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Alex Wirth
Alex Wirth is an advocate for youth involvement in government, community service, and service-learning. Alex served as the inaugural Chair of the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council advocating for an idea that has been endorsed by 6 U.S. Senators, 24 Members of Congress, over 130 organizations and the White House Council for Community Solutions.

In March of 2012, Alex was appointed by Secretary Clinton to the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO, a federal advisory committee to the State Department that supports worldwide humanitarian development and values by coordinating efforts and delivering expert advice on issues of education, science, communications, and culture. He chairs the youth working group of the Commission. Independently of the National Commission, Alex led the team that launched a campaign to get the United States to #bethegoodguys and reinstate UNESCO funding.

In the last two years, Alex has traveled to Moscow, Russia as a part of the Kremlin Fellows program, chaired the International Youth Forum in Seoul, South Korea, and spoke at the UNFPA International Parliamentarian’s Conference in Istanbul, Turkey. In the fall of 2012, Alex was recognized by the Diplomatic Courier as one of the top 99 young professionals under 33 in foreign policy.

In the fall of 2011, Alex founded the Youth Creating Action Network (YouthCAN) connecting over 1,000 outstanding high school and college leaders across the United States with each other and opportunities to get involved nationally.

Currently, Alex is active in two efforts aimed at improving outcomes for children and youth. Alex serves as one of the first two young people to serve on the Forum for Youth Investment Board of Directors. Additionally, Alex was selected by Be The Change Inc as an Opportunity Nation Scholar and is involved with their campaign to increase economic opportunity in the United States. Alex has also served on the youth councils of the Democratic National Committee and

Alex is a strong supporter of bringing service-learning into the classroom to teach citizenship and the skills of the 21st century: creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking. Alex served on the State Farm Youth Advisory Board designing and implementing a 5 million dollar a year service-learning grants program. Alex served for two years on the Youth Service America youth council and for a year on their board of directors. Alex has spoken about the importance of service-learning at the National Education Association, The National Service-Learning Conference, and Education Commission of the States’ Every Student A Citizen regional meetings. Alex spent the summer of 2013 working in Santiago, Chile for Educación2020. For his efforts Microsoft recognized him as a global hero in education.

Currently, Alex is a senior at Harvard University studying government and economics. He is actively involved in the Harvard Institute of Politics where he is Chair of the Harvard Public Opinion Project. As Chair of the Harvard Pubic Opinion Project, Alex leads a team of 30 in writing and analyzing the only nation wide poll of young people written by young people.

Alex frequently speaks about youth civic engagement. He has spoken at the United Nations, the Clinton Global Initiative, Boston College, Georgia College, American University, Yale University, the Nexus Global Youth Summit and served as a moderator at TedxCapital and the Department of Education’s first ever National Youth Summit. Alex has been quoted in the Washington Post, National Journal, U.S. News and World Report, Columbus Telegram, Boulder Daily Camera, and Forbes.

Alex was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico and is a sixth generation New Mexican. In high school he was his school’s Student Council President, Chair of the Santa Fe Mayor’s Youth Advisory Board, and a page for the U.S. Senate. In his free time, Alex enjoys being outdoors hiking, fishing, and skiing with his friends. Follow him on twitter @amaliowirth.

Entries by Alex Wirth

Making Government Smarter

(0) Comments | Posted September 22, 2014 | 11:43 AM

Government can be an incredible solution, but it can also be an incredible hindrance. The Social Innovation Fund and Social Impact Bonds are two recent social financing innovations that demonstrate the power of government and the private sector to solve inefficiencies and societal challenges. State and local governments across the...

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The 5 Most Important Findings in the New Harvard Youth Poll

(0) Comments | Posted April 29, 2014 | 12:53 PM

This morning the Harvard Public Opinion Project released its 25th poll of young Americans attitudes towards politics and public service. Surveying 3,058 young Americans ages 18-29, this year's poll questions focused on inequality, online activity, political partisanship, and views of

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Closing the Opportunity Gap

(0) Comments | Posted November 25, 2013 | 2:02 PM

This month's release of the Opportunity Nation index highlighted a figure we should all be concerned about: 5.8 million young people ages 16-24, one in every seven, are neither working or in school. If we don't do something about this group, affectionately called opportunity youth, their...

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What the United States Can Learn From Chile

(2) Comments | Posted August 29, 2013 | 11:17 AM

This summer I had the opportunity to live in Santiago, Chile while working for the non-profit Educación2020. While I've traveled abroad before, I have never spent so much time in one place. After two months, one gets a sense of a country's people, culture, and politics and you...

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24 Under 24: Youth Who Are Keeping Our Democracy Strong

(14) Comments | Posted July 3, 2013 | 6:35 PM

This Fourth of July, we celebrate the triumph and courage of those who signed the Declaration of Independence and established our democracy. Against the backdrop of this historical moment, the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council and SparkAction are recognizing the Top 24 Under...

