IFE hosts Welcome to the Capital City Breakfast

While there is so much going on around the world and in our minds and hearts, there is also much to be celebrated. Last week, the Institute for Education welcomed a new cohort of White House Presidential Innovation Fellows with a sumptuous breakfast at the Colombian Residence. 

This was the first time in a long time that many members of our community were able to gather together and see each others’ smiling faces in person. Ambassador Juan Carlos Pinzón graciously hosted the event in a gorgeous ballroom, sharing Colombia’s rich history of culture, technology, innovation—and outstanding biodiversity of frogs! It is safe to say that after the first serving of arepas, everyone was ready to plan their next trip to Colombia.

The breakfast tables were filled with more than 60 civic technologists. Among the many guests of honor were former U.S. CTO Megan Smith, Executive Director of the Beeck Center and IFE Open Government Champion, Cori Zarek, Ambassador of Luxembourg, Nicole Bintner, and former Senator Larry Pressler.

Megan Smith delivered stirring remarks that truly captured our community’s shared mission: a mission of adding seats to the table, bringing innovation into all parts of government, and celebrating the legacy of leaders who came before us. It seems only fitting on International Women’s Day to remind everyone of the incredible women in technology, including Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, and others. Thank you, Megan, for inspiring so many talented individuals to show up and serve, and for your continued commitment to raising the tides and fostering the civic tech community.

Last, but certainly not least, thank you, Coach Kathy Kemper and the Institute for Education, for organizing this incredible event and showing us the power of soft diplomacy. What a wonderful way to introduce our latest cohort of PIFs to the civic tech family. I can’t wait to see what they do next. Go PIFs! 

Contributed by Clarice Chan, Former PIF (2019-2020), Product @ Meta, Leading Elections & Democracy Research

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