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News, Events & Resources

2010 Academy of Achievement Summit

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Additional presentations on Friday were made by: Donald Graham, Chairman of the Washington Post Company, which also publishes Newsweek and Slate; former Mayor of Indianapolis, Steven Goldsmith, now a professor at Harvard's Kennedy School; Michelle Rhee, Chancellor of the D.C. schools, who began her career as a young leader of the Teach for America program; and Karen Ignagni, President and CEO of AHIP -- America's Health Insurance Plans.

For Friday's luncheon the assembly moved to historic Blair House. Known as the President's Guest House, this mansion, originally built in 1824, has welcomed foreign heads of state since its acquisition by the federal government during World War II. Its splendid interior is rarely seen by the general public, but the Summit Fellows were treated to a rare tour of its spacious rooms and tranquil courtyard. At Blair House, the Fellows received a summary of defense issues from the President's National Security Advisor, General James L. Jones.

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General James L. Jones addresses Reynolds Foundation Fellows at the historic Blair House residence.

The national security theme was developed further as the company was taken on a bus trip to Langley, Virginia, and the offices of the Central Intelligence Agency, where the Fellows received a tour and briefing, followed by a visit with one of America's most respected public servants, CIA Director Leon Panetta. A former U.S. Congressman, Director of the Office of Management and Budget and Chief of Staff to President Clinton, Panetta helped dispel some of the aura of mystery surrounding the nation's intelligence services.

At the end of the long day, the Summit participants returned to the Willard Hotel for a reception in the Crystal Room and a final dinner in the elegant Willard Room. Over dinner, David Gergen introduced a series of speakers drawn from the ranks of the Reynolds Fellows, and from the other programs that enjoy the support of the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation.

The administrative home of the NYU Reynolds Program is the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. The current class of 36 Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation Fellows at New York University were represented at the Summit by Magogodi Makhene. Ms. Makhene grew up in Soweto, South Africa during the last years of apartheid. As a Reynolds Graduate Fellow at New York University's Gallatin School, she is studying the use of private equity and venture capital as vehicles for economic development in sub-Saharan Africa. The final speaker of the Summit, Cesar Francia, grew up in Caracas, Venezuela. He studied International Politics as a Reynolds Fellow at New York University and he will soon be returning to NYU to earn a Master's in Public Administration. He is currently serving as a full-time aide in the office of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

(For a fuller account, from which this article was largely drawn, please visit The Academy of Achievement website. You can also read student letters of their experiences here.)

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Magogodi Makhene (above) and Cesar Francia (below) address the Summit on the final night of the Summit.

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The Paper Tongues treat the attendees to a night of music and dancing to end the Summit.

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CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer with NYU and Harvard Reynolds fellows.

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Magododi Makhene, Lauren Servin (2008 Fellow), Keren Raz (2008 Fellow), and Martha Diaz enjoy the final night festivities.

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Catherine and Wayne Reynolds with Madeline Kane (2008 Scholar) and Keren Raz

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Wolf Blitzer and Martha Diaz dance together.

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Wolf Blitzer and David Gergen with (from left) Eliana Godoy (2009 Fellow), Amita Swadhin (2008 Fellow) and Genesis Briggs.

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Ralph Vacca (2009 Fellow) and Eliana Godoy with Elizabeth S. Clark (Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Scholar).

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Wolf Blitzer with (from left) Anna Smukowski, Madeline Kane and Caroline Ross (2008 Scholar)

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NYU and Harvard Reynolds fellows pose for a picture while dancing on the final night of the Summit.

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