairman of the 2009 PACAC August Admission Workshops.

"We were also running a workshop for support staff, and we decided to join the two groups for Steve’s session because we had him in the past and knew the results we would get from his speech," Althouse said.

In fact, Althouse’s plan was to get these two groups together to hear Wiley’s speech because he knew they would come to realize that regardless of their role in the office—be it professional or support staff— everyone needs to communicate well and work together as a team to have the goal of the organization met.

Althouse said Wiley’s keynote address went beyond his expectations.

"Steve gives a motivating, funny speech that gets the message across using real-world examples," he said. "From the feedback we had from the participants, Steve was right on target. Comments included that he was the best speaker they had heard, and that they really got the message that in our business, you must get along with others, communicate, and stop to listen to what others are saying instead of ‘hearing’ what they are saying."

Wiley couldn’t have been more pleased with the questions the audience asked.

"This was a great group of people, and I believe they left the conference ready to hit the road running in their new professions," Wiley said. "These folks serve an important role in getting those in high school and college on the right path for leadership. So it’s critical that they stay motivated and work as leaders and good team members themselves. I am confident that this bright group will have no problem staying focused and on target."

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Lincoln's Address

146th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission

When: November 19, 2009, Dedication Day
Where: Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College
300 N. Washington Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325

9:30 a.m. Wreath Laying, followed by Dedication Day Ceremony, Soldiers’ National Cemetery.

Past speakers include Ken Burns, Tom Brokaw, Sandra Day O’Connor, and James McPherson. Performances by "The President's Own" United States Marine Band, and a Naturalization Ceremony presented by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
(Sponsored by the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania, the Gettysburg National Military Park, and the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College.)

7:30 p.m. "For the People" World Premiere Concert at the Majestic Theater followed by the 48th Annual Fortenbaugh Lecture with speaker Michael Burlingame; Topic: "Abraham Lincoln: New Information, Fresh Perspectives."

These events are endorsed by the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and the National Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. Support has been provided in part by a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community and Economic Development.

For a complete schedule of events, visit us online at: www.palincoln.org, or call 717- 337-6590.

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Copyright 2009, The Lincoln Leadership Institute at Gettysburg

Newsletter by Inkandescent Public Relations
Writing by Hope Katz Gibbs, president & founder; Copyediting by Kristin Nauth
Design by Jessica Dean, publisher/designer of Celebrate Gettysburg magazine