This past weekend, Riham Osman, MPAC’s Communications Coordinator spoke at the White House to a group of middle and high school Muslim girls. Organized by Rumana Ahmed, who also discussed her role as an American Muslim female leader, the speakers brought up issues relating to identity and bullying as a result of how the media portrays Muslims. They shared their stories, including the challenges they have faced and how they overcame them as Muslim women.
Youth engagement has been a priority for MPAC. For example, every year, MPAC has two Young Leaders Summits and internship opportunities. These important programs give young people the experience and exposure necessary to eventually build careers in spheres of influence. The summits expose college-aged students to the workings in congressional offices and Hollywood studios. Participants talk to highly-placed individuals in the fields of government and policy, the media, and technology. The internship program allows students to see how advocacy works and how to influence policy from the outside.
This year, MPAC created the Congressional Leadership Development Program, the American Muslim community’s first-ever Congressional internship placement program. This program serves to provide bright and ambitious young people from our community the opportunity to intern in legislative offices, getting an insider’s view of how legislation is crafted. The hope is that these individuals will become inspired to become involved in policy. This is important because policy work is all about making big changes that affect many people and have a lasting impact.
Policy work is only one aspect of creating change. Behind any political change, there exists work that must be done in sociological trends, community cultivation, and human capital investment. These are the factors that determine whether policy changes can be successful. Without these, even the best policies would never make it through the legislative process.
As with any large goal, policy change is a long term game. Communities interested in affecting policy invest in their youth for future advocacy work. We American Muslims must do no less.
In order to create positive change in our nation, we must cultivate, inspire, and equip American Muslim youth by giving them the tools and knowledge to carry on the work started by others and to create new initiatives. MPAC has made it a central part of its mission to invest in our youth by educating them, providing them opportunities for networking, and building an atmosphere of mentoring by those professionals who are now in positions of influence.
As part of our youth engagement, MPAC is committed to fostering our young women to empower them in their careers. Our programs are meant to yield a tangible result to all participants, and to our community as a whole, as our youth enter the workforce. MPAC considers our youth one of our strongest resources, and that an investment in our youth through our programs will have a direct impact on the progress of the American Muslim community and our nation at large.[Contact: Saif Inam, Policy Analyst, (202) 547-7701, firstname.lastname@example.org]