Sowing Seeds of Democracy

Keino McWhinney

Republic of Georgia. May 2006. Some internships are less glamorous perhaps than working at a large TV station, or for a Fortune 100 firm in the Big Apple. In the Republic of Georgia, interning with the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, Pepperdine School of Public Policy student Keino McWhinney confronted a different set of challenges: resolving territorial integrity and keeping government officials accountable. Dealing with the multi-layered bureaucracy offered Keino a heightened appreciation for the degree of social complexity that accompanies the country’s vast potential. The reality there underscored for him the need for what Keino calls “thoughtful policy makers.” That’s where he comes in. Early on, Keino wanted to formulate solutions and apply standards to situations with little regard to cultural context. Local staff members within the democratization program provided the wise counsel Keino needed to see things from perspectives sometimes vastly different than his own. He says indelible marks of his Georgian experience will stay with him forever as he applies better-informed ideas to the task of process democracy. A Lipscomb University graduate, he has a great desire to become a responsible policy maker and a passion to effect positive change within his own community and the world he shares with others.