Biden discusses friendship with Colin Powell in first on-camera remarks since his death

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In his last public appearance on September 30, former Secretary of State Colin Powell got emotional while talking about why he decided to help start the Colin Powell School for Civics and Global Leadership at City College in New York City. which was his mother’s institution.

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In a virtual event by the school, Powell explained why he felt inspired to be more involved in the school after meeting students from the City College of New York. The video was posted on 30 September.

“I saw them, and they were me, and they came from an immigrant background like me, and they came from some town in the Bronx, and they were smiling, and they were happy,” Powell said.

The Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership is a non-partisan research center that is a part of the City College of New York. The school is the “home for social science departments” in the college, as well as a “core leadership development and public service program,” according to their website.


Powell attended the City College of New York as an undergraduate and graduated in 1958. The school was established in 2013 as per their website.

Originally, a donor had created a Colin Powell Institute to be part of the college, and Powell was invited to speak to some of the college’s students regarding the institution. But after meeting the students, he felt compelled to do more, he said, which inspired him to start the school.

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“I went to see what it was, and the Colin Powell Institute, and it’s a think tank, well, I’m not crazy about think tanks, but this guy is paying for it, and kids Getting it,” he said.

Powell asked the students to describe themselves.

“I sat in his conference room at the top of the president’s desk, and I told the kids to tell me who you are and where you all came from,” he said. “I told each of them to tell me where you are from, where your parents are from and what your future holds. There were twelve of them, I think, each of them did that…” Powell said, and got emotional while discussing what they said about their future plans.

“Everyone… I was just as emotional then as I am now. And I tried, I was a better man than I was at handling it, but I said my gosh, it’s me, that’s when I decided That I have to do more than just show up every time,” he said.

This is when Powell worked with the then president of the college to keep the institution going and eventually, a year or two later, to start the Colin Powell School, he said.

“It wasn’t an American dream, it was an American trip, they were all on an American trip, and I think no matter how crowded, I hope they all graduated,” he said.

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