Category: News Clips, Past Events

Title: Spring 2024 Fellows Talk Threats to Democracy and the Importance of Young Leaders

Author: Jane Wright
Date Published: January 19, 2024

On January 18, 2024, Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service welcomed their Spring 2024 Fellows to the Hilltop. Students were gathered in the Copley Formal Lounge to hear from each of the Fellows about their backgrounds and the weekly discussion groups they will be leading this spring.

Sean Rafferty (C’26) and Natalie Goldwasser (SFS’26), students who served on Student Strategy Teams for former Fellows kicked off the event. 

The six Fellows – Laura Barrón-López, Machalagh Carr, Val Demings, Dan Lamothe, Deanne Millison and Marc Short – joined GU Politics Executive Director Mo Elleithee (SFS ‘94) to introduce themselves and talk about the discussion groups they will be holding in the Living Room at GU Politics this upcoming semester. 

Their topics will range from threats to democracy, the role of the Constitution in politics, effective leadership, war and politics, to the role of corporations in advocacy and political party realignment.

Mo then asked for the Fellows perspective on the stressors facing our democracy. They emphasized the importance of students being the nation’s future leaders and expressed how crucial civic participation is in maintaining the strength of our democracy. 

Some of the Fellows, having been in the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021, reflected on their experiences and feelings.

“I believe our democracy is at risk, because I saw people use violence on January 6th… It was about the voices of the people, and we have to do everything within our power to protect that voice,” said Demings.

The Fellows expressed their excitement to discuss these topics during their weekly discussion groups. Students then had the opportunity to ask the Fellows questions. 

One student asked if there was a need for electoral reform given the increasing polarization. The Fellows discussed how dissemination of accurate information and increased civic education is more crucial for the continued success of our democracy.

“I think we’ve been through periods of polarization before and I’m optimistic we’re gonna emerge out of this one, strong as America was before,” Short added. 

Students will have the opportunity to talk about politics, careers and current events with the Fellows in their office hours which start next week and their weekly discussion groups starting in February.


This article was written by Jane Wright, a first-year student in the McCourt School of Public Policy.