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The World Policy Council of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity is a nonprofit and nonpartisan think tank established in 1996 at Howard University to expand the fraternity's involvement in politics and social and current policy to encompass important global and world issues. They describe their mission as to "address issues of concern to our brotherhood, our communities, our Nation, and the world."

World Policy Council
TypeThink tank
HeadquartersWashington, D.C., United States
Horace Dawson
Key people
Henry Ponder, vice chairman
Edward Brooke, chairman emeritus
Main organ
Board of Directors
Parent organization
Alpha Phi Alpha
WebsiteAlpha Phi Alpha Fraternity

Among the Council's nine Board of Directors are Senator Edward Brooke, Ambassador Horace Dawson, and Congressmen Charles Rangel and Ron Dellums. The Council's directors also include other ambassadors, theologians, presidents of colleges and foundations, and journalists.

The Council communicates its position through white papers which are disseminated to policymakers, politicians, scholars, journalist, and fraternity chapters. Since its founding the Council has offered an informed opinion on topics such as the AIDS crisis, global warming, Middle East conflict, Nigerian politics and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s vision of a World House.


Historical contextEdit

Alpha Phi Alpha is an American intercollegiate organization that is the first established by African Americans. Founded on December 4, 1906 on the campus of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, the fraternity utilizes motifs and artifacts from Ancient Egypt to represent the organization and preserves its archives at the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center.[1][2]

The leadership of Alpha Phi Alpha recognized early on the need to correct the educational, economic, political, and social injustices faced by African-Americans and the world community and began its continuing commitment of providing scholarships for needy students and initiating various other charitable and service projects.[3]

Alpha Phi Alpha has provided leadership and service during the Great Depression, World Wars, Civil Rights Movements, and addresses social issues such as apartheid, AIDS, urban housing, and other economic, cultural, and political issues affecting people of color. The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial is a program of Alpha Phi Alpha and the fraternity jointly leads philanthropic programming initiatives with March of Dimes, Head Start, Boy Scouts of America and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.[4]

Alpha men such as W. E. B. Du Bois, Jesse Owens, Duke Ellington, Thurgood Marshall, Andrew Young, and Martin Luther King, Jr. are among the litany of fraternity members who have dedicated their lives to the fraternity's principles of "scholarship, manly deeds, and love for all mankind."[5]

Leadership expansionEdit

The leadership by the fraternity was about to expand when at its 1995 General Convention, Senator Edward Brooke spoke on the need for Alpha Phi Alpha to broaden its view to encompass international concerns. Brooke said "our intellectual power is so great that it ought to be shared ... that we should be giving our thoughts and our opinions on domestic and international issues. General President Milton C. Davis established the World Policy Council (WPC) in 1996 as the analytical body of the fraternity to reflect, engage in dialogue and project what ought to happen in actions that are in-line with the values of Alpha Phi Alpha.[6] The mission of The Alpha Phi Alpha World Policy Council as stated on the fraternity's website

is to address issues of concern to our brotherhood, our communities, our nation, and the world. The Council has been charged with applying sustained and profound intellectual energy to understanding and alternative means of bringing about the resolution of problems at the community, national and international levels; expanding fraternal and public knowledge of such problems; and engaging public discussion about them. The Council, in fulfilling its mission, is non-partisan, gives consideration to domestic and international issues, seeks the counsel of experts in relevant fields, provides perspectives on specific problems and, where practicable, recommends possible solutions which may impact favorably African Americans, the community, the nation, and the world.[7]

The Council was created with seven board members to research and outline the fraternity's position on issues and policies deemed to be of national or international import. Milton appointed Brooke as the Council's first Chairman and he currently serves as Chairman Emeritus.[8] The Council's membership increased to nine when General President Harry E. Johnson's appointed Congressman Ron Dellums and Cornel West. Johnson also extended the World Policy Council's role to include a lecture series on tolerance and a focus on the issue of the HIV infections and AIDS.[9]

Organizing a World Policy Council, Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity suddenly made global headlines when the group asked Nigeria to release political prisoners.

