The Bush Center

Distinguished Leader Speaker Series

About Our Series

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  • Mission of Distinguished Leader Speaker Series

    The George and Barbara Bush Center for Scholars and Leaders hosts this event to feature speakers who have made significant contributions as leaders or in the study of leadership.

    The series highlights Houston Christian's commitment to education and leadership. It also provides an opportunity to reach out to our community. Proceeds from the luncheon or breakfast fund the speaker to make this unique educational opportunity possible and benefits Houston Christian High School's leadership programs.

Join us March 9, 2023

When Kim Phuc Phan Thi was nine years old, her village in Vietnam was napalmed. She sustained third-degree burns all over her body. It was unlikely that she would survive. Two of her cousins did not. The scars - both physical and mental - remain fifty years later. It is not a message of retaliation or revenge that she wishes to spread but of peace and forgiveness. Over the course of the next two years, Kim would be treated in hospitals and clinics, while the picture taken by The Associated Press' Nick Ut would become one of the most iconic images of the war. The Vietnamese government exploited the image's power and infamy for propaganda purposes. She was saved by her newfound Christian faith. 

Fire Road: The Napalm Girl’s Journey through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness, and Peace by Kim Phuc Phan Thi is the true story of how she found the answer in a God who suffered Himself, a Savior who truly understood and cared about the depths of her pain. 

As the Kim Foundation International founder, she is now spreading a message of forgiveness by donating funds to organizations that provide free medical care to children who are victims of war and terrorism. She turned her pain into love, and as Jesus Christ changed her heart, Kim, in fact, changed the world. 

We are honored to welcome Kim Phuc Phan Thi to Houston Christian High School on March 9, 2023, for our Distinguished Leader Speaker Series Event. Kim will join our students, faculty, and special guests for an assembly in the Pampell Family Chapel at 9:30 a.m., and the Reception Luncheon will follow in the Brown Family Dance Studio. Check-in for registered guests opens at 12:00 p.m., and the event starts at 12:15 p.m.  Parking is available in the Junior Lot, in front of Mustang Circle.

Registration for Reception Luncheon is now closed.

For more details, please contact Sandra Bell. 

2023 Speaker

    • Kim Phuc Phan Thi

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  • Kim Phuc Phan Thi Biography

    Kim Phuc Phan Thi is known around the world as “The Girl in the Picture.” In 1972, at the age of 9, she was immortalized in a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph that shows her screaming and running naked down a road in Trang Bang, Vietnam, after having her clothing burned off by napalm. A living symbol of the atrocity of war, she is the founder of The KIM Foundation International, a nonprofit dedicated to providing funds to support the work of international organizations that provide free medical assistance to children who are victims of war and terrorism. Mrs. Phan Thi has suffered many hardships since that day in 1972, including several years of painful burn therapy, but her spirit has always remained strong. Inspired by the physicians who helped her survive, she decided to become a doctor; but her premedical studies in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) were interrupted in 1982 when the Vietnamese government removed her from school to act as a “national symbol of the war.” Four years later, the government permitted her to continue her studies in Cuba, but health issues put an end to her plans to become a doctor. It was in Cuba that Mrs. Phan Thi met her husband, Toan. They married on September 11, 1992. While on the way back to Havana after their honeymoon in Moscow, the couple defected to Canada during a one-hour layover in Newfoundland, Canada. They now live near Toronto, and Mrs. Phan Thi travels the world as a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Goodwill Ambassador for the Culture of Peace. Kim Phuc Phan Thi has received seven honorary doctorate degrees from universities in Canada, Australia, the United States, and Mexico for her efforts to help children and end world conflict. She is an Honorary Member of Kingston Rotary, an Honorary Member of St. Albert Rotary, a Member of the Advisory Board for the Wheelchair Foundation, an Honorary Member of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, a Member of the Advisory Board of Free Children's Foundation in Canada, and the World Children's Center in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Mrs. Phan Thi is also a recipient of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal, the 2004 "Order of Ontario,” as well as the International Peace Prize presented in Dresden, Germany, in February 2019. Kim is the author of Fire Road, her personal memoir, which has been translated into ten languages.
  • Purchase Fire Road

    Fire Road by Kim Phuc Phan Thi is the true story of how she found the answer in a God who suffered Himself; a Savior who truly understood and cared about the depths of her pain. Fire Road is a story of horror and hope, a harrowing tale of a life changed in an instant―and the power and resilience that can only be found in the power of God’s mercy and love.

    Click here to purchase her book via Amazon. 

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  • Former Speakers

    We have welcomed the following Distinguished Leader Speakers to our campus to share their unique stories and insights on leadership.
    2022 - Jean Becker & Jim McGrath
    2021 - Jerry Mitchell
    2019 - Daren Neely 
    2018 - Josh Sundquist 
    2017 - Jessica Jackley
    2016 - Mary Kate Cary
    2016 - Brian Ivie
    2015 - Eric Metaxas
Strong leadership is not bound by a position or title. Great leaders can influence the world at any level.