The White House recently announced that Mark Hanis '05 has joined the 2012-13 class of White House Fellows, a prestigious group of emerging domestic and global leaders. The program, initiated during the Johnson administration, provides Fellows with one year of high-level federal experience.
"My personal and profession mission is to foster positive social change," says Hanis, who co-founded United to End Genocide (UEG) after reading an article about Darfur as a senior at Swarthmore. The article sparked a long-held motivation for Hanis, a grandchild of Holocaust survivors who spent the summer of 2003 in Sierra Leone. UEG started as a student group, but soon transitioned to a multimillion-dollar non-profit organization whose impact included establishing more than 1,000 student chapters, playing key roles in passing state and federal legislation and acquiring and merging other organizations in the same sector.
According to the White House, selection as a White House Fellow is highly competitive and based on a record of professional achievement, evidence of leadership potential, and a proven commitment to public service. Each Fellow must possess the knowledge and skills to contribute meaningfully at senior levels. Hanis will work in the office of the vice president.
"(This) opportunity provides me with the ability to learn how both policy-making is done and how policy priorities are set at the highest level of government," Hanis says, adding that the experience also gives him the opportunity to give back to the United States government for the value it has added in his life, such as the opportunity to attend Swarthmore under federal aid.
Throughout its history, the White House Fellows program has fostered leaders in many fields, including government, business, media, medicine, education, diplomacy, and the military. In addition to UEG, Hanis is currently co-founding an organization to address unnecessary deaths due to a shortage of transplantable organs.