—Simeon Booker, Jet[10]

The World Policy Council has studied and issued white papers on the Politics of Nigeria, War on Terrorism, and global warming.[6][11] The Council garnered international attention in 1999 when it issued a clarion call to Nigeria to release political prisoners and become a force for good on the African continent.[10] The fifth paper was published in 2006 to coincide with the Centenary of Alpha Phi Alpha and among its five topics examined the impact of Black Greek letter organizations in American culture and Hurricane Katrina, the costliest and one of the five deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States.[12][13]

The Council distributes the white papers to the White House, Congresses, key national leaders, fraternity chapters, and those whose decisions shape the future. A letter is sent to the office of the President of the United States providing an informed opinion of individuals and constituents on how the President should act to resolve an issue or policy.[6]

Position papersEdit

The WPC presented its first position paper to the fraternity's general membership at the 1996 Alpha Scholarship Forum in New Orleans, Louisiana as part of its inaugural Charles H. Wesley Memorial Scholarship Lecture.[8] The fourth and fifth report were issued in 2002 and 2006 respectively.[14]

Middle East crisisEdit

A peace movement poster: Israeli and Palestinian flags and the words peace in Arabic and Hebrew. Similar images have been used by several groups proposing a two-state solution to the conflict.

The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is an ongoing dispute between the State of Israel and the Palestinian people. The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is part of the wider Arab–Israeli conflict, which is essentially a dispute between two national identities with claims over the same area of land.[15]

The roots of the conflict can be traced to the late 19th century, when Zionist Jews expressed their desire to create a modern state in the ancient land of the Israelites, which they considered to be their rightful homeland. To further that objective, the World Zionist Organization encouraged immigration and purchase of land, which was then part of the Ottoman Empire.[16]

According to a 2007 poll of adults in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank by the Jerusalem Media & Communication Center, "46.7 per cent of respondents favour a two-state solution for the Arab–Israeli conflict." In second place came support of a binational state with 26.5%.[17]

The Council's position is,

we call equally upon the nation of Israel and upon the Palestinians to give up their deadly ritual of strike and counter-strike at least long enough for people and nations of goodwill to bring about a cessation of hostilities so that the opportunity may be created for establishing the conditions for a just and lasting peace in this part of the world. The stakes are now so high that a resolution of this long-simmering conflict can no longer be left to the two parties alone to resolve. In our opinion, the leadership on both sides seems to have forgotten how to move beyond the grisly routine of vengeance toward a loftier basis for action.[18]

The Centenary ReportEdit

The fifth report by the Council addresses five issues such as the Millennium Challenge Account, Extraordinary rendition, and The World House as envisioned by Martin Luther King, Jr.[13]

Millennium ChallengeEdit

Participants in the Program; United States as donor is in green, red countries have active compacts, blue countries have active threshold compacts, purple countries are in negotiations for either, and pink countries have negotiated threshold agreements and are negotiating for full compacts

The Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) is a bilateral development fund created by the Bush administration whose mission is "to reduce global poverty through the promotion of sustainable economic growth" to some of the poorest countries in the world.[19] The MCA is available to fund specific programs targeted at reducing poverty and stimulating economic growth for eligible countries that meet independent and transparent policy indicators.[20][21]

The Congress of the United States has consistently provided less funding than the president has requested for this new compact for development with accountability for both rich and poor countries. For Fiscal Year 2008, less funding will be provided than was hoped for, and only 1.2 billion is currently budgeted, and the MCA CEO commented that it would undercut the programs efforts.[22][23][24]

The Council's position is,

The Western approach to economic development and trade in impoverished areas of the world has undergone radical change over time, the Millennium Challenge Account representing the most recent–and most promising–program in this area. A leading MCA proponent, the Bush Administration has been encouraging democratic developments in Africa and elsewhere with the promise of rewards in the form of increased aid. It is recommended that full funding be provided and that the Administration accelerate the pace of spending in support of MCA.[13]

Extraordinary renditionEdit

  Extraordinary Renditions allegedly have been carried out from these countries
  Detainees have allegedly been transported through these countries
  Detainees have allegedly arrived in these countries
  The suspected "black sites"
Sources: Amnesty International,[25] Human Rights Watch

Extraordinary rendition and irregular rendition are terms used to describe the kidnapping and extrajudicial transfer of a person from one state to another,[26] and the term torture by proxy is used by some critics to describe situations in which the U.S. has purportedly transferred suspected terrorists to countries known to employ harsh interrogation techniques that may rise to the level of torture. It has been alleged that torture has been employed with the knowledge or acquiescence of the United States, although United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stated in an April 2006 radio interview that the United States does not transfer people to places where it is known they will be tortured.[26][27][28]

The Council's position is,

the practice of taking terrorist suspects to countries known for their practices of inhumane treatment and torture as a means of avoiding such treatment under detention in the United States, but at the same time encouraging it overseas, is strongly condemned. It is seen as contrary to civil and human rights, which are fundamental American values. According to many experts, such practices are, in any case, virtually useless and counterproductive Nonetheless, they are seen here as one of many assaults by the Bush Administration on civil and human rights in the name of "the war on terror."[13]

