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White House encouraging youth-hosted roundtables

Priya Parker profile picNCDD member Priya Parker, who interned in the White House the summer of 2009, sent a message to the NCDD Discussion list today.  She wanted to share with young NCDD practitioners a note she received from Kal Penn of the White House Office of Public Engagement (he’s the Associate Director and Liaison to Young Americans), and encourage all of you to get involved in a White House project.

Between now and May 31st, Administration officials will be participating in 100 Roundtables with Young Americans all across the country. Young people are encouraged to host a roundtable in your community, and to even ask someone from the Administration to participate.  Sign up and learn more at www.whitehouse.gov/YoungAmericans.

Here’s the message Priya shared with the listserv:

Dear White House Internship Alumni,

On behalf of President Obama, I wanted to invite you to participate in an exciting new Initiative for young Americans that we just launched.  All over the country between now and the end of May, young people will be putting together their own roundtable conversations on a range of topics they’re passionate about, and we wanted to challenge you to host 5 of these roundtables.

Back in the day, if folks wanted to talk to someone at the White House, they likely would have had to ride a horse up to the front door. Not anymore! The website launching the President’s initiative is at www.whitehouse.gov/YoungAmericans and includes a toolkit (which contains everything you need to host these) and a web form to let us know when & where you’ll be hosting your roundtables. The feedback sheets we receive from the roundtables will be turned into an e-book that will be available to the public on the White House website, and will focus on non-partisan youth-generated solutions to challenges that young people have been working to fix.

As an alumnus of the White House Internship Program, these roundtables are an opportunity for you to provide the people in your circles of influence a space to discuss the issues that matter to them and provide direct feedback to the President and the Administration.  The goal of this initiative is to transcend partisan divisions and instead engage young people in candid conversations about the issues important to them in a non-partisan manner. By connecting young people with their President in a non-partisan way, we are hoping to follow through on our commitment to ensure that every young person, regardless of political affiliation, background, or belief, has a seat at the table.

All of the participants in your roundtable will receive invitations to future events, webchats, and conference calls with White House officials moving forward.  And if you check the box that requests Administration participation when you sign up, we’ll do our best to send someone to participate in your roundtables as well if you’d like.

We’re working hard to ensure that young people all over the country, of every background and belief, feel empowered to participate in this initiative and feel connected to the White House and their President.

Think you’d be able to host a few of these?


P.S. I would also encourage you to pass this initiative on to other student groups in your community.  If you know other groups or organizations who might be interested in hosting a roundtable, please let them know about our website.

Kalpen Modi | The White House | Office of Public Engagement, Associate Director and Liaison to Young Americans

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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