late 1970’s, public policy academicians were acknowledging the
gross underrepresentation of ethnic and racial minorities in public
service and the hazard this posed to the state of American democracy.
A consensus was formed around the issue during a conference and a
call for action was made. Hence, the Public Policy and International
Affairs Program (PPIA) was born in 1980 with support from the Alfred
P. Sloan Foundation and under the administration of the Association
for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM). At the time it
was called the Sloan Fellows Program. The new program had to overcome
significant challenges in recruiting students of color into positions
of leadership that serve the public interest. These challenges included
a limited pool of minorities in post-secondary and graduate studies,
the lack of interest or awareness for the field of public affairs
and the financial obstacles for graduate education. A program model
was developed to recruit students into summer institutes that intensively
trained them for graduate level work and exposed them to the profession
of public service. These students were guaranteed substantial fellowships
to a number of graduate schools. Over the years, the Sloan Fellows
Program significantly impacted the graduate school enrollment of minority
students and their subsequent career choices in public service.
In 1989, the Ford Foundation succeeded the Sloan Foundation as the
primary sponsor and administration was transferred to the Woodrow
Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. The name was also changed to
the Woodrow Wilson Fellowships in Public Policy and International
Affairs and reflected a growing program focus on international affairs.
The Association of Professional School of International Affairs (APSIA)
eventually joined APPAM as an institutional sponsor. The program retained
its basic structure.
In 1996, the Ford Foundation shortened the program name to the Public
Policy and International Affairs Program (PPIA), its current title.
Administration of the program was moved to the Academy for Educational
In 1999, the Ford Foundation ceased funding and it was then that the
new and current PPIA Program was started. In 2000 it incorporated as an
independent, 501 (c)(3) tax exempt organization and received generous
transitional support from the Foundation for
Child Development and the William T. Grant Foundation. Today the PPIA Program
is building a new organization on a long established program model.
The new PPIA Program includes all Sloan, Woodrow Wilson, IIPP and PPIA Fellows
in its community of over 3,000 alumni and is committed to sustaining
those relationships and providing ongoing support for them.