The World HouseEdit

The World House is the vision of Martin Luther King, Jr. in which "a family of different races, religions, ideas, cultures and interests must learn to live together as brothers and sisters or perish together as fools." King first articulated his vision of a World House in his Nobel Peace Prize lecture in 1964 "The World House," in which he identified three major threats to human survival—racism, poverty/materialism, and war. He stressed the urgency of addressing these problems, warning that it might be humanity's last chance to choose between chaos and community. The World House Project has said "The September 11, 2001 attacks by terrorist made Dr. King's predictions seem eerily prescient. His vision and agenda may be the key to our survival during the 21st century."[29]

King's vision of a World House calls upon humanity to:

1) transcend tribe, race, class, nation, and religion to embrace the vision of a World House;

2) eradicate at home and globally the Triple Evils of racism, poverty, and militarism;

3) curb excessive materialism and shift from a "thing"-oriented society to a "people"-oriented society; and

4) resist social injustice and resolve conflicts in the spirit of love embodied in the philosophy and methods of nonviolence.[29]

The Council recommends that Alpha Phi Alpha join crusades in this Centenary that are pursuing King's vision and that,

the United States, indeed, all nations pursue a philosophy advocated by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who felt that because of the continued existence of poverty, racism, militarism and other such ills that the world is headed toward chaos. King, a brother in Alpha Phi Alpha, espoused this view in 1968 in a famous book titled "Where Do We Go From Here: Community or Chaos?" We must undergo "a genuine revolution of values" to achieve the goal of what King called "The World House". Under a grant from the Ford Foundation, Brother Bobby Austin and a group of influential citizens organized as Citizen Diplomats and through organizations known as Civic Leagues and the Peoples Assembly are pursuing this ideal through advocacy and the training of others.[13]


Edward Brooke, Chairman emeritus of the World Policy Council, is congratulated by President George W. Bush at the Ceremony for the 2004 Recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, The East Room of the White House.

The membership of Alpha Phi Alpha represents the full diversity of policymakers, activists, college presidents, lawyers, businessmen, theologians and other professions among its members. The general president of Alpha Phi Alpha appoints a nonpartisan Board of Directors from this passel of Alpha men to govern the Council. The composition of the Board represents a range of disciplines and approaches to the issues and schema of economic, cultural, political, and policy conditions as they pertain to the social psychology of Black Americans and Africans.

Edward Brooke, a former Senator and Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts served and the first chairman and currently chairman emeritus. Former Ambassador Horace Dawson is the current Chairman.[7] Congressman Charles B. Rangel, Dean, New York State Congressional Delegation and founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and former Congressman Ron Dellums, president and CEO of HealthCare International. Kenton Keith is a Senior Vice President of Meridian International Center and a former U.S. Ambassador to the State of Qatar. Clathan M. Ross is a Rapporteur and a retired U.S. Foreign Service Information Officer.[13]

Henry Ponder is former President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education and has served as president of Fisk University, Benedict College, and Talladega College, and General President of Alpha Phi Alpha. Bobby William Austin is Vice President for University Relations and Communications at the University of the District of Columbia, President of Austin Institute, former President and CEO of Village Foundation, and former Program Director for the Kellogg National Fellowship Program at W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Cornel West is a current and former professor of religion at Princeton University and Harvard University respectively. Vinton Anderson, the 92nd Bishop of African Methodist Episcopal Church and former president of World Council of Churches.[13]

Former members of the Council include Cornelius Henderson, a United Methodist pastor and bishop, and former president of Gammon Theological Seminary.[30] Clinton Columbus Jones, III served as counsel to the United States House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Financial Services, and Chuck Stone is the Walter Spearman Professor of Journalism at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a former White House Correspondent.[8]


