January 10, 2006

Media Advisory: Conference of Young Alaskans Meets January 14-16

The Conference of Young Alaskans will convene in the Carol Brown Ballroom of the Wood Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks at 9 a.m. Saturday Jan. 14, 2006 and run through noon Monday, Jan. 16. The conference is a highlight in a series of events hosted by the University of Alaska's Creating Alaska project this winter to honor the 50th anniversary of Alaska's Constitutional Convention.

The conference will bring together delegates who participated in laying the foundation of Alaska's state government at the Constitutional Convention 50 years ago with some of the state's brightest young people.» The 55 young leaders from around Alaska, ages 14» to 25, will discuss important challenges facing Alaska and issue policy recommendations for meeting those challenges. Conference proceedings are open to the public and news media are invited to attend. Highlights include:

A Vision for Alaska
Friday, Jan. 13:» In a pre-conference dinner and visioning session, the young leaders will hear from Vic Fisher and Katie Hurley, participants in the Constitutional Convention, about how delegates there worked together with nonpartisan spirit to address important issues. The youth will then craft statements about what they hope to accomplish during the conference.

Meeting Modern Challenges
On Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 14-15, young delegates will meet in a series of plenary 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. Participants in Alaska's Constitutional Convention and other experienced Alaska leaders will serve as advisors for the youth as they consider the matters before them.»

Address by former Gov. Walter J. Hickel
In a luncheon meeting Sunday, delegates will hear from former Gov. Walter J. Hickel, who served as Governor of Alaska from 1966-1969, and from 1990-1994, and as U.S. Secretary of the Interior from 1969-70. A builder, developer and civic leader, he was deeply involved in Alaska's statehood fight and was a founding member of the Northern Forum, where he continues to serve as Secretary-General.

Policy Recommendations
On Monday, Jan. 16, the conference delegates will issue policy recommendations in the five areas considered. In their closing session, they will also hear from and speak to Rep. Mary Kapsner, D-Bethel.

Conference staff will issue daily news releases. For more information about the conference, to discuss coverage logistics or to add a name to our news release distribution, please contact Patti Harper, Public Information Specialist, at (907) 786-1169 or patricia.harper@alaska.edu. Visit the conference website at coya.alaska.edu