The Power and Perils of Political Engagement

Join us on Wednesday, October 14th at 12pm EDT for the next Global Viewpoints Forum with guest speaker Zaki Barzinji!

Zaki Barzinji is a public affairs consultant with a passion for bridge-building and storytelling. He served in the Obama White House as Senior Associate Director of Public Engagement and the President’s liaison to Muslim-Americans, Arab-Americans, Sikh-Americans, and other minority faiths. As the first senior official to focus primarily on those constituencies, he worked to amplify voices and narratives seldom represented at the highest levels of government, and collaborated with his colleagues on building relationships between marginalized communities. Before joining the White House, Zaki represented the Commonwealth of Virginia to Congress, the federal government, and other states as Governor Terry McAuliffe’s Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. Previously, he advised Governor McAuliffe on technology policy and helped guide the launch of Virginia’s open data portal, while also serving as the Governor’s liaison to the Virginia Asian Advisory Board. Before joining McAuliffe’s administration, Zaki served as his outreach director for AAPI communities during the 2013 gubernatorial campaign. In addition to his public service, Zaki directed SBC, a chamber of commerce for minority-owned businesses in the healthcare and tech industries. He is a graduate of Virginia Tech, devout Jedi, fiction writer, lucky husband to wife Michelle, and proud father of toddler Zoon Aurora and baby Amedeo Azadi.

Zaki will be talking about both his personal experiences and the broader issue of marginalized communities engaging both in politics and with government officials to affect change while not being taken for granted or compromising on their principles.

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