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Spirit of America's Advisors

Dear friends and supporters,

Spirit of America is very fortunate to have a terrific and distinguished Advisory Board. Our Advisors offer their time, assistance and advice to Spirit of America without compensation and without much recognition. We don't acknowledge them nearly enough.

Today, I have very sad news about one and good news about another.

Ambassador Mark Palmer (1941-2013)
I'm terribly sad to note the passing of Ambassador Mark Palmer. This is a great loss to those struggling for freedom everywhere.

Mark served on Spirit of America's Advisory Board since 2004. He was co-founder of the National Endowment for Democracy, co-founder of the Council for a Community of Democracies and Vice Chairman of Freedom House.

After his involvement in the US civil rights movement, Mark served in the US State Department from 1964-1990 and was Ambassador to Hungary from 1986-1990. He worked with President Reagan on articulating America's vision for advancing democracy and human rights worldwide. And, he received numerous awards for his contributions to the liberation of Hungary, Poland and the Baltic States.

Amb Mark Palmer for email

Mark was an extraordinarily principled, committed and courageous man. Despite the difficulty of the challenges he took on, he never lost his smile, positive attitude or generous spirit. He was the very definition of a "cheerful warrior." Mark is survived by his wife Dr. Sushma Palmer.

We miss him deeply. His life and work will continue to inspire all of us at Spirit of America.

General (Ret.) Stan McChrystal
General McChrystal has served on Spirit of America's Advisory Board since 2011. He has been exceptionally generous with his time, insight and assistance. I'm happy to note that his book - My Share of the Task - was launched last month. In General McChrystal's distinguished military career he commanded the Joint Special Operations Command from 2003-2008 and commanded all US and coalition forces in Afghanistan from 2009-2010.

My Share of the task

It's not surprising the book is a NY Times Bestseller but it may surprise you that it is the #1 Bestseller in Business Leadership. In the last two years, I've learned that General McChrystal's experiences and lessons learned are far more applicable to business leadership (or any kind of leadership) than I could have imagined. For example, his insights into decentralization and collaboration - which he achieved inside an enormous, multi-layered institution - are applicable to any organization. However, with the detailed accounts of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the book is a page-turner unlike any leadership book I've read.

If you are interested in history, leadership or how the military has adapted and changed in the last decade, I encourage you to read My Share of the Task. For video, watch General McChrystal's interview with Charlie Rose or his comments on SoA.

Spirit of America's Advisory Board
Here is a complete list of SoA's Advisory Board members.

  • Dr. Kimberly Kagan, President, Institute for the Study of War
  • General (Retired) Jack Keane, US Army
  • Dr. David Kilcullen, President and CEO, Caerus Associates
  • Senator John McCain
  • General (Retired) Stanley McChrystal, US Army
  • Nicco Mele, Founder, EchoDitto
  • Dr. John Nagl, Senior Fellow, Center for a New American Security
  • Honorable George P. Shultz, Former US Secretary of State
  • Jack Vaughn, Director Emeritus, US Peace Corps

We thank them all.

All the best,
Jim Hake and the Spirit of America team