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Tsedey Betru

DMI Scholars Vs. Rumsfailed’s Fellows

You may have heard that former Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld is starting a foundation to promote students to “study after college in fields related to public policy, with the hope of encouraging young people to go into government.” Hmmm, somehow I don’t think it’s in our best interest to put the future leadership of the nation into Rumsfailed’s hands, do you?

DMI had a better idea about a year ago, to train smart progressive activists from diverse communities for public policy careers. A year later, we have a lot of success stories to tell about the DMI Scholars program, but I will give the short version.

In March, we selected 14 accomplished college activists from across the nation among 115 applicants. And in July, they came to New York City for our DMI Scholars Summer Institute, a two week intensive training in the public policy basics combined with extensive exposure to the field. It is amazing what a small group of big thinkers can accomplish in such a short period of time! In addition to taking a Policy Analysis class and a series of Power Analysis trainings, Scholars completed group Policy Analysis Projects that analyzed and solved social and economic problems. They debated one another on whether there should be a national maximum wage. They met with a wide range of high ranking public officers, researchers, advocates and policy consultants. They took research and writing workshops and produced policy memos on hot policy topics. And every morning, our ED Andrea grilled them over breakfast as they read the New York Times and New York Post with a critical eye, making bold arguments about the pressing issues of the day.


So you can rest, assured that we are not leaving the cultivating of our future Policy Advisors, Issues Directors and Legislative Directors up to Donald. Besides, it’s not just about training to be the next Donald, Condoleeza, or heaven forbid, George. It’s about bringing activists who have passion, experience, commitment and a keen understanding of how policies affect our communities to the table where they are conceived and implemented.

“At the Summer Institute, I have met important individuals, folks with practical experience- I want to work for them…and gain their advice. Most of the time, as a student, l lose sight of the fact that the world is still moving without me, DMI Scholars is expanding my view to the national debate. It is empowering students to understand policy in the real world. Speaking to peers is very important for progressives- without policy, one major victory won’t be long-lived. We need policy to reinforce for years to come…Each scholar has something to put in this discussion. Successful policy happens when you can mitigate with diverse types of folks, you get that here…” Nekpen Osuan, 2007 DMI Scholar

Tsedey Betru: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 8:01 AM, Oct 04, 2007 in Progressive Agenda | Progressives | Youth | activists
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