Wednesday, October 18, 2006

John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award

I am very grateful to announce that I have been selected as a recipient of the New Frontier Award for 2006, presented by the Kennedy Library Foundation and Harvard’s Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government.


The award was created "to honor Americans under the age of 40 who are changing the world around them with their commitment to public service." Each year, the award is given to one elected official and one non-elective community service advocate under 40.

I have the great pleasure of joining Jane Leu, founder and executive director of Upwardly Global, a San-Francisco-based non-profit that helps immigrants establish professional careers in the US. (Jane and I attended the same program at Columbia, the School of International and Public Affairs, though not at the same time.) Jane has dedicated her life to opening doors of opportunity for immigrants and refugees by forging relationships with major corporations that range from Google to J.P. Morgan Chase. She's a tremendous advocate and innovator, and it will be a great honor to share a stage with her.

Kennedy's "New Frontier", the inspiration for the award, made its debut here in Los Angeles. On July 15, 1960, he stood in the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, and upon accepting the Democratic Party’s nomination for the presidency of the United States, Kennedy spoke to the delegates and challenged the country, announcing that:

“We stand today on the edge of a New Frontier…a frontier of unknown opportunities and perils – a frontier of unfulfilled hopes and threats. The New Frontier of which I speak is not a set of promises – it is a set of challenges…I am asking each of you to be pioneers on that New Frontier.”

My thanks go out to the awards committee and to my family, my staff, and to the many of you who have worked with me on every project, small or large, that has advanced our vision of a safer, more just and more livable city, and a more open and responsive government. My gratitude to each of you for this honor won't fit on one webpage, so let me take this space to pledge, as Kennedy said, to push forward into “uncharted areas of science and space, unsolved problems of peace and war, unconquered pockets of ignorance and prejudice, unanswered questions of poverty and surplus,” and to work towards “new invention, innovation, imagination, decision.”