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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Activities & Organizations

Speaker works to change perceptions


Trita Parsi spoke on the importance of organizing for meaningful causes at “Impacting Policy and Changing Perceptions.” | Dina Kesbeh/ The Daily Cougar

The Muslim Professional Association partnered with The Center for International and Comparative Studies to host a talk with renownedactivist Trita Parsi for “Impacting Policy and Changing Perceptions,” which focused on international politics.

Parsi is an expert on Middle Eastern affairs. He is the founder of the National Iranian American Council and the author of “A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran.”

The goal of the event was to educate students about the importance of international affairs, politics and relations and having a voice in international politics.

“The talk was very focused on developing political activism within the local community, so the topic was very interesting and inspirational amongst the Middle Eastern community,” said mathematical biology senior Omar Ali.

Parsi provided the audience with a guide on how to be more involved in politics within one’s community. He also focused on how effective voting is and how to achieve the level of understanding and organizational skills to mobilize entire communities to have a voice in politics.

“I want to give advice to those who wish to organize and wish to have a voice (in politics). First thing is: you cannot do (or) achieve anything unless you organize — unless you create an infrastructure to be able to channel the views that the sentiments of the membership and make it available to decision makers at the local level or in Washington, D.C.,” Parsi said.

Voicing concerns to one’s congressional representatives may seem like a less effective method to have a voice, but Parsi discussed the importance of writing to one’s representatives and clearly stating what one’s trepidations are and how the amount of money an individual sets aside for a campaign comes full circle.

“(The talk) was informative. Since I am an intern at (the) city of Houston, I could relate to when he was explaining how congressional staff deals with constituents,” said political science senior Syed Ali Deeba. “This is exactly how it works; if you know that a certain constituent has been donating money and constantly voting in elections, then most of the time, you cater to their demands, if possible.”

Students had the opportunity to learn more during the question-and-answer session, which was followed by a dinner and book signing.

“Either be at the decision-making table and have a voice, or you can be on the menu,” Parsi said.

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