Washington, DC, October 02, 2014 --(PR.com
)-- Last weekend, a group of diverse millennials set out on their own path to "hack" policy. After nearly 24 hours of discussion, research, playing devil's advocate and more- they have come up with policy recommendation to end the blockade in Gaza. You can find an executive summary and the full policy paper at Polithon.org or http://bit.ly/1vtjsFs.
What inspired this group to use their weekend to try and change how policy is made? A novel idea from the bright mind of a tech entrepreneur and a former UN/NGO employee: Polithon. The group was part of Polithon's beta-test on a model they hope will innovate policy making and involve Millennials in an area that has traditionally remained closed off to those outside the beltway. Much has been made of the innovative ways Millennials think and work, particularly in the tech sector, and Polithon hopes to bring that swiftness in innovation to problem solving in the political space.
How does it work exactly? A group of diverse Millennials are selected from a pool of applicants, a handful of high level experts on the subject are brought in to brief them, and then their minds are unleashed to come up with innovative ways to tackle issues affecting us from the local to the international stage.
The experts are brought on for their expertise in the particular area being focused on during the policy hackathon. For the beta-test, their experts included people from the security field, leaders of NGOs and Israeli citizens. They gave a few hours of their time to brief the Policy Makers and answer any questions. They included:
Matthew Duss, Presidents of The Foundation for Middle East Peace (http://www.fmep.org/)
Leila Hilal, Senior Fellow for the International Security Program and the former director of the Middle East Task Force at the New America Foundation (http://newamerica.net/user/402)
Anat Saragusti, Director of B'Tselem USA and a leading Israeli Journalist (http://www.btselem.org/)
"These Millennials are the ones who will be running the world soon enough, and seeing their eagerness to work together and push aside long-standing stereo-types is refreshing. My hope is they will continue to see the world through these eyes and continue to fight for change from the ground up," said Anat Saragusti on the Policy Makers.
The Policy Makers (or participants) were selected from a diverse group of applicants whose backgrounds included law, tech, business, entrepreneurship, and non-profit experience. They were chosen based on location and responses to an online application. They include:
Katy Crosby, Senior Analyst- International Trade, Government Accountability Office
Matthew Weinmann, Co-founder + Finance Director, Youth Voices USA
Christine German, Deputy Director, Munathara Initiative
Maria Saab, Fellow, New America Foundation
Pasha Malik, Senior Financial Consultant Tech Entrepreneur
"We are the future and we need to know that we can make a difference. I think the way our government is set-up now, people don't feel like they have a say or power, but there's a lot of us and when we can come together and develop great ideas, we can make a difference," said Policy Maker, Matthew Weinmann.
Next up for Polithon is to tackle more issues that affect Millennials. A national survey will be launched in the next few weeks to gauge priorities. The next Polithon has been scheduled for January on the West Coast with more details to come.
"The hope is that this model can be adopted to anyone looking to bring their community, whether it be locally or internationally, together to tackle issues we all face in innovative ways without the gridlock of traditional politics," said Polithon co-founder Evanna Hu.
For more information, please visit Polithon.org..
About Polithon: Polithon is crowd-sourcing Millennial ideas to hack the policy system and create change. We are bringing together those who think differently to move beyond the challenges and gridlock of the current policy making process to find tangible solutions to critical issues facing our generation. We believe in fostering the next generation of responsible citizens and leaders by moving beyond dialogue, making policy development more inclusive, and focusing on solutions that work. Polithon aims to turn policymaking on its head.