In an effort to increase the public's understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities encountered by the growing number of military veterans across the country and to highlight UCLA's role in supporting them, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, in partnership with Zócalo Public Square, will host "How Are Veterans Changing America?", a half-day forum at UCLA on Saturday, April 27, at 1 p.m.
Experts from UCLA, nonprofit organizations and the government will come together for a series of panels moderated by seasoned journalists addressing a variety of veteran-related topics, including veterans and the U.S. job market, how wars are changing medicine, and how deployment and combat affect military families.
Freshman U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D–Hawaii), the first of two female combat veterans to serve in Congress and a captain in the Hawaii National Guard, will deliver the event's keynote remarks.
Chancellor Block launched UCLA's Veterans Initiative this year to build on- and off-campus awareness about UCLA programs, research projects and services that benefit veterans, like Operation Mend, which provides plastic and reconstructive surgery and mental health support for service members severely wounded and disfigured in combat. The initiative also seeks to boost awareness of and appreciation for the hurdles returning U.S. service members face and the advantages and skills they bring to civilian life.
"Service is one of UCLA's top priorities," Block said. "And I believe deeply that we have a responsibility to not only assist the men and women who give so much serving our nation in uniform but to increase awareness of the unique challenges they face and the tremendous skills they have to offer. We can never fully repay veterans for their sacrifice, but we can work to better understand their experiences and to make sure society utilizes the great talents and abilities they acquired during their military service. That's what this forum is all about."
The forum is the second major veteran-related event to be held since the campus initiative launched in January, when UCLA co-hosted a reception in Washington, D.C., honoring the nonprofit Service Nation and military veterans dedicated to a lifetime of service. Earlier this year, UCLA relaunched and redesigned its veterans website, www.veterans.ucla.edu, to appeal to a broad audience, providing information and links to UCLA veteran-related resources, research, programs, events, volunteer opportunities, news stories and videos.
UCLA, which has been recognized as one of the nation's most "military-friendly" campuses for its attention to the needs of student–veterans, is known for developing innovative programs benefiting veterans. In addition to Operation Mend, the groundbreaking work of UCLA's David Hovda has revolutionized the way soldiers with combat-related brain injuries are diagnosed and treated. The UCLA Anderson School of Management's Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans With Disabilities provides free training to former military members looking to launch and manage their own small businesses. UCLA Anderson and the UCLA School of Law both participate in the Yellow Ribbon program, which offers tuition assistance to veterans. And UCLA doctors, nurses and residents are deeply involved in all aspects of patient care at the Veterans Administration Healthcare System through a partnership that began in the 1950s.
More events raising awareness of veterans are being organized throughout the year, culminating in the annual Veterans Day ceremony in November.
Zócalo Public Square is a not-for-profit daily Ideas Exchange that blends digital humanities journalism and live events. We foster healthier, more cohesive communities by tackling important contemporary questions in an accessible, nonpartisan and broad-minded spirit. Based in Los Angeles and roaming across the country, Zócalo explores connection, place, big ideas and what it means to be a citizen, be it locally, regionally, nationally or globally. We are committed to welcoming a new, young and diverse generation to the public square.
UCLA is California's largest university, with an enrollment of more than 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer 337 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Six alumni and six faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize.