America is facing a civic engagement crisis as political apathy soars and trust in government falls, particularly among my fellow Millennials. I have been one of these disillusioned Millennials. Being from a solidly red district in a decidedly blue state, I know what it is like to feel as if my vote does not really matter. One thing that I have learned, though, is that my voice is still relevant, particularly in my local community.
"...has an obligation to serve the public"
The Educated Citizen
Applying to college is complicated. Every college has its own set of forms and deadlines, and each student who applies must comb through different websites to figure out his or her specific requirements. It is too easy for students to miss important deadlines, especially for students in schools with over-worked counselors and limited resources.
As I reflect over the past 2 months of my quickly concluding 10 week internship, I can say with confidence that yes, I do have a clearer understanding of what a career in IR could be and no, I still don’t have any idea what my career will be – but that’s okay.
Harvard’s Institute of Politics (IOP), at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, today announced the selection of the 2015 IOP Fall Resident Fellows. The 2015 Fellows roster reflects expertise in foreign policy, political communications, campaign and digital strategy, journalism and political leadership in state, local and federal government.
I had to read it a few times over and even emailed my supervisor back to clarify what I had read. Nope, no discrepancies; I was being invited to present to current interns and staff at the EPA about the Pathways Programs with the aim of persuading them to consider pursuing a career path in the federal government.
I am now more than halfway through my internship researching abortion at el Instituto de Investigación en Ciencias Sociales at la Universidad Diego Portales in Santiago, Chile. I have been working with Lidia Casas, an expert on abortion at the university's law faculty, and also with Alejandra Ramm, a professor and sociologist at the Observatorio de Desigualdades.
Perhaps it was looking down the rope line at the President, realizing his inevitable approach and the handshake that would follow. Perhaps it was when I stepped off the bus and walked the red carpet into San Francisco City Hall, decked to the nines to greet the nation’s mayors. Or perhaps it was on the bus back, when I texted my LA-native friend, the only person I knew who would be awake to hear my story...
Back in May, speakers at the IOP Director’s Internship sendoff dinner gave us advice before we left for our postings. Many of them advised us to ask our supervisors out to coffee, to get to know them and learn more about their careers. It can’t hurt to ask, they assured us. Most of them will probably say yes. As it turns out, I didn’t have the chance.
This summer alone, protests have rocked Syntagma Square, the heart of the city, located across the street from the Hellenic Parliament, on an almost daily basis. As negotiations continue over the fate of the Greek debt crisis and whether the Grexit will come to fruition (if Greece should leave the Eurozone or the EU), it has been incredible to watch the resilience of Greeks as they shoulder the tensions of the world watching their government’s every move.
Matt Mahan '05 attended Harvard College where he served as UC President and participated in Harvard Institute of Politics programming, graduating magna cum laude in Social Studies. Mahan, a native of Watsonville, Calif., is now CEO of Brigade, a San Francisco tech startup tackling the problem of declining citizen power and engagement in our democracy.