Two young leaders, whose work on the front lines of public service has won national acclaim, were honored on Nov. 14 at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS).
Cory A. Booker, mayor of Newark, N.J., and Giovanna Negretti M.P.A. ’05, co-founder and executive director of the Boston-based nonprofit Oiste, received New Frontier Awards, presented annually to Americans under the age of 40 who are changing their communities and the country with their commitment to public service.
Caroline Kennedy, who hosted the awards ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, reflected on the memory of her father whose spirit lives on through the awards.
“In our family we were raised to believe that you are never too old or too young to get involved in public service,” she said.
Kennedy applauded Negretti and the outreach provided by Oiste, a local organization dedicated to advancing the political, social, and economic standing of Latinos in the state through leadership development, civic education, and advocacy programs.
“Through her leadership of Oiste, [Negretti] is providing vision and can-do spirit to a statewide network of political organizers and a whole new generation is going to emerge to change their communities,” said Kennedy. “She’s an inspiring champion of political empowerment.”
Booker was recognized for his work transforming Newark and confronting its many challenges.
“Mayor Cory Booker is inspiring people from all walks of life to invest in Newark’s future and bringing hope to a city that has yearned for it,” Kennedy said. “Under his leadership the crime rate is down, new schools are in the works, and city parks are greener and safer. His example is a beacon for others; he is inspiring a new generation of people to take another look at politics and public service and to work in our most troubled urban communities,” she added.
Kennedy presented the winners with a ship’s navigational compass in a wooden box bearing an inscription from John F. Kennedy’s address at the 1960 Democratic National Convention.