SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Conference of Young Alaskans to Convene in Juneau 2012


December 12, 2011

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - The Institute of the North is hosting a gathering for young Alaskans interested in discussing the state’s rich history, vibrant present and thriving future. The Conference of Young Alaskans is modeled after the Alaska Constitutional Convention of 1955 and provides an opportunity for youth, ages 16 to 25, to meet and discuss current issues and challenges facing the state. This year’s conference is in Juneau, Jan. 4-7.

The 55-person delegation was selected through an application process with an eye toward representing the diversity of people and cultures in the state. More than half of the delegates are from outside of Anchorage and 30 percent are Alaska Native. In all, 29 communities will be represented, including strong delegations from Fairbanks, Nome, Bethel, Kotzebue, Ketchikan and Sitka.

Six youth from Ketchikan and the surrounding area will attend the conference: Jennifer Chaudhary, Jodie Gatti, Beau Poppen-Abahijian, Drake Goodson, Signe Englert (Thorne Bay, AK), and Jean Bennett (Craig, Prince of Wales, AK).

The last conference convened at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood in 2009 and drew young adults and teens from across the state. The Institute of the North recognized the value in providing young Alaskans a venue to plan Alaska’s future and the importance of encouraging young adults to identify themselves as the next generation of Alaska leaders.

“The Conference of Young Alaskans entices young people to be knowledgeable about their state, to be involved in public issues and communicate with one another,” said Sonia M. Christensen, a prior delegate also attending this year’s conference. “I believe that COYA fosters an environment that engages youth to form well-rounded, well-educated and well-versed opinions and courses of action.“

Prior to the conference, delegates will attend educational sessions led by experts from economic industry sectors representing the diversity of the state and providing a baseline of information to be explored during conference discussions. Each delegate outlined their top five priority issues, some of which include: economic resilience, fiscal policy, education and workforce development. The goal of the conference is to instill confidence in Alaska’s young people to become leaders in their communities, the state, and the nation.

“We are excited about the ideas and possibilities generated when we support an incredible group of young leaders,” said Nils Andreassen, managing director, Institute of the North.  “We firmly believe that the 2012 Conference of Young Alaskans is an invaluable resource for Alaska,”

Generous sponsors contributed to this year’s conference, providing lodging, meals and ground transportation for the delegates. Northrim Bank provided $1,000 for each delegate to attend the conference. The Alaska Railroad Corporation, Aleut Corporation, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, Association of Alaska School Boards, AT&T, BP Alaska, Conoco Phillips, Fairbanks North Star Borough, Foraker Group, GCI, Ermalee Hickel, IBEW 1547, Information Insights, Sealaska Corp., State of Alaska, Strategies 360, 360 North, University of Alaska Fairbanks and University of Alaska Southeast also made meaningful contributions to ensure the success of the conference.

The Institute of the North is a nonprofit organization founded by former Gov. Walter J. Hickel in 1994. Its mission focuses on understanding the reality, the richness and the responsibility of the North.

Source of News: 

Institute of the North


E-mail your news & photos to

Publish A Letter in SitNews         Read Letters/Opinions

Contact the Editor

SitNews ©2011
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

 Articles & photographs that appear in SitNews may be protected by copyright and may not be reprinted without written permission from and payment of any required fees to the proper sources.