Elections and Human Rights - Youth Engagement and Influence

Monday, September 21, 2020 12:10 PM - 1:30 PM

This panel will explore questions related to participation and civic education rights of youth and how youth engage in and influence elections.

For Zoom login information, please register here: http://bit.ly/election_youth

Moderator: Kunoor Ojha, Chief of Staff, Green New Deal Network

-Abby Kiesa - Director of Impact, Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, Tufts University
-Ioana Literat - Assistant Professor in the Communication, Media and Learning Technologies Design Program, -Teachers College, Columbia University
-Katie Peterson, President of ColumbiaVotes - Confirmed
Andrew Wilkes - Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy, Generation Citizen
-Daniella Zlotnik Raz - PhD researcher at the University of Haifa

Abby Kiesa: Abby joined CIRCLE in 2005, after working with students across the country, to focus on maintaining a conversation between research and practice. Now, as Director of Impact at CIRCLE, Abby continues that work and also provides leadership for CIRCLE’s election strategies, website content, and external communications. She has worked on several major research projects and evaluations while at CIRCLE, as well as on several partnerships to support growing voters for a more equitable electorate.

Ioana Literat: Ioana Literat is an Assistant Professor in the Communication, Media and Learning Technologies Design program at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Her research examines participatory online cultures, with a particular focus on youth creative and civic participation. Key questions driving my research agenda are: What is the role of new media technologies in young people’s lives? How do young people express themselves – creatively, politically – in online spaces? And, how does online participation enable new forms of creativity, collaboration and learning?

She completed her PhD at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California, where my mentor was the wonderful Henry Jenkins. Her professional background is in media education and digital storytelling. She is currently a board member of the National Association of Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) and co-director of the Media & Social Change Lab (MASCLab) at Teachers College. At MASCLab, she is working on the development of a research-based game about media literacy and fake news, LAMBOOZLED!, and related civic education initiatives.

Katie Petersen: Katie Petersen is in her 3rd year at Barnard College majoring in political science. She is the President of ColumbiaVotes, a non-partisan and student-run voting rights organization that helps students register to vote and aims to create a culture of civic participation on campus. Katie serves as a student representative on the CU Engage Task Force, a Columbia representative of the Ivy League Votes Challenge, a member of the Campus Vote Project’s Student Advisory Board, and as a poll defender for +1 The Polls. She works at both the institutional and grassroots levels by partnering with administrators to remove barriers to voting and organizing students to register their peers to vote. This election cycle, she is doing contracted digital communications work for a variety of local candidates and organizations in her home state of California.

Andrew Wilkes: Andrew Wilkes serves as Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy, where he leads GC’s thought leadership, coalition building, and policy initiatives as a part of the national leadership team. Andrew comes to this role with nearly ten years of experience in public policy, advocacy, and community organizing, particularly among congregations and community-based organizations. Prior to joining GC in 2017, he served as the executive director of the Drum Major Institute, a social change organization founded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In that capacity, he executed public affairs events in Dallas, TX and Washington D.C. to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act; established the Beloved Community Initiative, a national resource on spirituality and social justice for faith communities; and relaunched the nationally renowned Marketplace of Ideas Forum – a forum for bringing policy ideas to an audience of changemakers, policy professionals, and nonprofit leaders.

As a Senior Grants Manager at The American Red Cross of Greater New York, he worked with elected officials, public agencies, and community stakeholders to administer a $45 million budget for Superstorm Sandy recovery in New York state and Connecticut. Before that, he worked at Habitat for Humanity – New York City, where he mobilized 140 faith communities across the city to serve, donate, and advocate for affordable housing.
Andrew is a graduate of Hampton University, Princeton Theological Seminary, the CORO public affairs fellowship, and is a doctoral candidate in political science at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He also serves on the board of directors for the Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State and Habitat for Humanity – New York State.
Daniella Zlotnik Raz: Daniella Zlotnik Raz is a PhD researcher at the University of Haifa (Israel). Her PhD concerns the political rights of adolescents and their participation in electoral democratic governance, from a children's rights perspective. Daniella is also a lawyer and works at the legal department of the Israeli Council for the Child (NGO).