The ICAS Lectures


An Intellectual, Committed, Adaptive and Steadfast Leader

Becky Norton Dunlop

ICAS Liberty Award Dinner

Cannon Caucus Room
United States Congress
Capitol Hill, Washington, DC

Institute for Corean-American Studies, Inc.

Biographic sketch & Links: Becky Norton Dunlop

An Intellectual, Committed, Adaptive and Steadfast Leader

Becky Norton Dunlop
Vice President for External Relations
The Heritage Foundation

I want to thank the Institute for Corean Studies for honoring Dr. Edwin J. Feulner tonight.

Dr. Feulner's friendship with Dr. Sang Joo Kim goes back many years. Both are committed to advancing and nurturing good relations between the Republic of Korea and the United States of America. And, both share a strong belief that young Americans like those in the ICAS orbit have an understanding of the principles that are the foundation of the United States of America.

I have been asked to say just a few words tonight about Dr. Feulner. This is challenging so I decided to express a few thoughts by picking four words that I think of when I think about Ed Feulner.

Those words are: Intellectual, Committed, Adaptive, and Steadfast....ICAS.

Ed Feulner is an intellectual. He is a leader of the think tank community that is based on the belief that economic, social and political freedom are inseparable --- part of the same yearning of the human spirit. This statement comes from his book "Intellectual Pilgrims" which contains three speeches he gave while serving as President of one of the think tanks he has led, The Mont Pelerin Society. I actually brought a copy of this book for the Hayoung [Yoo] who introduced me. His leadership of the Heritage Foundation which I joined during the time he was President was based on this belief. His leadership of Heritage was focused on principles, values and ideas -- not politics. We believe that if the American people get the principles, values and ideas right, good politics will follow. Working for the largest think tank in the world that is based on conservative principles has been a privilege for all of us and we have so appreciated Ed Feulner's intellectual leadership.

Ed Feulner is committed. Probably Linda Feulner could give the best speech tonight about his commitment. Long days, lots of hours and days traveling the world to see one more donor, make one more speech, attend one more conference, encourage one more person...all because of his commitment to expand human liberty. But it seems that Ed Feulner is committed to everything he believes in...his faith, his family and yes, his work. Those who have observed him know this to be true. But from my own perspective the commitment was most apparent in his work because that is where I interacted with him. And, in his work, he not only believed in the ideas... he was committed as the leader of the Heritage Foundation to get these ideas out to the Congress, to the policy leadership in the country, to the media, and to others who would benefit from the research work that Heritage scholars produced. And, his commitment rippled throughout the organization.

Ed Feulner is adaptive. Throughout his tenure as the President of the Heritage Foundation, Ed had the reputation of being a policy entrepreneur! He was always considering new methods for advancing the ideas Heritage championed. For instance, when the internet was in its infancy...and that was only in the 1990's for you young people in the audience, Ed Feulner embraced the idea of launching an internet "townhall" for like-minded organizations which were smaller and had fewer resources than the Heritage Foundation. It was innovative and somewhat risky...but very successful. Later Townhall was spun off and became an independent operation now owned by a major media company. Heritage has a lectures program...Ed insured that as technology developed, all our public events could be streamed live on-line, Heritage built a state-of-the-art radio studio, Heritage had an aggressive webpage presence and moved to web- based policy memos. Heritage has a growing and highly competitive intern program growing from 50 a year to 180 each year. I could continue listing ways in which Ed proved to be an adaptive leader but I think you get the drift. He welcomed new ideas and rejected the notion that it had to be invented at Heritage to be good. He encouraged the staff to be an encouragement to others. His mantra that we should always seek ways to "add and multiply our numbers rather than dividing and subtracting from them" made us each more creative and adaptive in our own work. Now that he is no longer President of the Heritage Foundation, he continues to adapt to his on-going role as a significant leader of the conservative thought leaders in the world. Both the leader of the majority in the Senate and the new Speaker of the House have been the beneficiaries of words and deeds of this adaptive leader. I suspect the next occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave will have some opportunities for Dr. Feulner to adapt to as well.

My final point tonight is that Ed Feulner is steadfast. Ed Feulner's principles have not changed and have not wavered. His stewardship of the Heritage Foundation was steadfast and forward looking. The Heritage Foundation stands for free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional values and a strong national defense. The Foundation stood for these principles when Ed Feulner became president and the foundation stood boldly for these principles on the day he stepped down. That this is true, is just one measure of the man who is steadfast in his love for human liberty and the elements that provide the best environment for human liberty to survive and flourish. He is the kind of leader that should be honored.

Thank you ICAS for choosing to honor this man, Dr. Edwin J. Feulner, an intellectual, committed, adaptive and steadfast leader. God bless you, everyone.

This page last updated December 12, 2015 jdb