Just weeks after earning his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Pennsylvania, Alex Haber is heading to London to join the official United States delegation to the Y8 Summit June 24-28.
Haber will serve as secretary of state. In his capacity as head of the U.S. State Department at the Y8, or Youth8 Summit, he’ll join an American pseudo-president, defense secretary, attorney general and other simulated delegation members to develop foreign policy proposals that reflect U.S. interests and values.
The Scarsdale, N.Y., native honed his leadership and negotiating skills, practicing the art of diplomacy, in competitive debates as director of the University Model United Nations team. He cites Brendan O’Leary, his thesis advisor and the Lauder Professor of Political Science, as someone who played a crucial role in his formative years at Penn.
A member of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and a coordinator for Penn Quest, an outdoor-orientation program for incoming freshmen, Haber was chosen to represent the U.S at the Y8 summit by the Young Americans for Diplomatic Leadership organization through a competitive national selection process.
The Y8 Summits are organized by the International Diplomatic Engagement Association and modeled after the G8 Summits, where leaders of the world’s major industrialized nations discuss global issues.
The Y8 summit this year has increased the number of representatives to 20 to include G20 countries.
Haber will join nearly 200 delegates to participate in weeklong negotiations on topics related to environmental, defense, financial policy and other pressing world issues.
“I feel extremely lucky to have the chance to compete as part of Team USA alongside students and young adults from around the world,” Haber says. “It’s not as if a bunch of different Americans were representing the other countries, playing the parts of people from Brazil and other homelands. “
The Y8 Summit will conclude with a June 28 press conference in which delegates will release a final communiqué outlining a set of proposed solutions to international issues.
“The idea is to put together language and recommendations that we all agree on. We will pass the proposals along to the actual G20,” Haber says.
After the Y8 Summit, Haber plans to spend the rest of the summer working in Washington as an intern with the Committee on Homeland Security of the U.S. House of Representatives.