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The Missing Conversation

(1) Comments | Posted June 28, 2013 | 10:10 AM

Conversations about service are extremely important, yet they often miss one of the most important outlets for change, government. This is a significant oversight, as my generation, while remaining actively involved in our communities, is growing increasingly pessimistic about government. The service community needs to start a new...

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Traveling With UNESCO

(0) Comments | Posted June 12, 2013 | 5:26 PM

For the last two weeks of May, before starting a summer internship in Santiago, Chile, I set off across South America with just a small backpack. Along the way I found an unlikely friend, UNESCO.

In four of the five cities I visited, I stumbled upon at least one if...

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A Pessimistic Generation

(16) Comments | Posted May 1, 2013 | 12:23 PM

For my generation, politics is broken. The results of the Harvard Institute of Politics spring 2013 poll of over 3,000 young Americans ages 18-29 show a generation pessimistic about politics.

Nearly half (48 percent) of young Americans don't believe their votes will make a real difference. This is...

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Six U.S. Senators Call for Creation of a Presidential Youth Council

(0) Comments | Posted December 6, 2012 | 1:18 PM

We are on the doorstep of a new era in politics -- one where young people matter. This week six U.S. Senators from both sides of the aisle introduced Senate Resolution 608 supporting the establishment of a Presidential Youth Council.

Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) joined Senator Scott...

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Why Vote?

(4) Comments | Posted October 30, 2012 | 7:46 PM

Last week a friend asked me at lunch, "Do you believe in voting?" I responded, "Well, of course" and then paused to think. Why vote?

I live in New Mexico and we are a competitive state but not a battleground (if you are in a battleground state, stop reading...

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A Democracy at Risk

(1) Comments | Posted October 17, 2012 | 5:12 PM

The results of the Harvard Public Opinion Project's new poll reveal a democracy at risk. The 2012 election might bring the lowest youth voter turnout since 18-year-olds were allowed to vote in 1972. Our democracy is at risk and we must do something about it.

Our poll...

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Educating Through Service

(6) Comments | Posted August 3, 2012 | 12:11 PM

This weekend, I along with 29 other young people will give away five million dollars. Our goal: to help solve our nation's education problem by integrating service into the school curriculum.

Academic service-learning is a teaching method where teachers work with students to research a community problem and...

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Young Diplomacy

(0) Comments | Posted June 19, 2012 | 2:57 PM

On a rainy morning in Moscow this May, I sat at a table listening to Russia's best students articulate, in perfect English, their concerns with the United States' anti-ballistic missile system and explain their hope for the future of Russia.

These conversations marked the highlight of a...

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It's Time for a Presidential Youth Council

(7) Comments | Posted April 19, 2012 | 6:08 PM

I was shocked this spring to learn there are 104 million people in our country under the age of 24. Polling done at the Harvard Institute of Politics has found that only 32% of young people (18-29) believe they have a say in what the government does and...

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A Young Person's Debate

(48) Comments | Posted March 14, 2012 | 12:23 PM

The young person's debate on Social Security has been particularly one-sided lately. Last fall at the Harvard Institute of Politics, I helped write and analyze a poll of over 2,000 young people ages 18-29. We found that 78 percent of young people were concerned that the Social Security...

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A Step in the Right Direction on Youth Empowerment

(0) Comments | Posted February 27, 2012 | 10:54 AM

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke in Tunisia this past weekend about how the aspirations and needs of young people present a crucial challenge for our country, Tunisia, and nations across the world.

"It will be the young people of Tunisia who determine what the future will be," Secretary...

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The Answer to Occupy Wall Street

(176) Comments | Posted November 11, 2011 | 11:00 AM

Over the last three weeks, I have walked through the Occupy movements of Boston, Philadelphia, New York, and Washington. The predominately young protestors shared their frustrations with me. They are fed up with the status quo and the direction our country is headed.

They just want a job and a...

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The State Department and USAID Get It

(1) Comments | Posted September 28, 2011 | 7:09 PM

This weekend I was in New York for a State Department Panel entitled, "Youth Driving Change: Global Youth and Civic Engagement." The event itself was just as amazing as the story behind it -- one that is still developing.

Over the last year, the State Department has...

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Giving Away Millions

(0) Comments | Posted September 1, 2011 | 6:09 PM

What happens when you give thirty Millennials five million dollars? You're expecting the stereotypical answer, "something magical." Well, it is definitely magical, along with stressful, intense and provocative.

Now you may be asking yourself, what is so hard about giving away money? One short answer: nothing. How the question should...

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Making the Case for the Page Program

(6) Comments | Posted August 9, 2011 | 11:34 AM

There is a magical feeling when you step onto the blue floor of the United States Senate. You are quickly overcome by how small it is. You feel like you are part of history. When the Senate gavels into session and you see Senator Carl Levin argue with Senator...

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