Following a 50-year tradition of inspiring young Christian evangelicals to enter the political and public service arena, the National Association of Evangelicals are hosting some 120 seminary and college students in Washington for a weeklong conference packed with seminars, visits to the White House and Capitol Hill, meetings with congressmen, and debates on faith and politics.
“What we are attempting to do is to educate the next evangelical generation of leaders on their public policy priorities and to help make careers in public policy and federal service a possibility for them,” said Richard Cizik, vice president of NAE’s governmental affairs division, who headed the annual Student Leadership Conference for 25 years.
The NAE Student Leadership Conference began in 1956 and has since helped hundreds of young evangelical students connect with people and opportunities in Washington. Past Alumni from the program include Clyde Taylor, Jr., Foreign Service Officer and Retired Ambassador; Senator Dan Coats, (R-Ind.), retired Ambassador to Federal Republic of Germany; and Ronald Leighton, a Federal District Court Judge.
This year, students will interface with Special Assistant to the President Tim Goeglein, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Daniel Ayalon, and Senators Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ariz.).
Through such meetings, conference organizers say they hope to see more Evangelicals in Public Service.
“The kind of access these young people have to the leaders in the federal government is simply unparalleled,” said Cizik. “We want them to make a difference in the world and learn how Washington operates.”
The weeklong events officially begin today with a conference and dinner at the Washington Grand Hyatt Hotel, and culminates Friday with a White House briefing and tour.