Woodrow Wilson Foundation names Indian-American as president

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The prestigious Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation announced that Rajiv Vinnakota will serve as its next president starting July 1.

Rajiv Vinnakota is the new president of the prestigious Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the organization announced March21. (Photo courtesy WW Foundation)

The new Indian-American president succeeds Arthur Levine, who is credited by WW Foundation for transforming the organization into a national leader in educator preparation and school improvement. The announcement about Vinnakota’s appointment was made on the eve of the75th annivesary of WW Foundation.

Vinnakota, who co-founded the SEED Foundation in 1997, most recently led the Youth and Engagement division at the Aspen Institute.

A graduate and former trustee of Princeton University, Vinnakota has dedicated his career to educating, empowering, and supporting America’s youth, particularly those from disadvantaged communities, said the March 21, press release from WW Foundation which is headquartered in Princeton, N.J.

He has worked as a social entrepreneur and non-profit leader, and his work has been recognized with prestigious fellowships including Echoing Green, The Ashoka Foundation and the Aspen Institute, as well as awards such as Harvard University’s Innovation in American Government Award, Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson Award and Oprah Winfrey’s Use Your Life award.

“We are thrilled that Raj Vinnakota will head the Foundation at this important moment in its history.  Ensuring that the next generation of Americans has the best prepared, most inspiring educators possible has been the mission of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation since it was established,” Thomas C. Hudnut, chairman of the WW Foundation Board of Trustees, is quoted saying in his announcement.  “We now find ourselves in a moment of social and technological transformation that requires rethinking how we prepare and inspire those who will teach the next generation of Americans.  Raj’s leadership, passion and commitment to education and civic engagement make him the ideal leader for the Woodrow Wilson Foundation,” Hudnut added,

“Leadership development and civic participation is as important today as it was when the Woodrow Wilson Foundation was founded in 1945,” Vinnakota said. “Nobel Laureates, MacArthur Fellows, Pulitzer Prize winners, Presidential and national medal recipients, and thousands of others have been Woodrow Wilson Fellows. This organization has helped develop and support many of America’s most outstanding educators and civic leaders. I am proud to build upon this tradition.”

Current Woodrow Wilson Foundation programs include the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship, the Woodrow Wilson HistoryQuest Fellowship, the Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellowship in Education Leadership, the Nancy Weiss Malkiel Scholars Award, the Career Enhancement Fellowships, the Mellon Dissertation Support Program, the Mellon Mays GAP Program, the Course Hero-Woodrow Wilson Fellowship for Excellence in Teaching, the Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships, and the Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowship in Women’s Studies.

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