The Secretary of the Smithsonian hosts a new roundtable series on some of the big issues facing America.
Dr. David J. Skorton is the 13th Secretary of the Smithsonian. He assumed his position July 1, 2015. As Secretary, Skorton oversees 19 museums, 21 libraries, the National Zoo, numerous education and research centers, including the Smithsonian Astrophysics Observatory, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, and Smithsonian Science Education Center. He is responsible for an annual budget of $1.3 billion, 6,500 employees, 6,300 volunteers and 8,500 digital volunteers.
Under Skorton’s leadership, a new strategic plan has been developed with a focus on convening critical conversations about topics of vital public interest. An example of this was the first-of-its-kind Earth Optimism Summit on Earth Day weekend 2017, which brought together scientists, thought leaders, conservationists and students to share conservation and sustainability solutions that have worked and can work on a larger scale. The strategic plan also calls for increased outreach and attention to the relevance and impact of the Smithsonian’s activities.
The legislation that created the Smithsonian Institution (approved by Congress Aug. 10, 1846) called for the creation of a Board of Regents to govern and administer the organization.