Obama Appoints Vartan Gregorian to President’s Commission on White House Fellowships

WASHINGTON—On June 17, President Obama appointed Vartan Gregorian, the president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and 27 other prominent Americans to the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships. This accomplished group of citizens representing a broad range of backgrounds, interests, and professions are responsible for recommending a group of exceptional men and women to the president for selection as White House Fellows. The commission will be chaired by John Phillips, a partner at Phillips and Cohen Law Firm. Cheryl Dorsey, president of Echoing Green, will vice-chair the commission.

Vartan Gregorian
Vartan Gregorian

“The men and women of this commission embody what makes the White House Fellows program so special,” said Obama. “These leaders are diverse, non-partisan, and committed to mentoring our next generation of public servants. I’m confident that they will select a class of White House Fellows that demonstrate extraordinary leadership, strong character, and a deep commitment to serving their country.”

The White House Fellowship is America’s most prestigious program for leadership and public service, providing young individuals with experience working at the highest levels of the federal government. Fellows also participate in an education program consisting of roundtable discussions with renowned leaders from the private and public sectors and complete service activities throughout the year.  Alumni of this non-partisan program include former Secretary of State General Colin Powell, retired U.S. Army General Wesley Clark, and author Doris Kearns Goodwin.

“The White House Fellows program is so important as it allows for a variety of perspectives to come together to offer expertise and experience on important policy issues and then these Fellows carry what they’ve learned back to their own communities to benefit Americans far outside the walls of the White House,” said First Lady Michelle Obama.

The Commission will convene this week in Washington, D.C. to select the 2009-10 class of White House Fellows.  The Commission will select 11 to 19 fellows from among the 30 chosen as national finalists; more than 1,000 people applied for the class.

Vartan Gregorian is president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, a position he assumed in June 1997.  Previously, he served as president of Brown University from 1989-97. From 1981-89, he was president of the New York Public Library.  Gregorian has taught European and Middle Eastern history at San Francisco State College, UCLA, and the University of Texas at Austin.  In 1972, he joined the University of Pennsylvania faculty and was appointed Tarzian Professor of History and a professor of South Asian history. In 1974, he became the founding dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania and four years later became its 23rd provost.  Gregorian is the author of The Road to Home: My Life and Times; Islam: A Mosaic, Not a Monolith; and The Emergence of Modern Afghanistan, 1880-1946.

Gregorian is the recipient of numerous fellowships, including those from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Social Science Research Council, and the American Philosophical Society. Currently, he serves on several boards including Brandeis University, the Hunter Foundation, the National September 11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center, the American Academy in Berlin, the Qatar Foundation, the National Constitution Center, the Central European University, Human Rights Watch, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton. Among the many awards and honors Gregorian has received are the American Academy of the Institute of Arts and Letters’ Gold Medal for Service to the Arts (1989), the National Humanities Medal (1998), and the Medal of Freedom (2004), the nation’s highest civil award. After majoring in history and the humanities, Gregorian graduated with honors from Stanford University in 1958 and was awarded a Ph.D. in history and humanities from Stanford in 1964.

For more information about the program, visit www.whitehouse.gov/fellows.


  1. Now this is news! Well done Baron Gregorian. Our youth need to see and read more such success stories. I take it this is something like an ANCA L. Sarkissian Program but in the White House. This can be quite useful for our new generation of youth interested in public service. I wonder if a similar program could be developed in Armenia with guidance from the Civilitas Foundation.

  2. Obama Appointed Vartan Gregorian in the white house.

    I never felt that Barack would betray us.
    We suffered worse than slaves.
    We reached from farther than Africa to USA–
    From Anatolia where our ancestors
    Before Christ where there.

    Slaves lived in hope to be free
    But our fleshes were thrown in deserts
    Then traveled through rivers to enter Gulf Sea
    The Bedouins saved us, they know well
    Who are we and what others did to us.

    However, we never lost hopes
    With Siamanto we still could sing.
    That we will sing thorough the hopeful roads
    To our written destiny.

    Everyone know us from East to West
    We are born Honest
    Our genes are blessed
    By talented— kindness.

    Obama can’t slay us,
    He knows, we don’t have scimitars.
    But we have well documented arts.
    We have soulful poems for every one
    Who knows human right.

  3. Dear Vartan Gregorian, I worked at Brown when you were the President and there were times when you, so generously, engaged in conversation with me.  One time in particular was when annually, administrative people were consulted to pool our efforts to come up with more efficient ways that the University would best fit the needs of the employees and staff.  We were taking a photo of all the participants and you, so graciously, joined us in the photo as well.  I had to return a University phone call and was not present at that moment.  You, so graciously, set out to search for Nearpass, and you found me and escorted me to the photo shoot.  We all gathered around you and you insisted that Nearpass stand up front with you.  I’ll never forget this happy memory.  You were so revered throughout the University and especially by me.  Thank you for this wonderful memory, I have always respected you so much.  God Bless You.

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