The Birmingham Committee on Foreign Relations (BCFR), a non-partisan, non-profit membership organization founded in 1943, has selected four area college students to represent Birmingham at the American Committees on Foreign Relations (ACFR) Young Leaders Initiative in Washington, D.C.
The BCFR is an affiliate member of the ACFR, a collection of leading international study groups across the country.
The Young Leaders Initiative conference will be held Aug. 11-14. Student representatives will attend State Department Foreign Service Officer briefings, have lunch with former Afghan Ambassador to France and Canada Omar Samad, participate in an episode of the Center for Strategic & International Studies’ The Trade Guys Podcast, and attend numerous think tank expert briefings.
BCFR has selected four undergraduate students to represent Birmingham at this year’s Young Leaders Initiative. The student representatives are UAB students Banks Stamp and Arshnoor Grewal and Samford University students David Matthews and Grace Friar.
BCFR board chair Kali McNutt says the committee played a substantial role in forming the Young Leaders Initiative.
“Our organization’s leadership saw the necessity of educating and engaging the next generation in discussions on national security and international relations. Past board chairs Frank Young and Dave Carder were instrumental in pushing for this program’s creation,” said McNutt.
She continued, “In the past we’ve sent two students to the YLI each year–students from Birmingham-Southern, the University of Alabama, and Samford. We had exceptional applicants this year, and decided to select four student representatives. I think this just goes to show our strong commitment to involving young people in policy discussions and encouraging careers in national security, diplomacy, and international business.”
All funding for Birmingham’s YLI students comes from BCFR membership dues.
Past participants heap praise on BCFR for the professional experience they received through the organization.
“I still credit the conference and BCFR/ACFR with a lot of my successes in D.C.,” said 2018 YLI participant Bailey Oedewaldt. “The conference led to my first internship and my graduate assistant-ship at the US Institute of Peace, and that role at USIP led directly to my role covering Africa in the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security.”
2019 YLI participant, Joseph Forcherio, is a Presidential Management Fellow finalist.
Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL