“1/7 of the world’s population is disabled, but comprise an invisible community: Sara Minkara, on “Empowerment Through Integration”

Sara Minkara, a close friend from HKS, is an extraordinary person. She’s created this NGO called “Empowerment through Integration” that works to empower young people with disabilities in order to help integrate them into their communities. She started off with Lebanon, opened a branch in Nicaragua this past summer, and is off to start branches in many other places.

She lost her sight when she was 7 years old. But you can’t really tell in the video (or like, ever). She’s the most capable and intelligent person I know. (I have a TON of fun stories about her, but will refrain from over-sharing on a blog. You’re welcome, Sar!! :))

Check her out. She’s an outlier. She’ll be the most impressive, most courageous person you’ll meet in a very long time.



Me and Sara in Palestine, 2013

Special Olympics — with Tim Shriver and Diplomat/ Harvard Professor Nicholas Burns

I recently returned to Harvard as a graduate student at the Kennedy School of Government and have been attending powerfully inspirational events that I'd like to share with all of you. I'll continue to write about the events that I attend here.

Today, I went to an event sponsored by the school's Belfer Center titled "Non-traditional Actors in International Affairs," where Tim Shriver–the founder/CEO of the Special Olympics, and the nephew of President John F. Kennedy–spoke at great length about how powerful each individual is in making a significant difference in the lives of those around us. Retired American diplomat and now Harvard professor Nicholas Burns (a very popular and well-loved professor at the Kennedy School!) moderated the conversation, and I wish all of you were there to listen and participate.

People with intellectual disabilities are continually treated in inhumane, and frankly, disgusting, ways in countless countries around the world today.  Special Olympics, now having served over 4 million athletes, is one of many excellent organizations that is working to empower people, shift social attitudes and behaviors, and work to improve the lives of others.

The 10th Special Olympics World Games will take place in PyeongChang, South Korea from January 29-February 5, 2013. The organization is currently looking for many volunteers for the World Games, as well as dozens of thousands of games that take place around the world year-round. Please get involved and figure out how you can contribute. I think we'll all be surprised at how much potential each small individual has to make a grand impact.

Here's a fun video about the upcoming World Games in South Korea.

Invitation for freshman and sophomores to apply for Harvard Kennedy School’s Public Policy and Leadership Conference

Hey everyone!

I just received information about this conference from my school newsletter. Please encourage college freshmen and sophomores interested in public policy to apply for this conference!  It’s a fantastic 3-day opportunity for undergraduates to learn more about careers in public policy and lessons in public service and leadership. I cut and paste some information below. For more information, check out this link.


2013 Public Policy Leadership Conference: February 21-23, 2013

What is the Public Policy and Leadership Conference?
The Public Policy and Leadership Conference (PPLC) is designed to inform students about careers in the public sector. The conference will encourage students who possess a commitment to public service to prepare for graduate study in public policy and international affairs, as well as to provide information on financial support through various fellowship programs.

Why Attend PPLC?
Harvard Kennedy School will be offering its thirteenth annual spring conference for first and second year undergraduate college students who are interested in pursuing professional careers in public service. These include careers in federal, state or local government, and work in the nonprofit sector or in international agencies. Our goal is also to provide information on various fellowship opportunities. To find out more about individual fellowships, please visit our resources page.

Who Attends PPLC?
The conference aims to attract students from groups under-represented in public policy and international affairs in an effort to increase the diversity of students receiving these professional degrees. The conference will help prepare future leaders for study in public policy, particularly those from historically under-served communities and people of color. Participants receive paid travel, accommodations, and meals. Please note that the conference is open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents in their first or second year of undergraduate studies only.

Selection Criteria
Conference participants will be selected based on good academic standing, as well as demonstrated commitment to public service. Commitment to public service will be measured through student leadership and activism, participation in the civic aspects of school or community, and volunteer commitments in high school and college. Please include this information on your resume.

Apply Online
Application Deadline: November 16, 2012