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December 5, 2006

GIFT TO EXPAND EXCEPTIONAL LEADERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES OFFERED THROUGH COLIN POWELL CENTER AT CCNY

NEW YORK, December 5, 2006 – As a Colin Powell Leadership Fellow with the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies at The City College of New York (CCNY), Trevor Houser, ’06, developed Internet-based tools to help decision-makers involved in U.S.-China relations build and identify consensus among stakeholders in both the public and private sector. Another Fellow, Brad Walrond, ’06, served as a research assistant for a United Nations public opinion survey on peacekeeping in Burundi, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Today, Mr. Houser works as an analyst for China Strategic Advisory, a New York-based firm that advises policymakers and business leaders on China’s economic development and its impact on global markets. Mr. Walrond is a Faculty Fellow at Columbia University where he is working toward a Ph.D. in political science.

These projects exemplify the kind of work done by students engaged in programs run out of the Powell Center, the student-focused policy center established by Gen. Colin L. Powell, USA (ret.) ’58, in 1997 with a generous gift from the May and Samuel Rudin Foundation. 

A $10 million grant from the New York Life Foundation to the Powell Center announced today will not only expand the Center’s activities, but also enable many more students to have the kind of opportunities afforded to Mr. Houser and Mr. Walrond. The grant will play a pivotal role in accomplishing General Powell’s mission to build a think tank that takes the lead on discussing vital issues and prepares students from diverse backgrounds to enter the realm of making public policy.

It also enables the Powell Center to develop new curriculum that will bring African-American issues, perspectives and experiences to the forefront. This will create opportunities for all students involved with the Center to explore public policy topics relating to the African-American community and prepare for careers that address them.

“From the beginning, I decided that preparing exceptional students from diverse backgrounds for careers in public service should be a large part of what this center does,” General Powell said. “That’s why students don’t merely assist with the Center’s work, they produce part of the work themselves.”

The New York Life Foundation grant establishes The New York Life Endowment for Emerging African-African Issues, which will support research on issues at the global, national and local level that affect African-Americans and other underserved groups. It represents an important leadership gift in an ongoing campaign to expand the scope of and broaden participation in the Powell Center’s activities.

 The Endowment expands the number of high-achieving students from these groups who will be able to participate in and benefit from Powell Center programs and activities by providing permanent funding for scholarships, internships and graduate fellowships. Through the endowment, each year CCNY will award 16 Colin Powell New York Life Scholarships for undergraduates, five Colin Powell New York Life Graduate Fellowships and eight Colin Powell New York Life Internships.

“In the realm of public policymaking, we need a workforce that is truly reflective of modern American society,” General Powell noted. “To achieve that we must create opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds to prepare for public service careers. The Endowment will do just that by enabling deserving students to immerse themselves in the study and practice of policymaking, unencumbered by the need to hold down part-time jobs to pay their school expenses.”

Students selected for the program will train for service learning, undertake internships, study with and be mentored by professionals, develop and implement policy proposals and other research, work on Center publications, and attend conferences, special plenaries, workshops and roundtables. The hands-on learning opportunities, which include working side-by-side with public policy practitioners and scholars, will give participating students a marked advantage in preparing for their future careers.

Funds from the Endowment also provide support for programs to enrich the Powell Center’s academic experiences, such as enabling students to travel to professional conferences or defraying costs for research-related expenses such as access to archives. One planned program will bring professional policymakers and other leaders to campus once a month to discuss their work at lunch or dinner meetings with students.

In addition, CCNY will establish the New York Life Leader-in-Residence program, which will bring a prominent policymaking leader to campus three days a week for an academic year to advise and mentor students and deliver lectures to CCNY classes.

Through the Powell Center’s ongoing programs, exceptional students already engage in a wide range of leadership and community service projects. The Colin Powell Leadership Program, which Mr. Houser and Mr. Walrond participated in, provides two years of financial support as well as resources and experience, including internships, to develop students’ leadership potential. Activities that other Leadership Fellows have engaged in include:

  • Teaching in a school for Rwandan orphans.
  • Developing websites for the Small Business Administration.
  • Managing a database for Standard & Poors that keeps track of bond issuers’ outstanding debt.
  • Conducting budget analysis and legislative research for Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-NY.

In addition, the Powell Center houses CCNY’s Service Learning Program and provides support and resources for faculty and students engaged in service-learning courses. Students in these courses conduct community-based research by working with organization on specific projects that connect academic learning with community service.   The program also promotes partnerships between CCNY and community-based non-profit organizations and government agencies.

The New York Life Endowment supports programs that will complement the Center’s ongoing initiatives. These initiatives are organized thematically and support the Center’s efforts to be influential at three levels: locally in CCNY’s Harlem community, nationally in discussions about domestic policymaking, and internationally in debates about foreign policymaking processes and institutions. Current initiatives include:

  • Engaging New York, which explores issues of urban policy in New York, particularly those of most concern to the underserved communities in CCNY’s immediate Harlem neighborhood.
  • Leadership and Philanthropy, which focuses on how foundations, individual donors, think tanks, universities, and other nonprofits influence American policymaking and public discourse.
  • Democracy Assistance, which investigates current practices in democracy assistance policy, with particular attention to the new challenges of contemporary events.
  • Multilateral Diplomacy and International Organizations, which examines the histories and best practice of international organizations such as the United Nations, with particular emphasis on issues of conflict and security.
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