Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /home/content/p3pnexwpnas03_data01/35/2283935/html/wp-content/themes/rttheme17/content_generator.php on line 116

J. David Edwards Power of Advocacy Award

“I think language is absolutely key to cognitive development and to learning…For you, as an advocate, there’s no question this is important, and it’s so important that it’s going to happen! Now, what does the advocate want to do with that? Make it happen intelligently.”

J. David Edwards

The Inspiration

J. David Edwards was the founding and long-time Executive Director of JNCL-NCLIS. He served this essential and unique organization for 31 years, guiding the world language and international studies professions through the passage of the Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) program and the development of the National Security Education Program (NSEP) as well as many other notable legislative endeavors and challenges. Dave was a political scientist by profession, not a language teacher and not a politician, but truly gave his heart and soul to our field. He was the quintessential advocate.

Through endless connections and a vast knowledge of political culture and history, Dave steered generations of teachers and professional leaders to make an impact legislatively. His deep friendships and connections to legislators and decision-makers on Capitol Hill were an invaluable tool that he used to benefit JNCL- NCLIS’ mission and goals during the decades of his service. Under his leadership, JNCL-NCLIS grew to be an incredible organization that fosters multilingualism and gives language professionals a platform for advocacy. Dave’s leadership and knowledge were only matched by his uncanny ability to perceive, react, and serve as a liaison everywhere he went. It was a privilege for so many to learn from him. It is Dave’s model for consistent relationship and consensus building to achieve goals that will continue to guide us to be successful advocates.

The J. David Edwards Power of Advocacy Award is an annually sponsored award presented at JNCL-NCLIS’s Language Advocacy Day in Washington, DC. Each year, JNCL-NCLIS recognizes one (1) language advocate in the field who has exhibited excellence in grassroots advocacy. The Language Advocate of the Year recipient demonstrates leadership and resilience through designing and/or executing inclusive advocacy initiatives at the local, state, and/or federal level. The Language Advocate of the Year recipient also inspires stakeholders and directly engages with decision-makers to further the mission of JNCL-NCLIS: to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to learn English and at least one other language.

Past Awardees

The Award


A nominee for the Language Advocate of the Year Award must:

  1. Be a member of a JNCL-NCLIS member organization that is in good financial standing;
  2. Be nominated, in writing, by the leadership of the said member organization;
  3. Complete the online application requirements (see below);
  4. Commit to attend Language Advocacy Day in person to receive the award at the annual Language Links Reception.

Selection Criteria:

Nominees will be considered based on his or her documented contributions in the following three areas:

Stakeholder Engagement

  • Has a relationship with his or her member of Congress and/or their staff (local, state, and/or federal);
  • Has contacted policymakers in order to advance JNCL’s public policy priorities.

Grassroots Awareness

  • Has encouraged his or her colleagues within his or her organization to participate in JNCL’s advocacy work;
  • Has generated support and/or raised awareness among other Americans about the vital national importance of the Language Enterprise, including its economic and social benefits to Americans of all ages outside of his or her organization’s network.

Grassroots Action

  • Has directly shared his or her knowledge and passion for language access with others through writing or speaking opportunities;
  • Has participated and/or led successful advocacy efforts.

Selection Process:

  • The selection process will be conducted by the Awards Committee, whose Chair is selected each year by the President of the Board of Directors. Per the Bylaws, the committee will be composed of three Board Members, excluding the President, and two JNCL staff members. The committee will review all nominations submitted prior to the stated deadline and select a recipient that best fulfills the award criteria.
  • The nomination period will open the first week of April and closes the last week of June.
  • One nomination per membership organization will be accepted.

The sponsored award will include:

  1. An award plaque, with an inscription of the awardee’s name and his or her membership organization affiliation, will be awarded in person at the annual Language Links Reception, held Thursday evening during Language Advocacy Day;
  2. Complimentary registration to Language Advocacy Day, an all-inclusive travel stipend, and two nights lodging at the conference location;
  3. A spotlight profile on the JNCL-NCLIS website, with photo and personal statement/interview linking to the member organization’s website.

The Application

The following will be required when completing the online application form:

  • The nominee’s most current resume or C.V.;
  • A letter of recommendation (1-2 pages) from the nominating organization, briefly highlighting the challenge(s) faced, the advocacy initiative(s) undertaken and its impact within the context of the award’s purpose;
  • The nominee’s personal statement, no more than two pages, detailing his or her personal purpose for advocating for language(s) and how his or her advocacy efforts provoked positives changes and/or inspired others;
  • Any and all relevant supporting documentation.

The application process for the J. David Edwards Power of Advocacy Award 2020 will begin late Spring 2019.