Witnesses to History: Laura Bush and Rudy Giuliani to Headline 2018 NFDA Convention

BROOKFIELD, Wis. – Former first lady of the United States Laura Bush and former mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani will give the keynote addresses during the National Funeral Directors Association’s  2018 International Convention & Expo, Oct. 14-17 in Salt Lake City.

“We are so excited to bring two historic figures, like Mrs. Bush and Rudy Giuliani, to our convention,” said NFDA President Ken Cahall. “One of the themes that will emerge during our convention is that of storytelling – we’ll see that played out in a number of ways, such as the Remembering a Life Film Contest and our ongoing efforts to support FAMIC’s Have the Talk of a Lifetime initiative. Both Mrs. Bush and Mr. Giuliani have compelling stories to share about their time in office and service to our nation.”

Laura Bush, First Lady of the United States (2001-2009) 

General Session, Monday, Oct. 15

Bush is an advocate for literacy, education and human rights. During her keynote address, she will discuss her time as First Lady of the United States, her reflections on 9/11, her passion for education and the work of the George W. Bush Institute.

After leaving the White House, she and her husband, President George W. Bush, founded the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas. The Center is home to the Bush Presidential Museum and Library and the George W. Bush Institute, a public policy center established to solve the world’s most pressing challenges by developing leaders, advancing policy and taking action.

As first dady – and a former teacher and public school librarian – Bush advocated the importance of literacy and education to advance opportunity for America’s young people and to foster healthy families and communities. At the Bush Institute, the Education Reform Initiative works to improve student achievement through effective school leadership, middle school transformation and the use of accountability.

Because heart disease is the leading cause of death among American women, in 2003, Bush partnered with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to launch The Heart Truth campaign and the Red Dress Project. She continues to promote women’s health through Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, an independent affiliate of the Bush Institute and a global partnership fighting women’s cancers.

As chair of the Bush Institute’s Women’s Initiative, Bush promotes access to education, healthcare and economic opportunity for women and girls around the world. The Women’s Initiative programs are preparing and empowering the next generation of women leaders in North Africa and the Middle East, working to ensure the expansion and protection of women’s rights in Afghanistan, and engaging and supporting First Ladies from around the world to effectively use their unique platforms to advance issues for women and girls in their countries.

Rudy Giuliani, 107th Mayor of New York City (1993-2001) 

General Session, Wednesday, Oct. 17

 Giuliani was widely lauded for his steady hand during one of our nation’s most challenging times. His keynote address will focus on “Principled Leadership: In the Face of Change and Crisis.”

After joining the office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Giuliani rose quickly through the ranks to become chief of the Narcotics Unit. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan appointed him as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, a position in which he spearheaded successful efforts against organized crime, white-collar criminals, drug dealers and corrupt elected officials. Few U.S. attorneys can match his record of 4,152 convictions with only 25 reversals.

In 1993, Giuliani was elected mayor of the City of New York. Campaigning on the slogan “One City, One Standard,” he focused his efforts on reducing crime, reforming welfare and improving quality of life. In 1997, he was re-elected, capturing 57 percent of the vote.

On Sept. 11, 2001, America suffered the worst attack in its history when terrorists crashed planes into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Thousands of New Yorkers were killed, including hundreds of members of the city’s uniformed services who rushed to the scene to lead the heroic rescue of tens of thousands of people. Having narrowly missed being crushed when the Towers fell, Giuliani immediately began leading the recovery effort as the city as it faced its darkest hour.

Limited by New York City law to two terms as mayor, after leaving office, Giuliani founded Giuliani Partners in 2002, a consultancy focusing on emergency preparedness, public safety, leadership during crises and financial management. Giuliani also serves as a senior advisor to the executive chairman of the international law firm Greenberg Traurig; he also serves as the firm’s chair of the cybersecurity, privacy and crisis management practice.

The latest information on the convention is available by visiting www.nfda.org/saltlake2018. Registration and housing for the 2018 NFDA International Convention & Expo opens May 1.