Former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, along with his colleague Doug Wilson, has been hosting a very interesting “successor generation” event called The Leaders Project for the past several years. The sixth iteration of the event is hosted at a remarkable estate in northeast Florida called White Oak, as it has been for five of the previous sessions. A run late this afternoon took me past zebras, rhinos, and horses spread across a wildlife sanctuary. The substance of the event: “The Media and the World: Through Each Other’s Eyes.” The group assembled is as varied and unexpected and exciting as the venue. The dinner speaker tonight was Dan Senor, whom I’ve come to respect enormously over the past several months. (Dan’s strategy firm has ably advised us on media strategy for StopBadware.) He focused on the 24-hour news cycle and the challenge of being a spokesperson to a global media, where a single news conference in Iraw is covered not just by Fox and CNN but also the satellite networks serving the Arab world.
From the description on Conde Nast of White Oak: “Hidden away among pine trees, palmettos and tidal wetlands of Florida’s northern border with Georgia is the exclusive White Oak Plantation, a sanctuary for numerous species of endangered wildlife and a centre for the arts. Originally a private estate owned by Howard Gilman – whose grandfather, Isaac Gilman, was to the US paper industry what the Rockefellers were to oil and Andrew Carnegie to steel – the plantation has now become a refuge for endangered species, and other more exotic species in need of care. With the guidance of conservationist John Lukas, White Oak has become perhaps the most exclusive conservation facility in the world, home to more than three dozen species of endangered and threatened animals, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, kept in a secluded 600-acre section at the heart of the estate.”