University of Arizona
NNI | Harvard Project | Udall Foundation |

About NNI

Located on Tohono O’odham Nation traditional homelands, the Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy (NNI) was founded in 2001 by The University of Arizona and the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation as a self-determination, self-governance, and development resource for Native nations. It is housed at the university's Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy.

NNI assists in building capable Native nations that can effectively pursue and ultimately realize their own political, economic, and community development objectives. This effort, which we call nation building, is the central focus of NNI's programs. NNI provides Native nations and other policy makers with accessible research and policy analysis of governance and development in Indian Country and with comprehensive, professional training and development programs designed to meet the needs of Indigenous leadership and management.

The International Advisory Council, composed of Indigenous leaders from the United States and Canada, has been closely involved in the development of NNI. The council provides advice and oversight on an ongoing basis and meets twice a year to advise NNI and help set the organization's strategic direction. NNI is an outgrowth of the research programs of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, an organization with which it retains close ties.

NNI fulfills this mission by:

  • providing Native nations and other policymakers with outstanding policy analysis and accessible research on governance and development in Indian Country.
  • providing Native nations and organizations online and multimedia educational resources and tools on governance and development.
  • providing Native nations with comprehensive, professional training and development programs (including executive education and youth entrepreneur and youth governance training programs), designed specifically to meet the needs of Indigenous leadership and management.
  • working with Native nations and peoples on governance assessment and strategic and organizational development.

NNI’s International Advisory Council, composed of 17 Indigenous leaders from the United States and Canada, has played an integral role in the organization’s development and growth. The council provides advice and oversight on an ongoing basis and meets twice a year to advise NNI and help set the organization’s strategic direction.

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