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December 2018 Newsletter


Happy New Year to you and your loved ones.

We wanted to leave you with one last newsletter for the year, highlighting the incredible work of our grantees and beneficiaries in the month of December.

As always, please reach out directly if we can be a resource for you or if you would like to explore ways we can work together by emailing  

Here are some recent updates:

Modern War Institute at West Point introduces Foreign Policy Speaker Series

Over the past year, GPD, has worked to develop points of collaboration with the Charles Koch Foundation which resulted in the Koch Foundation Foreign Policy Speaker Series which will be hosted by GPD’s grant partners, Modern War Institute at West Point (MWI) and the Center for Study of Civil-Military Operations at West Point (CSCMO). The Series will feature several guest speakers per semester, along with a distinguished leaders panel and will provide focused consideration of the theories, positions, and important questions posed by top foreign policy experts, and also analyze the rationale behind US policy in the Middle East, Russia, North Korea, and China. The series will address topics such as the duration of conflicts in relation to the costs and benefits to the United States and its diplomatic allies.

The MWI Speaker Series expands cadet and faculty access to distinguished senior military, policy, and academic leaders while giving these leaders the opportunity to contribute to the intellectual development of cadets at West Point. Each event will be recorded on video and audio and will be made available on MWI’s YouTube channel and website to further the event’s reach and impact.

In Chicago, Illinois Joining Forces hosts Inaugural Community Showcase

On December 6th, more than 60 Veteran-support stakeholders gathered at the Pritzker Military Museum and Library in Chicago for the Illinois Joining Forces’ (IJF) inaugural Community Showcase.

The event was held in an effort to bring military and veteran serving organizations and corporate partners together to improve services for Illinois’ service members, veterans and their families.

The program opened with welcome remarks from IJF Co-Chairs Kevin Smith and Steve Goodwin. Executive Dir. Jaime Martinez led an interactive panel discussion with Stephen Curda, Acting Director of Illinois’ Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA), and Erica Borggren, the former Director of IDVA and current VP of Customer Solutions at ComEd. The panel discussion, titled, ‘The Role of State Agencies and Resources to the Military and Veteran Community’ encouraged attendees to participate in the conversation about improving access to public and private services for veterans, and identify opportunities for greater collaboration and partnership.

The Iraqi Leadership Fellows Program Expands, Announces its 2018-2019 Class

The second year of the Iraq Leadership Fellows Program (ILF) kicked off with an intensive training session at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani in October 2018. The ILF was founded in 2017 to support an emerging generation of politically and socially engaged young Iraqis who are eager to positively shape and lead the future of their country.

After a successful inaugural year, GPD Charitable Trust has expanded its support of the Fellowship, together with additional funding support from Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. The Fellowship has grown from 25 to 50 fellows, and now includes high profile guest speakers in addition to world-class trainers.

The 2018-2019 class of Fellows was narrowed down from over 300 applicants to comprise
of the strongest cohort of civic and political activists who are committed to working to create a better future for Iraq. GPD Founder and Executive Director, John DeBlasio, weighed in: “These leaders are securing the democratic gains that have taken place in Iraq by ensuring that political actors remain focused on providing the right policies and services for the people of Iraq and I’m personally proud to be supporting their initiatives as a veteran of that conflict.”  

GPD Celebrates Chicago Council on Global Affairs 2018 Emerging Leaders

This December, GPD joined it's Stardust Grantee, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, in celebrating the 10th Anniversary Class of the Emerging Leaders Program. The annual program selects a class of approximately 20 participants with high potential from across Chicago’s business, cultural, civic, and academic sectors and provides a robust expansive platform to deepen their fluency and exposure to global affairs and policy.

GPD’s Founder and Executive Director, Member of CCGA’s Board of Directors John DeBlasio and Emerging Leader Class of 2013 said: “the incredible depth of programming and research that the Chicago Council brings to the community and to the broader debate on the issues of significant importance to the United States and the world.”

For updates on our activities with GPD’s smaller grantees, please visit the Stardust Fund page.

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