Profile: Lily Emamian - Senior Public Service Fellow
Lily Emamian was awarded NIAC's Senior Public Service Fellowship and spent this past summer interning on Capitol Hill with the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Lily recounts her first-hand look at government and how it motivates her to serve the public and our community.
Washington, DC - Undoubtedly, the Iranian-American community is composed of many of the brightest, hardest working, and most intellectually engaged individuals living in the United States. The presence that our community has in all domains – professional, political, artistic, scientific – speaks volumes to the potential that future generations of Iranian Americans will demonstrate in years to come. Blessed with strong and supportive families, the community’s fervently active and motivated youth are entrusted with the responsibility to continue projecting the values that drive Iranian Americans toward excellence: education, humility, and a strong sense of identity.
The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) embraces those qualities in its own work while pushing for diplomacy in U.S.–Iran relations, advocating for human rights in Iran, and engaging young people by providing them a forum to share their political views and pride in our community. Because I share the same goals as NIAC and have always supported its work, I applied for the Senior Public Service Fellowship in hopes of contributing to its honorable mission of joining Iranian Americans nationwide, keeping us informed and involved, and providing a pedestal from which to voice our vision of a great America.
After being awarded the Fellowship, I served as an intern during the summer months at the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where I wrote memos, conducted research for committee staff that worked on policies and investigated legislation, prepared the committee office for hearings, and worked with staffers in the efforts of passing the Cybersecurity Act of 2012.
NIAC’s support allowed me to become familiar with the Capitol Hill culture, an opportunity I hoped to have upon stepping foot in Washington, DC as a college freshman passionate about studying international relations and discovering the wonders of the city. In addition to gaining valuable experience working in the government setting, I proudly represented the Iranian-American community throughout my internship experience – whether while preparing memos, meeting witnesses testifying at committee hearings, or during conversations in the office with staffers. As a Senior Public Service Fellow, I kept a close watch on discussions of U.S.–Iran relations on the Hill. I took advantage of exposure to high-level discussions on how best to approach tumultuous political relations not only for my own enrichment, but also to inform my peers and family members of affairs in Washington. By doing so, I discovered that we, as a value-oriented community, must contribute to those discussions every step of the way and ensure that we are represented in the decisions our leaders make.
Most importantly, engaging with the Iranian-American community on so many levels – professional, intellectual, and social – allowed me to find a home away from home. Spending time with NIAC interns and staff, particularly meeting and speaking with Trita Parsi, Nobar Elmi, and Lily Samimi – opened my eyes to an unprecedented level of tenacity and sharpness – one that ignites Iranian Americans to make a difference, and instilled in me a commitment to fulfill my ambitions of serving the public.