State Representative Christina Hagan (R-Alliance) recently met with eight participants in the Legislative Fellows Program for South and Central Asia while they were in Columbus to learn more about the processes and policies behind state government in Ohio. The fellows traveled from India and Pakistan and are professionals involved in the government of their home country. The aim of the program is to provide practical knowledge of democracy that the fellows can take back to their respective countries.

The Legislative Fellows Program for South and Central Asia is a program of the United States State Department and hosted in Columbus by the International Visitors Council of Columbus. It provides young professionals direct exposure to the political process in the United States. Fellows are placed in month-long internships in congressional offices, state legislatures, city councils, and local governments across the county.

“I was pleased by the fellows’ passion and curiosity for the political process,” said Rep. Hagan. “Although we all come from different cultures and places in life, our mutual passion for the advancement of democracy was evident in our open dialogue and exchange of ideas.”

Many of the fellows cited their meeting with Rep. Hagan as the highlight of their visit to the Ohio House of Representatives, as she offered insight on what it means to be a young woman legislator. Rep. Hagan and the fellows discussed at length the barriers women experience on the path to holding an elected office and key ways to increase accessibility for both young people and women.

The fellows traveled to Columbus after first learning about the federal government process in Washington D.C. In addition to their meeting with Rep. Hagan, their visit involved attending committee hearings and meeting with a variety of state offices and departments.

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