Company has helped make possible the university’s Native American Political Leadership Program.
Since 2006, the AT&T Foundation has given nearly $2 million to GW’s Native American Political Leadership Program (NAPLP), and last Tuesday, GW took a moment to say “thanks.”
President Steven Knapp hosted a luncheon to honor and publicly thank AT&T for their seven-year commitment to this program, a part of Semester in Washington. Attendees included executives from AT&T, program staff for NAPLP, program alumni and other significant players in the Native American community in Washington, D.C.
Established in 2006, NAPLP is a unique academic scholarship program designed specifically for Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian undergraduate students from universities around the country. Its goal is to create a corps of trained young Native leaders with the skills and ability to generate and sustain social change both in Washington and in their local communities.
Over the course of a semester in Washington, D.C., students learn how public policy decisions are made, how power is wielded, and how our government is run through rigorous GW coursework, professional internships and special events with decision makers and leaders in the Native American political community.
“This program is one of the best I’ve ever seen. The power of this program is that it introduces students from diverse Native tribes and gives them the opportunity to see how similar they really are to each other,” said Tom Brooks, vice president of external affairs at AT&T.
After NAPLP, students return to their home campuses knowing what it takes to win elections, pass legislation and influence public opinion. More importantly, they know what professional options are available and are better informed about how politics works and how they fit into that process.
An alumna of NAPLP’s charter class and a current NAPLP staff employee, Kraynal Alfred knows firsthand the value of this program and is excited to be a part of the next chapter of its growth.
“NAPLP draws together a cohort of indigenous students who possess diverse ideologies and a common passion for political and community advocacy,” she said. “It is this passion that drove the development of the NAPLP INSPIRE initiative that is set to launch this summer.”
INSPIRE is a multimedia social campaign aiming to motivate indigenous high school youth to stay in school and become politically active. As part of its long-term goals, the initiative hopes to establish a pre-college summer program for Native youth, hosted at GW.
“This program and its anticipated high school outreach initiatives are built on President Knapp's commitment to diversity here at GW,” noted Ms. Alfred at the luncheon. She was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet representatives of AT&T, which has provided seed funding for INSPIRE in addition to its NAPLP grant.
“All of us at AT&T are proud of our partnership with GW on this program,” said Jim Cicconi, senior executive vice president of external and legislative affairs at AT&T. “It was a special treat to not only have President Knapp host this event but also to meet so many young people who have participated in this program and gone on to impressive careers.”