A group of nineteen TFAS alumni have completed a yearlong program designed to enhance their professional development and build a network of leaders in the public policy arena. The TFAS Leadership Fellows program, which was launched in 2007, is comprised of alumni in their 20s and early 30s who are working in public policy positions in the Washington area.
The fellows work in the U.S. Congress, in trade associations, in executive branch agencies.
Throughout the year, the fellows attended educational seminars, professional development workshops, networking events and discussion sessions on public policy and leadership topics. One key educational component was a series of in-depth discussions about the Ayn Rand novel Atlas Shrugged.
The discussion sessions were moderated by Dr. Eric Daniels from Clemson University’s Institute for the Study of Capitalism. By reading and discussing Atlas Shrugged, the fellows were encouraged to explore challenging ideas in moral philosophy.
The fellows were also given opportunities to expand their understanding of current public policy issues by meeting with economists, authors, business people and leaders of nonprofit organizations. One session looked at the underlying causes of the economic crisis, while another focused on how to make an impact in local politics.
Not only did the fellows expand their intellectual and professional horizons, but they forged strong personal and professional relationships with each other. The network they formed will be increasingly important as they rise through the ranks of the public policy world.
“The fellows love this program, as it helps them grow personally and professionally,” said TFAS Vice President for Programs Steve Slattery. “It’s also great for TFAS, as it directly advances our mission of developing honorable leaders who appreciate the political, economic and moral principles upon which the United States was founded.”
The class of 2009 ended their year-long program on Wednesday, Jan. 27 at a reception held at TFAS Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
2009 fellow Caroline Dierker (B 05) reflected on the past year during her remarks at the graduation ceremony. “We were all incredibly fortunate to have at our disposal a network of students, alumni, donors, and friends of the Fund with whom we could have meaningful and stimulating intellectual discussions about the topics held most dear to the patriots who founded our nation over 200 years ago – free market economics, limited government, and democratic society, to name a few.”
The reception also served as kick-off event for the 2010 fellows, whose first group retreat will be the weekend of Feb. 19 in Gettysburg, Pa. During the retreat, they will have a series of discussions with speakers such as Prof. Jim Otteson, the Charles G. Koch senior fellow at TFAS, and will also tour the historic battlefields in the city.
At the reception, the 2010 fellows met their classmates for the coming year as well as graduates from the 2007-2009 programs.
Continuing to prove that the fellows program only chooses the best and the brightest, former fellow from 2008, Davor Kunc (A 02, I 04, E 05), accepted the 2009 Kevin Burket Alumni Service award at the reception.
Kunc was chosen for this award for his role as an active mentor, encouraging others to attend TFAS programs and for creating the first Croatian Alumni Chapter (HAKFAS).
Under his leadership, the chapter held three successful conferences, all of which hosted over 40 alumni from around Central Europe and the Middle East and was made possible by a variety of sponsors and donors.
View a full list of 2010 TFAS Leadership Fellows.