We’re in the middle of our strongest semester yet as an organization. Compared to this time last year, we’ve reached nearly three times as many students, been active on 60 percent more campuses, and had 4.5 times as many chapter activities. Across America, future leaders are surging towards the vision of a measured, realistic, and prudent foreign policy that the John Quincy Adams Society represents. October was a stellar month – and the big star was the Society’s University of Texas at Dallas chapter. Driven by strong recruiting, good organizing, and a well-attended event on the psychology of international power with Tulane University’s Professor Christopher Fettweis, UTD showed what a successful chapter looks like. The Society’s executive director, John Gay, interviewed UTD chapter president Salman Kazmi about their outstanding month:
What has been the key to your chapter’s success so far?
I would say one of the main things has been keeping realistic goals early on and knowing where to reach. We started off in the summer by attending seven different organization fairs on campus for incoming freshman. This allowed us to reach students who are really eager to join student organizations. During the semester, by reaching out to students in classes that are related to international relations or foreign policy, we were able to reach as many potential members as possible. Additionally, we were able to do a good job building connections with other political clubs on campus such as College Democrats, YAL, and Texas Rising. Lastly, we have been very fortunate to have such a dedicated and hardworking officer team. Any chapter is only as good as its weakest link, so having officers who are willing to help carry the load and go above and beyond to see the club succeed is paramount to the progress of any chapter. […] I would [particularly] like to mention our Public Relations Officer, Arman Kafai. He attended many summer organization fairs and has been very important in spreading the word around campus. He has also been one of my best advisors and I couldn’t ask for a better officer.
What do you feel your chapter of the Society adds to your campus?
I believe our chapter allows students who are interested in foreign policy get more involved and not only learn, but make connections with like-minded students. By providing an outlet for students to discuss their thoughts and concerns with current foreign affairs, our chapter has enabled students to feel like a part of something bigger, which is very important to accomplish the changes we aim to achieve.
How has leading a chapter of the Society impacted you personally?
Leading a chapter has helped me improve my leadership skills by forcing me to be in a position where I must be able to delegate work to my officers and finding the appropriate middle ground between micromanaging and taking a hands-off approach. Furthermore, starting JQA here at UTD has definitely taught me how to stay organized. Presidents of student organizations are required to do a lot of work as we are the bridge between the club and the school, so if I miss a deadline, I am the only one held responsible. This puts a lot of pressure on me, and if I wasn’t able to properly manage my time and stay on top of things, I would fall behind. Finally, I have gotten the chance to meet so many wonderful people from this organization. Whether it’s speakers, students or the leadership from the national organization, I have enjoyed the opportunity to get to talk to and work with so many bright individuals.
If you could change one thing about U.S. foreign policy, what would it be?
Oh boy, where to even begin? As someone who has been carefully following the Middle East for as long as I can remember, I would change our stance on Iran. It seems we have taken every chance possible to oppose Iran and in the end, it’s the innocent people who suffer. Not just of Iran, but of Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Libya, and the list goes on… We have been fed this lie that Iran is this evil country whose raison d’etre is to bring destruction to the West and its values and this has unfortunately given justification to our immoral, economically expensive and dangerous policy in the region since 1979.
You can support young leaders like Salman and the rest of the JQA Society network here.