Yesterday, we had the opportunity to speak with 27 outstanding college and graduate students who were attending the Muslim Public Affairs Council’s Young Leaders Summit. Currently in its 5th year, the summit is a weeklong civic training program that exposes the students to careers in public service and encourages increased engagement in their respective communities. As we sat around the table in the Roosevelt Room it proved to be an ideal setting for them to engage directly with senior Administration officials and share their own unique perspectives.
The students, whose studies range from psychology and the environment to finance and women’s studies, asked insightful questions around a variety of policy issues. The conversation touched on domestic and foreign policy. Ronnie Cho, an Associate Director in the Office of Public Engagement and liaison to Young Americans, discussed the President’s work to address issues of concern to the next generation of Americans including college affordability and clean energy policy. Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett welcomed the students, encouraging them to share their stories, insights, and perspectives here in DC and also as they returned home.
The latter portion of the roundtable dealt with international affairs, and the students heard from Denis McDonough, the Deputy National Security Advisor on the National Security Staff, who engaged in a frank conversation with the youth delegates. Topics included U.S. policy in Afghanistan, the ongoing crisis in Syria, and general professional development advice that Denis shared with students as they plan for potential careers in government.
This is the third year that the Office of Public Engagement has hosted these outstanding young leaders, and they continue to impress us with their insights, accomplishments, and dedication to civic engagement.
Paul Monteiro is an Associate Director in the Office of Public Engagement.