Paul Kawata

National Minority AIDS Council

In 2009, Paul Akio Kawata, the longest
serving HIV/AIDS executive director in the U.S., will honors his 20th
anniversary as head of the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC). Under his
guidance, NMAC, the only national organization dedicated to building leadership
in communities of color to address the challenges of HIV/AIDS, has
become a powerful voice in Washington,
DC for over 3,000 HIV/AIDS
organizations throughout the country. The agency also provides a comprehensive
array technical assistance programs and services; conferences; trainings; and
printed and online resource materials.

A leading HIV/AIDS advocate, Kawata has represented NMAC in many of the
most significant legislative achievements in the fight against HIV/AIDS. These
include the passage and renewal of the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources
Emergency (CARE) Act; the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA)
Act; the Americans with Disabilities Act; and the Congressional Black
Caucus/Congressional Hispanic Caucus’s (CBC/CHC) expansion of federal funding
for HIV/AIDS programs in communities of color.


Prior to joining NMAC, Kawata
served as founding executive director of the National AIDS Network, the first
national organization dedicated to
developing the capability and effectiveness of community-based leaders in the
fight against AIDS, from 1985-1989. During his tenure, he planned and
implemented three consecutive, annual National Skills Building Conferences-the
first of their kind in the world-and recruited the Ad Council to work on the
inaugural national HIV/AIDS public service campaign. He also organized and
supported the National AIDS Fund, the single largest private philanthropic
partnership in the history of the epidemic.


Kawata began his professional
career, in 1983, as a staff liaison in the Office of the Mayor, in Seattle, WA. During his tenure, he developed relationships
between the Mayor’s Office and official city commissions, representing various LBGT, women’s and minority
constituency groups, and initiating the first comprehensive HIV/AIDS policies
to be adopted by a major city in the country.


He currently is a member of the board
for the Collin Higgins Foundation and the Management Assistance Group, and was
a founding board member of both the National Association of People with AIDS
and the National AIDS Fund. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of
the Pacific, in Los Angeles, CA,
with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and later earned a Master of Arts degree in
urban planning, from Antioch


Kawata has received numerous awards recognizing his leadership in the
field of AIDS advocacy, including both the Surgeon General’s Award and the ATR
Wellness Project Leadership Award, in 2000. Other honors include: the Japanese
American Citizen’s League, Citizen of the Biennium, in 1999; the Gay and
Lesbian Medical Association Award for Person of the Year, in 1998; the HealthWatch
Award for Outstanding Leadership in Minority Health, in 1996; the Keys to the
City, from the City of New Orleans,
in 1996; and the Michael Hirsch Award, in 1990.

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