Mission: The Washington Leadership Program (WLP) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building the next generation of leadership from within the South Asian American community through innovative programs. The organization was founded in August 2008 in memory of publisher and philanthropist Gopal Raju, who sponsored a program that placed over 170 students in Congressional internships over 15 years. The organization was founded by alumni of Mr. Raju's program who seek to continue his legacy and continue this vital program for the community.
Results: Since 1995, the WLP has given more than 170 South Asian American students the opportunity to intern in Washington, DC. Former Congressional leader Richard Gephardt has called it “one of the best programs of its kind on the Hill.”
Programs: The WLP is a national non-profit organization that is developing the next generation of American leadership from the South Asian community. Our program takes promising college students and places them in a Congressional office for an eight-week summer internship accompanied by a structured leadership curriculum. Students then complete a leadership project applying their learning from the summer and are inducted into a leadership community currently made up of 170 alumni from the 15 years of the program. In addition to the internship, participants attend special meetings and events to fully expose them to the South Asian American political Diaspora. Past programs and events have included meetings with South Asian American elected officials, Ambassadors and South Asians who are working in Congress, the federal government and local and state agencies.
The WLP is a labor of love. I was once a participate of the original program. Once the founder of the original program passed away, there was no one to take up the task of bringing more South Asians into the political/policy realm. I along with a few alumni from the program took it upon ourselves to re-build and re-craft the WLP. The board is entirely volunteer run, but it provides us an outlet to mentor and prepare bright young people from our community for their future as leaders. The program is going into its 5th year an continues to grow with more interest from students, placements, and volunteers. We look forward to growing WLP in the years to come.