For the final event of our busy week, LEAP Students took a trip into Houston to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the World Affairs Council…
…with Ambassador Nikki Haley.
LEAP has loved working with WAC this semester, and several students made an early trip to Houston to help with setup and check-in.
The event, as expected, had a large turnout and the ballroom where Ambassador Haley was speaking was packed.
Ambassador Haley was introduced by Mr. Ronan O’Malley, and the event was moderated by Dr. Maryanne Maldonado.
Ambassador Haley began the evening by telling the audience about growing up as the only Indian family in her small South Carolina community. Ambassador Haley stressed the importance of her childhood because those interactions have shaped who she is today, and still impacts how she chooses to lead her community. Growing up, she worked as the bookkeeper for her mother’s small business, learning then that she was good at numbers. She then graduated from Clemson with a degree in accounting. After working in the private industry for several years, she decided that “the statehouse had too many lawyers, and needed one really good accountant”, which received a good laugh from the audience.
Ambassador Haley spoke about her experience as Governor during the tragic shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in 2015 where nine church members were killed, including South Carolina State Senator Clementa Pinckney. Ambassador Haley gave a touching story about her decision to remove the Confederate Flag from the statehouse, not to erase history, but because she remembers all too well how it feels to associate pain with a particular place and memory.
Ambassador Haley then talked about her interactions with President Trump during the 2016 Presidential Campaign, which interestingly led to her close relationship with President Trump and her nomination as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations in 2016.
Ambassador Haley was confirmed on January 25, 2017, and she served until December 31, 2018. The event was concluded with questions from the audience, and Ambassador Haley gave advice for young Republicans who want to be involved, she said “You have to push through the fear. If you push through the fear, you don’t live with any regrets.” I particularly enjoyed that quote. After the event, we were privileged to meet and take a group photo with Ambassador Haley.
Because of Ambassador Haley’s heritage, LEAP chose a local Indian restaurant, India’s Restaurant, for dinner. This was the first time for several members to try Indian food. We started with garlic, onion, and regular naan bread for the table, which everyone enjoyed. A couple of students were more adventurous, while others chose familiar dishes. Entrees at our table consisted of Chicken Tikka Masala, Chicken Korma Kashmiri, Navrattan Korma, and Chicken Jalfrezi.
Overall, the evening was well spent, and I think everyone took away a lot from what Ambassador Haley had to say, as we always do from World Affairs Council events!