Over the past year, the media has made a ton of fuss over the dominance of Millennials in the Silicon Valley. Older workers are often pushed out for innovative young thinkers to expand the boundaries of technological advancement.
One of the mediums for Millennials to disrupt technology has been through hackathons, events where coders, designers, and hackers gather together for anywhere from one day to several to take on a joint technological challenge and produce a tangible solution.
Now, this idea is moving into the policy world.
Evanna Hu and Julia Hurley are both accomplished women who have worked in the foreign policy world for over a decade. They joined forces to create Polithon, a group that seeks to bring together Millennials from a variety of backgrounds to work on concrete solutions to some of the most “critical issues facing our generation.”The polithon idea evolved out of the success of Millennial hackathons. With a diversity of opinions, they hope bringing together a variety of perspectives outside the echo chamber will allow the group to examine the “bigger picture” and produce an actionable policy paper.
Their first project is no easy task, either. The group is taking on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a seemingly intractable problem that world leaders and many U.S. secretaries of state have failed to effectively address over the last half century. The problem reignited over the summer, which even now has only a tenuous reconciliation between the two sides.
The group, however, is hoping to move beyond Washington’s political deadlock and engage the next generation in difficult policy making, bringing them into the fold of creating solutions rather than being relegated to mere social media activism.
Therefore, in late September, it is bringing together ten Millennials (5 female and 5 male) who can discuss and produce a long-term solution to peace in the region. Three experts on the topic will join the group who will represent various backgrounds and “outside-the-box thinkers.”
Applications for the event closed on September 8, and the group of ten should be announced any day. In the meantime, the group is seeking funding for its initial project, mainly for space, media, and printing its materials.
New data is emerging that shows Millennials are increasingly frustrated with Washington politics. A recent poll by Harvard indicated that 38 percent do not affiliate with either major political party in Washington.
Increasingly, this group of voters are seeking their own solutions to some of the nation’s most pressing problems. Polithon is taking this attitude and applying it to foreign policy. The beta project will be a good test to see how well the approach works.
Photo Credit: Polithon