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Ralph B. Everett is President and CEO of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, widely acknowledged as the nation’s leading think tank for policy analysis and research on issues of concern to African Americans and other people of color. Mr. Everett was appointed President and CEO of the Joint Center on January 1, 2007. His visionary plan of action has been centered on launching four new Institutes. The Media and Technology and Civic Engagement and Governance Institutes were launched in 2010 and 2010, respectively. The Energy and Environment Program, as well as the Education Policy and Opportunity Institute, will be designed to strengthen the effectiveness and visibility of the Joint Center’s work.
A native of Orangeburg, South Carolina, Mr. Everett has a 36-year track record of pioneering leadership in the nation’s capital. After serving as legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Ernest Hollings, he was selected in 1982 to be Democratic Staff Director and Minority Chief Counsel for the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. When Senate Democrats won majority control four years later, Mr. Everett was named Staff Director and Chief Counsel of the full committee. There, he played a pivotal role in cable, broadcast and common carrier legislative reforms, as well as regulatory reform of the airline, truck, railway and bus industries.
In 1989, Mr. Everett became the first African American partner at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP, a leading international law firm with more than 1,200 attorneys and offices throughout Europe, Asia and the United States. During his 17-year tenure, he specialized in telecommunications and transportation policy and served as Managing Partner of the Washington office. Mr. Everett was also Co-Chair of the firm’s Federal Legislative Practice Group and a Policy Committee member.
In 1998, President Clinton appointed Mr. Everett as U.S. Ambassador to the International Telecommunication Union’s Plenipotentiary Conference. That year, he was also chosen to lead the U.S. Delegation to the Second World Telecommunication Development Conference in Malta, joining participants from more than 190 nations. In Malta, he was elected Vice Chairman of the world proceedings. In 2008, Mr. Everett was a team lead for the Obama-Biden Transition Project Agency Review Working Group responsible for overseeing the Department of Commerce.
A strong proponent of giving back, Mr. Everett continues to play an active role in community and civic affairs. He has served as a member of the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute Advisory Council, and he currently serves on the AT&T Consumer Advisory Panel. He is also a member of the Economic Club of Washington, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. He also serves on several other distinguished Boards, including Duke University Law School’s Board of Visitors, as Co-Chair of the Commission to Engage African Americans on Climate Change, Vice Chair of the Board for Independent Sector, the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, and Cumulus Media Inc. It is noteworthy that Ebony magazine has named Mr. Everett one of the nation’s “150 Most Influential African Americans.”
Mr. Everett’s prior wide-ranging community service included six years on the National Urban League Board and over a decade on the board of the Center for National Policy, where he was Secretary. He served on the President’s Board of Advisors for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, as Vice Chairman of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Waste Management Board, and as member of the Science Museum of Virginia Board of Trustees. He also chaired the Board of Trustees of the historic Alfred Street Baptist Church, one of the oldest African American Baptist Churches in the United States.
A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Morehouse College, Mr. Everett earned his J.D. from Duke University Law School. At Duke, he held the honor of being named Earl Warren Legal Scholar and has received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Virginia State University.
Mr. Everett resides in Alexandria, Virginia with his wife, Dr. Gwendolyn Harris Everett. They have an adult son, Attorney Jason Gordon Everett; a daughter-in-law, Heidi Jackson Everett; a grandson, Alan Ralph; and a granddaughter, Corinne Adele Everett.
Mr. Everett is also a Joint Center subject matter expert. Details on his areas of expertise can be viewed here.