Jane Leu, 37, Founder and Executive Director of Upwardly Global, a nonprofit organization that helps legal immigrants reclaim their professional careers in the United States and assists employers in tapping into the talents and skills of foreign-born professionals, was honored with the 2006 John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award for a non-elected individual whose contributions in the realm of community service, advocacy or grassroots activism have had a positive impact on a broad public policy issue or challenge. Since its establishment in 2000, Upwardly Global has provided job-search tools and training to immigrants, refugees and political asylees from more than 65 countries. The organization has also forged relationships with more than 70 major American employers seeking to diversify their workforces, including Google, Cisco, and J.P. Morgan Chase. Based in San Francisco, Upwardly Global recently opened a second office in New York City. A social entrepreneur whose creative vision, pragmatism and tenacity have powered the success of Upwardly Global, Leu has dedicated her career to opening the doors of opportunity for immigrants and refugees. She holds a B.A. from Tufts University and an M.A. from Columbia University.
Remarks by Caroline Kennedy
Remarks delivered by Caroline Kennedy at the 2006 John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award Ceremony, November 20, 2006.
I am happy to be here today to honor and celebrate two extraordinary young Americans whose commitment to public service is an inspiration to us all.
The New Frontier Awards would have had special meaning for President Kennedy. He would have been delighted that the Institute of Politics and the Kennedy Library Foundation, two institutions that celebrate the ideals he cherished, have collaborated to establish these honors for young public servants.
President Kennedy believed young Americans who devoted themselves to public service were realizing the greatest aspirations of the nation. He often encouraged students to waste no time putting their talents and energies to work for their communities. He especially believed that public service was a noble profession, and he hoped young people would achieve their own dreams by meeting and solving public challenges.
President Kennedy would have been especially delighted to know the two people we honor today. Eric Garcetti and Jane Leu are remarkable leaders who make clear that young Americans can make important and lasting contributions to our public life.
Jane Leu has worked tirelessly to help immigrants realize the promise of the American dream. Her achievements remind us that our differences need not keep us from working together to build a future of opportunity for everyone.
Eric Garcetti has shown that politics at its best brings people together in search of solutions to challenging public issues.
Together, Jane and Eric embody the spirit of public service that President Kennedy championed. They are bridge builders who are bringing idealism, passion and hard work to public challenges that affect all of us. They are role models not just for young Americans, but for all Americans.
Presentation of the New Frontier Award to Eric Garcetti
I am pleased today to present Eric Garcetti with the New Frontier Award for elective public service. This award is also called the Fenn Award, in honor of Dan Fenn, who worked in my father’s administration and was the first director of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Dan Fenn is with us today, and I’d like to ask him to stand for a moment and be recognized.
Eric Garcetti has demonstrated the impact of elective public service through his innovative work on the Los Angeles City Council. He has won praise from fans and skeptics by reaching out and asking diverse and sometimes adversarial stakeholders to work together on the problems confronting the city. His service on the city council has made a difference to thousands of urban Americans. I am delighted to ask Eric Garcetti to come up and accept the 2006 New Frontier Award.
Presentation of the New Frontier Award to Jane Leu
Jane Leu has brought creativity and compassion to the challenges facing immigrants in the United States. Her cutting-edge work is a model of public entrepreneurship which has already contributed greatly to this country – a country whichitself was founded by immigrants. Her work is also improving the lives of countless men and women who are eager to make their own contributions to our public life. She is an inspiring leader, and I am pleased to present Jane Leu with the 2006 John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award.
Remarks by Senator Edward M. Kennedy
Remarks delivered by Senator Edward Kennedy at the presentation of the 2006 John F. Kennedy New Frontier Awards, November 20, 2006.
It’s an honor to join all of you, and our two impressive honorees - Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti and Jane Leu, founder and executive director of Upwardly Global. They each embody the spirit of service to others that my brother worked so hard to inspire in peoples throughout the country and throughout the world.
President Kennedy believed very strongly, as he often said, that each of us can make a difference and all of us should try. It was a commitment that he lived by each day, and believed deeply in, and that he summed up in his extraordinary vision of a New Frontier for America – a new era a possibility and accomplishment for our country for our role in the world.
That vision led to the dismantling of institutionalized racism with the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. It lifted tens of millions of seniors out of poverty with Medicare. It opened the door to higher education for countless young men and women with the creation of the first federal student loan and grant programs. It put a man on the moon, and launched a new era of scientific discovery.
The leaders of his generation were motivated by a youthful energy, a dedication to their fellow human beings, and here at home and all through the nation, a sense that all things are possible for those who dare to dream, who are bold enough to believe that together we can leave this world better than we found it.
We find ourselves in an age of great challenge adversity as well, with growing violence around the world, environmental dangers that threaten the health of our planet, and growing competition from other nations, that is calling into question America’s ability to lead in this new century.
Fortunately, we’re blessed with young men and women like Eric Garcetti and Jane Leu, who are dedicated to using their talents to improve their communities. As long as we have leaders like these, we can be sure that America’s greatest days still lie ahead of her. I know my brother would be proud of you for creating your own new frontiers.