July 22, 2015
The Atlantic Council is taking the lead in developing the next generation of veteran foreign policy leaders. Through an intensive fellowship program dubbed “Take Point”, the Council and Bob Woodruff Foundation will offer professional training, networking, engagement with senior foreign policy heavyweights such as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Gov. Jon Huntsman, and General James Cartwright, and $75,000 in seed funding to support veteran-run foreign policy initiatives. The Council is currently accepting applications for this program with a deadline of August 16 via www.TakePointX.org.

The innovative model focuses on post 9/11 veterans as an untapped resource in the foreign policy discourse and promises to shake up the national security debate with their insights. Veterans are uniquely poised to take on leadership roles in this space, having served on the frontlines of American foreign policy around the world, whether on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, fighting piracy off the horn of Africa, or combatting narcotics trafficking in Latin America. As Atlantic Council Chairman, Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. has said:

"We believe those who served on the front lines of US foreign policy and national security can bring essential perspectives and innovative solutions to the challenges we face globally."

Take Point offers veterans a pathway to service-oriented civilian careers where they can continue to support American national security. The inaugural 2014 fellowship class featured ten exceptional veterans aged thirty-five and under, including five former officers and five former enlisted men and women who served in the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force. Among them were the founders and CEOs of the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum (DEF), No One Left Behind, and VetImpact, as well as representatives of well-respected veteran nonprofits including Service to School, and Team Rubicon. A full list of last year’s fellows can be found here.

In addition to the fellowship, the 2015 program will also include The National Veterans Innovation and Ideas Forum (NVIIF) – a national platform to highlight the fellows and their foreign policy initiatives. NVIIF will feature a full-day, TED Talks-style event in DC, including keynote speeches from leaders in the policy and veterans communities. Fellows will present their projects at the NVIIF to senior judges and a public audience, including wounded warriors from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The Council, in collaboration with the Telling Project and the Bob Woodruff Foundation, will provide participants with $75,000 in seed funding, unparalleled training opportunities, and incubation for their projects.

In 2016, the program will launch Take Point University – a series of workshops for student veterans across the United States. Workshops will include engagement with senior leaders, career training modules, and structured presentations from student veterans themselves.

The Veterans Take Point initiative has been made possible through a collaboration with the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF). BWF works to ensure that injured veterans and their families are able to thrive long after they have returned home.

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