Passages Alumni at AIPAC Policy Conference 2017
At the end of March, thirteen Passages alumni joined our staff for AIPAC Policy Conference 2017. This three-day conference takes place in Washington D.C. It is a gathering of over 15,000 student and community activists, two-thirds of Congress, and many other leaders in the pro-Israel community. Below a few of the alumni recount their experience at Policy Conference.
Sharná Jeffers (University of Southern California)
I really enjoyed the 2017 AIPAC Policy Conference! It was my first time in Washington DC, and I couldn’t imagine a better inaugural visit to the nation’s capital than rallying together with thousands of pro-Israel supporters, listening to dynamic world leaders and speakers, and concluding it all with a lobby appointment on Capitol Hill. To see so many people come together in peace for a cause was inspiring and motivated me to get more involved on issues affecting my immediate and abroad communities.
Josiah McGee (Union University)
For me, Policy Conference was a great opportunity to practice much of what we had previously learned about Jewish-Christian relations. I study International Relations in the Middle East, so I am already familiar with several of the policies discussed. My personal highlight was the many conversations had with Jewish families about why a Christian student like myself attends this conference, supports the Jewish people, and supports the state of Israel.
Tyler MacQueen (Ashland University)
Having the opportunity to go to the AIPAC Policy Conference with the Passages staff was one of the biggest honors of my life. Learning more the modern day issues facing US-Israeli relations and meeting others from across the nation, from both sides of the political party, who share the same principles is inspiring. To be able to lobby with my Senators and to sit down with local Congressman for Israel’s future was but the first step in what is hopefully a long political career.
Hannah Saunders (Samford University)
My time at AIPAC Policy Conference was eye-opening, to say the least. I loved learning about some of the current issues that Israel and the entire Middle East are facing. Of course, I enjoyed all of the political speakers and getting the unique experience to lobby with my congressman and make a difference. Seeing the cooperation between political parties was also a great experience for a young person who has grown up in a politically polarized world like myself. Surprisingly, these things were not the most impactful thing for me. The best part of the entire experience was witnessing so many people passionately come together for one cause; the State of Israel. It was moving to see thousands of individuals stand behind the Jewish State and the Jewish people. The interaction between Jews and Christians was incredible, and the support of the Christians shown to the Jews was admirable and encouraging for both parties. AIPAC Policy Conference was a great experience for many reasons and is something I will forever be thankful for.
Macy Mount (Hillsdale College)
As a student who is currently interning on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., I was ecstatic that Passages provided me with an opportunity to attend the AIPAC Policy Conference of 2017. A general observation I made right from the beginning of the conference was the incredible amount of people present. I was overjoyed to see that there were thousands of Americans, even thousands of young people, who are just as passionate about the well-being of Israel as I am. Another encouraging element of the conference was the variety of political speakers who came to vocalize their support for Israel. It was wonderful to see so many political leaders, who would normally disagree with one another on any current policy issue, come together for the sake of strengthening the American-Israeli relationship. One of the most enjoyable speakers for me was Speaker Paul Ryan. He was genuinely enthusiastic about the future of the American-Israeli alliance, and he cleared up some questions that I had about the deal that former President Obama made with Iran last year. The AIPAC Policy Conference united two of my passions: politics and Israel. I will never forget the people I met there and the knowledge I gained as an attendee.”