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Liberty + Leadership News: May 14


We hope you enjoy these top news stories about TFAS activities, alumni and events this week. Please visit us on social media for additional up-to-the-moment TFAS news and information and sign up to receive weekly updates.

TFAS alumni, staff and faculty continue to make headlines. Read news, analysis and updates by visiting this week’s “Quick Links.”

TFAS Students Learn Value of Civility, Relationship Building During 2021 Spring Capital Semester

Through our engaging programs and top-notch faculty, TFAS continues to champion the young leaders of today who will help shape the world’s future. During the spring 2021 closing ceremony, TFAS Capital Semester students reflected on their remarkable semester living, learning and interning in Washington, D.C., and the impact the four-month program had on their professional development and world perspectives.

Sam Bilotta ’21 was recognized for his hard work this semester by being selected as the spring 2021 Capital Semester closing ceremony class speaker.

Beginning in January, TFAS students from across the United States and central Europe took academic courses at George Mason University focused on Leadership + the American Presidency (LTAP) while interning at various organizations across the nation’s capital. Over the course of the semester, program participants attended guest lectures, networking events and professional development seminars with TFAS alumni and esteemed leaders in policy, economics, government and business.

Closing ceremony class speaker Sam Bilotta ’21 shared that these invaluable experiences helped him and his classmates realize their full potential as future leaders.

“During this semester, the most important thing we have learned about is freedom, whether looking at economic or political freedom, we have seen the impact freedom has on a society,” Bilotta shared. “But while we have learned all these important skills and aspects of our government and society this semester, we have also grown as people. We have challenged our preconceived notions of political and economic issues and have gained a better understanding of issues more complicated than we had originally anticipated.”

Read more about the 2021 Capital Semester Spring program at TFAS.org/SpringRecap21.

TFAS Public Policy Fellows Discuss Unalienable Rights

TFAS Public Policy Fellows heard directly from a key player in the creation of Report of the Commission on Unalienable Rights, Dr. Peter Berkowitz, during their April academic discussion dinner.

Now the Tad and Dianne Taube Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Berkowitz was the former executive secretary of the department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights and senior adviser to the Secretary of State. Berkowitz and the Fellows discussed the history of human rights in the U.S., exploring the American Founding, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and the publishing of the Report of the Commission on Unalienable Rights.

Megan Rohn, PPF ’20, shared that the April discussion helped reinforce America’s role in maintaining global human rights.

Current Fellow Megan Rohn, PPF ’20, said the discussion reminded her that Americans should never compromise the nation’s long-held values of supporting human rights in international relations merely to appease a military and economic competitor abroad.

“This talk helped underscore the fact that certain politicians tend to turn the other cheek when autocracies like China commit human rights abuses, in order to keep the peace, and that this behavior is morally reprehensible and runs counter to the principles of the American founding,” she said. “In order to continue bearing the torch of global leadership, America needs to call out totalitarian states instead of appeasing them for economic or cultural reasons.”

The meeting was the final discussion in the 2020-21 TFAS Public Policy Fellows’ year-long curriculum on “The Experiment in Self Government,” designed to examine the challenges and questions a free society must address in order to flourish, as well as the unique advantages it can enjoy. Rohn says the Fellowship is accomplishing this goal and connecting her with like-minded peers to have civil dialogue on vital topics.

“These conversations are critical for young leaders because they teach us how to listen to other peoples’ points of view and respectfully agree or disagree, while forcing us to re-evaluate our own stances and become better critical thinkers,” she said.

TFAS is currently accepting applications for the 2021-22 Fellowship. To learn more or apply, visit TFAS.org/PPF.

Alumni Staff Spotlight: Allie Dunbaugh

After participating in our transformative programs, many TFAS alumni return to the organization as staff members to help bring their invaluable experiences to young leaders around the world. TFAS Communications Associate Allie Dunbaugh ’20 knows firsthand the transformational benefit of these programs, and hopes to share their impact now as a member of the TFAS communications team.

Allie Dunbaugh ’20 stops for a photo at the top of Santa Lucia Hill in Santiago, Chile, during a tour of the city.

A participant of TFAS Santiago 2020, Dunbaugh learned many important life lessons while studying abroad. However, she believes the most valuable thing she learned on her South American adventure was to live life outside of her comfort zone.

“The most important lesson I learned from TFAS Santiago was to take advantage of each opportunity, especially when it means stepping out of your comfort zone,” Dunbaugh shared. “The times I remember most vividly are the moments I felt out of my element. It was the seemingly small moments like those that elevated the program as a whole.”

Now as a member of the TFAS staff, Dunbaugh is excited to share her experience with students and encourage them to seize any opportunity to broaden their horizons.

“The most rewarding part about working for TFAS is playing a part in promoting and sharing all the wonderful opportunities we offer so other young adults can have the same incredible experience I did,” Dunbaugh said. “TFAS Santiago was so transformative that I still haven’t stopped talking about it to anyone who will listen, and now it’s my job to do that, so I feel like I’ve really come full circle.”

To learn more about Dunbaugh’s TFAS journey, visit TFAS.org/DunbaughSpotlight.

Post of the Week

TFAS is now accepting applications for the 2021-22 TFAS Public Policy Fellowship. Young professionals are encouraged to apply by June 1 for the opportunity to explore the American Founding and grow a network of policy professionals across Washington, D.C.



Charles McElwee, Novak ’20, analyzes progressive Pennsylvania politics in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh primaries for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Andrew Cline, Novak ’98, discusses post-pandemic economic recovery in the U.S. in the Boston Herald.

Tugce Bulut ’03 was interviewed by the Think Like A Founder podcast on her global intelligence platform, Streetbees.

Naomi Schaefer Riley, Novak ’01, discusses the potential effects of Biden’s college tuition policies on students in a piece for Bloomberg Opinion.

Elise Amez-Droz, PPF ’19, has a new op-ed in The Hill on the relevance of health care price transparency for patients. 

Jakub Janda ’13 is featured on the Foreign Office podcast to discuss the latest crises involving Russian intervention in the Czech Republic.

Calvin Blaylock, PPF ’20, was promoted to development strategy senior associate at The Heritage Foundation.

Jake Jennings ’21 shared on LinkedIn about his new role as the deputy finance director for Latham Saddler for U.S. Senate.

The Washington Examiner pays tribute to TFAS Trustee Fred Barnes after announcing his retirement in April.

Gary M. Galles shares a review of TFAS professor James Otteson’s new book, “Seven Deadly Sins,” in The Epoch Times.

Robby Soave, Novak ’17, writes about the First Amendment implications of news censorship in a piece for Reason.

Serena Sigillito, Novak ’19, shares work from her Novak Fellowship project on work and motherhood in Plough.

Matt Continetti, Novak ’08, analyzes President Joe Biden’s spending plan and the economic lessons learned from Milton Friedman in a piece for the Patriot Post.

Tim Carney, Novak ’03, co-hosts an episode of the Left, Right and Center podcast on the job market.

Frederico Bartels, PPF ’18, discusses the defense budget in the Daily Caller.


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