Government & Policy Summit Brings Rising Stars to DC

July 2, 2014

Last week, 15 American Muslim college and graduate students from around the country traveled to Washington, DC, for MPAC’s 8th annual Government and Policy Summit. Over four days, they had the unique opportunity to learn about the policy-making process through high-level meetings with various leaders at the White House, federal agencies, Congress, think tanks and civic groups. Plus, they participated in leadership development workshops and learned about opportunities for their own career development in the arena of policymaking.

SEE:  2014 Young Leaders Government Summit Photo Album (Facebook)

This year, delegates met with the White House's National Security Council Director for Community Partnerships George Selim, Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN), the Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, the State Department, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Counterterrorism Center. They also met with Microsoft’s Director of External Affairs Suhail Khan, Al Jazeera’s Fault Lines Producer Laila Al-Arian and the Brookings Institution.

“MPAC’s Young Leaders Government Summit is a defining experience for passionate American Muslims aspiring to be part of policy conversations to enhance our policy-making process with their diverse voices,” said Hoda Elshishtawy, MPAC’s National Policy Analyst. “This year’s group really took advantage of the access we provided them and asked hard-hitting questions to both policy-makers and opinion-shapers.”

In the words of Lily Purqurian, a delegate and MPAC DC Intern from San Diego, CA, said:

“It’s easy to assume being Muslim and being American are mutually exclusive, but this summit brought the two together by offering the platform for a Muslim voice. It allowed us to be part of the solution just by being part of the conversation.”

Aadil Malik, a delegate from Philadelphia, PA, shared the following reflection at the end of the Summit:

“I knew going into this experience that I was going to make the best of it, whether through engaging in debate with those I met or sitting back and absorbing the information they shared. I ended this summit with a notepad completely filled, a mind engaged, and a passion to contribute to the world we live in. I've met with many great people, none more than the delegates I shared this experience with. Washington, DC, is not new to me. I've seen the buildings, taken pictures of the monuments. But now, I've met the people. I've heard their thoughts. They've listened to mine. I had a seat at the table and I've learned that's the way to make change and to get things done. That's what I want to do.”

Adnan Suleman, a delegate and MPAC DC Intern from New Orleans, LA:

“The summit was an awesome opportunity to see how all aspects of our government work. From the intelligence community to members of the diplomatic corps, MPAC provided us with the opportunity to meet with individuals who are integral to the policy-making process. The experience shed light on how we can be more involved with issues that concern our community along with the larger problems faced by Americans today.”

The mission of MPAC’s Young Leaders Summits is to provide American Muslim college and graduate students with the opportunity to become a part of the process of change in policy and public perception, engage with decisionmakers about the issues they care about, and identify internship and career opportunities so they can play a direct role serving the public good. For more information about Young Leaders Program, please visit

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