Young World Leaders
In early March of this year Milos Acimovic, our exchange student from Serbia, attended a prestigious gathering of future world leaders in Washington D.C. The event was the Civic Education Workshop for Future Leaders. This program brought together 150 students from 40 different countries. A joint venture of the American Civics Center and American Councils for International Education, this conference allows students to rub shoulders with many of the movers and shakers in the world of international politics, as well as meet with students their own age from around the world.
While there Milos was able to hear from a student from Montenegro who had done the program last year and had then gone on to organize and run a massive food drive back home. “It was good for me to see and hear from a successful person who finished the program. He made a difference not just in his community, but in his entire country.”
Many apply but few are chosen to attend the program. Milos had to write a 700 word essay and secure letters of recommendation in order to be considered. His essay had to describe a socioeconomic or political issue in his country of Serbia and how his participation in the Civic Education Workshop could help solve problems there. Milos wrote about ethnic diversity in the Balkans, corruption, high unemployment rates and general issues of fragmentation and distrust among competing interests. He finished his essay by writing, “The world is going to be affected by the decisions my peers, exchange students, and people who want to make a change in the world like myself, make. We are the future of our own countries and of the world.”
While at the conference Milos was given an unprecedented one-on-one 45 minute interview with U.S. Congressman Dave Camp’s chief of staff, James Brandell. ”When I went in he said ‘good afternoon’ in Serbian,” says Milos. Brandell had spent time in Serbia, so was in a good position to discuss issues and give Milos pointers on successful leadership qualities. At the same time, Milos was presenting the program to him.
Many topics were covered at the conference – including education, environment, recycling and leadership of local communities – but the big thing for Milos is that “the program does not end when I leave. It starts when I get back home.” And if you know Milos, you know that he will indeed be a valuable asset to his country once he gets back home. Well done Milos.