Start Early. Start well.

September 02, 2015

Buffett Early Childhood Institute and Aspen Institute Partner for Early Childhood Education Symposium in Omaha

Omaha, Neb. — The Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska and the Aspen Institute are bringing together some of the nation’s leading early childhood experts and philanthropists for a public discussion about the future of early childhood education and care. The event, titled “50 Years after Head Start: Making an Investment in Early Childhood Education in America,” will take place Friday, September 11, at the Strauss Performing Arts Center on the University of Nebraska Omaha campus. 

The panel discussion will run from 3:30 – 5 p.m., and will be followed by a reception from 5 – 6:30 p.m. Both are free and open to the public. Additional details are available at Registration is required. 

Panelists include: Samuel J. Meisels, Founding Executive Director, Buffett Early Childhood Institute; Jackie Bezos, President and Co-Founder, Bezos Family Foundation; George Kaiser, Chairman, BOK Financial Corporation; Deval Patrick, Managing Director of Bain Capital LLC and former governor of Massachusetts; and J.B. Pritzker, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Pritzker Group. The panel will be moderated by Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute, and former chairman and CEO of CNN and TIME Magazine editor. 

The panelists will discuss a number of topics, including the impact of Head Start and other significant early childhood initiatives, philanthropic and policy support for early childhood programs, continued research on young children’s brain development, and the future of early childhood education in America.

“The interest and commitment to young children from low-income families—both in Nebraska and across the nation—would not be at the level they are today if not for Head Start,” said Meisels, one of the nation’s leading experts on early childhood assessment and child development. “The creation of Head Start was transformative. Head Start has changed the face of early childhood care and education in this country.”    

Head Start was founded in 1965 as part of a national commitment to children in poverty by providing comprehensive services to help prepare them and their families so that children begin school successfully. In the 50 years since, more than 30 million children have attended Head Start. Today, Head Start serves more than 1 million children annually in urban and rural areas in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. territories.  

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. Through Aspen Across America, the Institute expands the reach of its programming to college campuses and a variety of public spaces where individuals can meet and join in serious, timely conversation. The Aspen Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

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