“Whatever title or office we may be privileged to hold, it is what we do that defines who we are … Each of us must decide what kind of person we want to be—what kind of legacy that we want to pass on.”
-Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan
With my political science research paper submitted and a dreadful 10-pound backpack unpacked, the end of the spring semester was literally such a weight off my shoulders. Reading materials ranging from books on various schools of thought in international relations to abstruse political theory articles throughout the semester, I was sure I knew what the world ‘politics’ means. Light-hearted, I arrived to Washington, DC. and discovered that I was mistaken.
The main lesson I’ve learned at the Public Leadership Education Network is that politics is the action you take. At the same time, politics doesn’t necessarily represent the actions of government officials; it can also represent the steps we are taking every day to make our society a better place to live in. I realized that there was no need to wait until I graduate or pursue my professional career, I could be engaged in politics even as a student. The opportunities we are privileged to have right now are enormous, and we are responsible for making the most out of them.
The seminar brought together some phenomenal speakers who covered a broad range of issues, starting from the U. S. foreign policy and ending with the millennium development goals. However, I am also glad to get to know so many smart and talented participants who I’ve learnt a lot from. I am incredibly proud of my peers who demonstrated what it means to be politically active and stand by your opinion. I’ve learnt to think critically by watching them questioning some common believes and offering their personal views on controversial issues in foreign politics.
I believe that the Women & Policy in the Global Community seminar was the best way for me to finish an incredible school year and learn what politics truly means! I am immensely grateful to PLEN for introducing me to so many inspirational young women! I am sure that every PLEN alumna will keep pursuing her goals and someday lead the world!
Elizaveta Dyatko received a scholarship sponsored by TE Connectivity to attend the 2015 PLEN Women in Global Policy seminar. She attended the seminar as a sophomore at St. Lawrence University.