With its location in the heart of the nation’s capital, the George Washington University offers unparalleled opportunities for students and faculty to drive change and to identify ways to make a lasting contribution locally and globally.
Since 2006, approximately 200 Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students have developed their academic and leadership skills in Washington, D.C., through GW’s Native American Political Leadership Program (NAPLP) and the INSPIRE Native Teens Pre-College Program.
These opportunities have been provided thanks to more than 10 years of support from AT&T, which recently increased its long-term commitment to name the new AT&T Center for Indigenous Politics and Policy (CIPP).
Housed in GW’s College of Professional Studies, CIPP will be the only university-based center in the United States whose purpose is to research, educate, and promote political analysis and research on issues of significance to Native communities, including public health, adequate housing, economic security, and culturally appropriate and accessible education on a national level.
“While [NAPLP and INSPIRE] were designed to increase interest and capabilities among the next generation of Native peoples, we wanted to provide more comprehensive programming for indigenous peoples in a larger context,” says Assistant Professor of Political Management Gregory G. Lebel. “This center offers us the opportunity to offer our unique GW perspective and expertise on the political process in both issue advocacy and electoral politics to a larger Native audience.”
CIPP will focus on research, shared practices, and political awareness in conjunction with GW’s current academic programs. The center will also offer important support to Native communities and advocacy organizations and ongoing support to alumni in pursuing public policy agendas that will benefit their members in areas including health, education, housing, and other instances of critical need.
GW’s longstanding partnership with AT&T has provided NAPLP and INSPIRE participants with special opportunities in the District and beyond, most recently the chance to attend the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. These experiences help them develop the skills, outlook, and contacts necessary to generate and sustain change both in Washington and in their local communities.
“AT&T has been a strong, active partner in our programs since the very beginning,” says Greg. “That support has given us confidence to be creative in programming and to think big ideas about what else we can do.”
By supporting GW’s programs focused on Native communities and naming the GW Center for Indigenous Politics and Policy, the AT&T recognizes the university’s strong track record in addressing challenges facing Native communities and shaping the next generation of Native student leaders.