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Rizwangul NurMuhammad MPA ’22 named Adams Leadership Award recipient

Rizwangul NurMuhammad standing in front of Brooks School Banner
June 1, 2022

Rizwangul NurMuhammad MPA ’22 has been named a 2022 Adams Leadership Award recipient for her work on the nonprofit organization she co-founded, Empowered Communities Charitable Trust (ECCT).  ECCT is an organization chartered in New Zealand that seeks to provide services and empower the Uyghur diaspora.  The organization’s portfolio focuses on economic empowerment, employment, education, and well-being through five principal programs:

  • Microenterprise Program
  • Training Grants
  • Childcare Support Grants
  • Student Relief Grants

Through an independent study course conducted in spring 2022, Rizwangul developed a strategic planning deliverable that sought to build out ECCT’s work in three areas:

  • Website Design and Security
  • Board and Volunteer Recruitment
  • Community Development

Much of this research was conducted in collaboration with several faculty and MPA alumni, including CIPA Executive Director Thomas O’Toole; Professors Magnus Fiskesjö, Joe Grasso, and Rebecca Slayton; Mary Jo Dudley, Director of the Cornell Farmworker Program; and Dr. Alvaro Salas-Castro MPA ’14. 

“The MPA program helped me discover my passion and create a curriculum that is tailored to that passion and enhances my personal and professional development,” said NurMuhammad. “ECCT began with the Microenterprise Program, which our team designed and implemented with the help of Professor John Mathiason and CIPA Associate Director for Engaged Learning Laurie Miller.  ECCT now has several projects and a strategic plan thanks to the tremendous support of CIPA faculty and alumni, who have introduced me to various opportunities and collaborations.  Seeded at CIPA, ECCT will generate social impact by empowering and assisting people in need, which is something I will constantly strive for.”

Rizwangul NurMuhammad sitting in front of computer screenRizwangul’s work was recently profiled in a Cornell Daily Sun article and the New Zealand press; she has been a passionate advocate for Uyghurs, particularly youth and women, and, during her two years at the Brooks School, has tirelessly educated faculty, staff, and peers on how to support vulnerable and marginalized Uyghurs around the world.  The Adams Leadership Award is presented to members of the MPA graduating class who have excelled academically and made extraordinary contributions to the field of public affairs at Cornell through service and enterprising leadership.  The award was established by Dr. Samuel Adams MPA ’74 and his wife, Marlene Adams. 

For more information on how to support and contribute to ECCT, please visit