  1. ^ "Black sponsored Greek letter organization". Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Mu Nu chapter. Archived from the original on May 19, 2007. Retrieved January 5, 2008.
  2. ^ "Preservation of Alpha Phi Alpha History". Education Online. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved January 5, 2008.
  3. ^ "Α legacy of leadership and service–Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity–Part 2". Ebony. November 1989. Retrieved July 21, 2006.
  4. ^ See, e.g., Alpha Phi Alpha
  5. ^ "Alpha Phi Alpha Men: A Century of Leadership". Maryland Public Television. Archived from the original on February 13, 2006. Retrieved April 26, 2006.
  6. ^ a b c Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity (2005). Alpha Phi Alpha Men: "A Century of Leadership" (Video). Rubicon Productions.
  7. ^ a b "Alpha Phi Alpha World Policy Council". Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Retrieved December 16, 2007 (archive). Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ a b c Ross, Jr., Lawrence (2001). "Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc". The Divine Nine: The History of African-American Fraternities and Sororities in America. New York: Kensington. pp. 37–38. ISBN 0-7582-0325-X. Retrieved December 16, 2007.
  9. ^ "Crown Forum Speakers–Harry E. Johnson, Sr. ESQ". Morehouse College. January 19, 2006. Archived from the original on September 26, 2010. Retrieved December 16, 2007.
  10. ^ a b Booker, Simeon (October 11, 1999). "TickerTape". Jet. Johnson. Retrieved December 31, 2007.
  11. ^ "Q & A–Darryl Matthews, Alpha Phi Alpha General President". C-SPAN. July 23, 2006. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  12. ^ Knabb, Richard D; Rhome, Jamie R.; Brown, Daniel P. (August 10, 2006) [20 December 2005]. "Tropical Cyclone Report: Hurricane Katrina: 23–30 August 2005" (PDF). National Hurricane Center. Retrieved May 30, 2006.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g Dawson, Horace; Brooke, Edward; Ponder, Henry; Anderson, Vinton R.; Austin, Bobby William; Dellums, Ron; Keith, Kenton; Perkins, Huel D.; Rangel, Charles; Ross, Clathan McClain; West, Cornel (July 2006). "The Centenary Report Of The Alpha Phi Alpha World Policy Council" (PDF). Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 25, 2009. Retrieved February 11, 2009.
  14. ^ "The Sphinx magazine". The Sphinx. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. 86 (1): 37. Winter 2002.
  15. ^ See, e.g., Arab–Israeli conflict
  16. ^ Tessler, Mark (1994). A History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. p. 53.
  17. ^ "Palestinians Voice Support for Two-State Solution". Archived from the original on August 28, 2007. Retrieved January 5, 2008.
  18. ^ Madison, Lincoln. "Alpha Phi Alpha's second century of service". Retrieved December 16, 2007.
  19. ^ "About the Millennium Challenge Corp". Retrieved February 1, 2008.
  20. ^ "Millennium Challenge Compacts". Archived from the original on January 23, 2008. Retrieved February 1, 2008.
  21. ^ "Millennium Challenge Indicators". Archived from the original on January 21, 2008. Retrieved February 1, 2008.
  22. ^ "Nuts and Bolts of Bill". The Washington Post. December 7, 2006. Retrieved November 13, 2006.
  23. ^ "Millennium Challenge Corporation Statement on Fiscal Year 2007 House Appropriation". Millennium Challenge Corporation. June 9, 2006. Archived from the original on September 2, 2006. Retrieved September 14, 2006.
  24. ^ Sheila Herrling (December 11, 2006). "MCA Reauthorization Bill Killed". MCA Monitor Blog. Archived from the original on December 15, 2006. Retrieved December 17, 2006.
  25. ^ "Rendition" and secret detention: A global system of human rights violations, Amnesty International, January 1, 2006
  26. ^ a b Michael John Garcia, Legislative Attorney American Law Division. Renditions: Constraints Imposed by Laws on Torture April 5, 2006 p.2 link from the United States Counter-Terrorism Training and Resources for Law Enforcement web site Archived October 14, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ Gordon Corera "Does UK turn a blind eye to torture?", BBC April 5, 2005 "One member of the [parliamentary foreign affairs] committee described the policy as 'effectively torture by proxy'".
  28. ^ James Naughtie's Interview of Secretary Rice With British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw Archived January 1, 2009, at the Wayback Machine on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme April 1, 2006 on the website of the United States Embassy in London
  29. ^ a b "The World House: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Vision and Agenda" (PDF). Retrieved December 17, 2007.
  30. ^ Moore, Waveney Ann (December 8, 2008). "Cornelius Henderson, Methodist bishop, dies". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved December 19, 2007.

Further reading and external linksEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Mason, Herman (1999). The Talented Tenth: The Founders and Presidents of Alpha (2nd ed.). Winter Park, FL: Four-G. ISBN 1-885066-63-5.
  • Wesley, Charles H. (1981). The History of Alpha Phi Alpha, A Development in College Life (14th ed.). Chicago, IL: Foundation. ASIN: B000ESQ14W.
  • Wesley, Charles H. (1950). The History of Alpha Phi Alpha: A Development in Negro College Life (6th ed.). Chicago, IL: Foundation.
  • Gourdine, Darrius Jerome (July 2006). Jewels: The Story of the Founding of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity (1st ed.). Artisan House. ISBN 0-9755660-0-8.
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1964). "The World House" (PDF). Retrieved December 17, 2007.

External linksEdit