I’ll have the opportunity tomorrow to visit with this year’s Lantos-Humanity in Action Fellows. This is the third or fourth year I have spoken to the group. It’s something I really look forward to because it gives me a chance to get to share my experience of working on cultural issues and gay rights in this country, while hearing their international perspective on how those issues play here and around the world.
The Lantos Fellowship is a really cool program funded by the Lantos Foundation, a foundation established to carry on the work of the late Congressman Tom Lantos. Each year, a group of students and young professionals come from around the world for four-month professional fellowships at the United States Congress. According to the foundation, the purpose of the fellows program is two-fold:
- To give bright, young scholars and future leaders the opportunity to work in the U.S. Congress and gain a greater understanding of the role of human rights in American legislative process
- To provide the U.S. Congress with an international perspective on human rights and to ensure that human rights remains an important focus of the Congressional legislative agenda
The Lantos-Humanity in Action Fellows program is a great example of a private organization having a very real long-term impact on policy by bringing an international perspective to Capitol Hill, and by helping young people from around the world to learn about US policy-making.
I can’t wait for the discussion tomorrow because there will likely be a lively debate. There’s usually a pretty wide range of political philosophies represented. From socialists to libertarians, there’s usually a little bit of everybody there!