Public Affairs

January 13, 2006

Youth Arrive for Conference of Young Alaskans

For Immediate Release
January 13, 2006

Young leaders from around Alaska are arriving in Fairbanks today for the Conference of Young Alaskans. Fifty years ago, delegates to Alaska's Constitutional Convention met at the University of Alaska to draft the document that would become the foundation of Alaska's state government. Over the next several days, these young leaders will discuss the challenges that face Alaska today and craft their visions for Alaska's future.

Fifty-five youth, the same number of delegates who met at the Constitutional Convention, were selected to participate after submitting essays this fall. At a welcome dinner tonight they will hear from two participants in the Constitutional Convention. Victor Fischer was a delegate from Anchorage. Katie Hurley was the chief clerk of the convention. The youth, who are 25 years of age or younger, will also hear from Lieutenant Governor Loren Leman and Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Jim Whitaker. The conference delegates include high school and college students as well as young leaders who are in the workforce.

The conference convenes Saturday morning, January 14 at 9 a.m. in the Carol Brown Ballroom of the Wood Center at UAF and runs through noon on Monday, Jan. 16. Conference proceedings are open to the public. During this time, delegates will meet in a series of joint and small group sessions to address five major challenges facing Alaska: quality education, healthy communities and families, leaders for the next generation, responsible development of natural resources and reviving the Alaska dream and "Last Frontier" spirit. They are to issue statements about these challenges on Monday. 

The youth will hear from former Gov. Walter J. Hickel at a luncheon Sunday and Rep. Mary Kapsner, D-Bethel, will speak with them about civil rights on Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. 
The list of delegates and more information about the conference can be found at coya.alaska.edu. The Alaska Teen Media Institute plans to post journal entries and photos from the conference daily on their Web site at www.alaskteenmedia.org.

The conference has received support from a number of companies and organizations, including Northrim Bank, Alaska Airlines, BP, ConocoPhillips, the Alaska Humanities Forum, the Fairbanks North Star Borough, Information Insights, Pike's Waterfront Lodge and the University of Alaska Foundation. 

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For more information, or to obtain photos contact Patti Harper, Public Information Specialist, at (907) 786-1169 or patricia.harper@alaska.edu.

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