Developing Leaders Who
make a positive difference


The Center is housed within the George Washington University’s College of Professional Studies (CPS), which enables us to bring to its work the resources of a world-class university, as well as the resources made available by its location in the nation’s capital.

The Center brings more than 25 years of experience in designing, developing, and providing leadership and management training for public sector employees at state, local, federal, and international government agencies. 

The Center also provides a full range of training consultation services to client agencies, including needs assessment, course and content evaluation, and benchmarking current offerings against best practices in other public, private, and non-profit settings. We work with a wide network of practitioners and academics who have experience in multiple sectors, which enables us to bring our signature “multi-sector leadership” expertise to the needs of our clients. 

GW CEPL Milestones

The Center for Excellence in Municipal Management Established
white numbers 1997 on top of blue background
Established at the height of the District of Columbia’s financial crisis in 1997, GW’s Center for Excellence in Public Leadership (GW CEPL) was formed as an innovative public-private partnership among the academic, business, professional, and philanthropic communities within the District. 

Key stakeholders included the Fannie Mae Foundation, DC Government, Giant Foods, Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, the World Bank, DC Agenda, and the GW School of Business and Public Management (now GWSB). The purpose of the partnership was to help the DC Government create a cadre of highly skilled public administrators who could support governmental change efforts.

The Center for Excellence in Municipal Management— as it was called at the time — set out to fulfill this mission through two main activities: (1) high-quality executive education in leadership and public management, and (2) expert management advice. Today, 25 years later, our collaboration with DC agencies serves as a success story in establishing a skilled mid-level and executive leadership pool across the District.

Renamed the Center for Excellence in Public Leadership
white numbers 2005 on top of blue background


Renamed the Center for Excellence in Public Leadership in 2005 in recognition of our work with the federal government and the Metropolitan Washington region, GW CEPL moved to the GW College of Professional Studies. The transition underscored our commitment to serve as the preeminent institution for professional development and executive education at the heart of the nation’s capital. 

The Center continues to actively expand its suite of Open Enrollment offerings to meet the “just-in-time” priorities of federal government agencies and international partners. To that end, we have added new offerings to our portfolio, including women’s leadership programs, certifications in Lean Six Sigma and Enterprise Risk Management, and executive coaching. 

Cafritz Awards Anniversary
light blue graphic with white numbers 2022


In 2022 we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the nationally-recognized Cafritz Awards Program for Distinguished DC Government Employees, made possible by the generosity of the Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation
Support of the Foundation has also been a force multiplier for GW CEPL, and Partnerships such as these make it possible for us to respond quickly to requests from various local and federal government agencies and their senior leadership teams, often at the request of our alumni, to strengthen and expand the capabilities of their employees to provide excellent services and support to their constituents in Washington, DC, across our nation, and around the world.