Outcome of applications for USA Political Exchange

This is a brief report on the judging of applications to take part in this programme.

Fifty complete applications were received within the time limit specified, and they were assessed by a committee of four, comprising Karen Huntress (Assistant Cultural Attache, US Embassy), Mohammed Amin (CMF Vice Chairman) and two volunteers who were chosen by Karen Huntress for their recent experience of being participants on similar programmes.

The application instructions stated “The target age range is 22-32, although we will consider well-qualified applications outside that age range.” In the event applications were received with a wide range of ages extending up to 49. The committee decided to only review applications that were +/- three years outside the specified range, which left 41 applications to review.

The committee members each produced independent lists of the candidates that they would select, working purely upon the information in the application forms, and taking into account factors such as evidence of active involvement in UK politics, potential for future contribution etc. There was a high degree of overlap amongst the judges for most of the places, and the remainder were allocated by a process of discussion, taking into account the desirability of having a group that had appropriate diversity in terms of factors such as political alignment, ethnicity, geographical location and gender.

The US Government was able to increase the funding to allow eight candidates to be selected for the programme, and four persons were chosen as reserves.

The original application instructions are copied below for information only.

Set out below are details of an exchange program that the Conservative Muslim Forum has developed with the US Embassy. If you wish to apply, you must use the Microsoft Word Application Form, and send it to reach the US Embassy by 17 August. If you need any additional information, please email Karen Huntress directly at huntresske@state.gov.

The target age range is 22-32, although we will consider well-qualified applications outside that age range. While the Conservative Muslim Forum has helped to organise this, applicants from all political parties are eligible. However applicants must be Muslim.

With the US presidential election happening in November, this will be an ideal opportunity to learn about the US political system first hand, if you are selected to go.

The U.S. Embassy in London and the Conservative Muslim Forum are seeking applicants for our co-sponsored and bipartisan exchange program for young Muslim political leaders.  Participants from all UK political parties are welcome on this program.  This exciting program will run from October 8th to October 18th, 2012, just a few weeks before the American presidential election.  During their visit to Washington, D.C. and 1-2 other American cities, participants will explore a number of different topics, which may include:

  • The mechanics of elected office:  choosing a time to run; fundraising; building political support; grassroots campaigning; deciding political issues and choosing platforms; media engagement; how to handle a campaign loss; and more;
  • The U.S. political and electoral system at the local, state and national levels;
  • Minority engagement in American politics;
  • The U.S. political decision-making process; and
  • The impact of diversity on political issues and institutions.

Participants will receive an insider’s view of American politics during this program.  They will meet with Republican, Democratic and unaffiliated national and local politicians, Congressional committees, media, political groups, lobby groups, and/or NGOs to discuss diversity in American politics and foreign policy.  Sessions will take an array of forms, from small meetings to opportunities to watch large scale American political events.  Participants will generally be given a chance to ask questions.  Due to the small size of the program and the wide array of meetings and events included in the program schedule, this program will present an excellent opportunity to make contacts within the American political scene, and to gain advice relevant to individual future UK political careers.

All expenses within the United States will be fully funded and at no cost to the participants (internal U.S. travel, hotel, food, and incidental costs are included as part of the program).  Participants are required to fund their own international airfare between the UK and the U.S., although scholarships may be available for well qualified candidates who are unable to fund their own airfare.

The deadline for application is August 17, 2012.  Please contact American Foreign Service Officer Karen Huntress at huntresske@state.gov for more information.

Please be advised that planning for this program is underway, and the details are subject to change.

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The Conservative Muslim Forum was founded by Lord Sheikh in 2005. All of its members are full members of the Conservative Party.