MINNEAPOLIS, MN (May 16, 2012) — Sunny Chanthanouvong is completing a year as a Policy Fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. He was one of 35 individuals selected for the 2011-2012 program that will conclude next month.
Chanthanouvong and his family emigrated from Laos to Minneapolis in 1984. He is currently the executive director of the Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota, which responds to urgent resettlement needs of fellow Lao refugees in Minnesota and strives to enhance the quality of life of Minnesota’s Lao families.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Mankato State University Chanthanouvong completed professional development courses in nonprofit management, real estate, and leadership at Hamline University and the University of St. Thomas. Currently, he serves as a board member of the St. Paul Foundation’s Asian Pacific Endowment and a number of other boards and commissions.
As part of his year as a Fellow, Sunny participated in a group policy project entitled “Building Opportunities through a U.S.-Somali Leadership Program.” Groups will present the results of their work, and their recommendations for future action, on the program’s final day in early June.
The Policy Fellows program prepares Minnesotans from all professional sectors to bring a greater understanding of public affairs into their leadership roles. Through a nine-month educational experience that includes workshops, seminars, and group projects, Policy Fellows hone their leadership skills, build their professional network, and define their unique role in the policy process.
Begun by Vice President Walter Mondale and Geri Joseph in 1990, the program was co-directed for a dozen years by former congressmen Tim Penny and Vin Weber, and is now directed by political science Professor Lawrence Jacobs, the Walter F. and Joan Mondale Chair for Political Studies at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
The Policy Fellows program is run by the Humphrey School’s Center for the Study of Politics and Governance. The Center generates new knowledge about policy and politics, convenes public events that stimulate vigorous debate, and inspires current and emerging leaders to engage in the creation of innovative approaches to addressing the vital policy issues of our time.
The Humphrey School of Public Affairs ranks among the top professional schools of public affairs at public universities in the country. The School is widely recognized for its role in examining public issues and shaping public policy at the local, state, national, and international levels, and for providing leadership and management expertise to public and nonprofit organizations.