Voices in Action 2011: Alberto Retana (video)

Alison Beth Waldman
March 8, 2011

The 2011 National Youth Summit was a groundbreaking example of "crowd sourcing" in American democracy.  Organized by the U.S. Department of Education, it brought a diverse group of more than 300 middle and high school students from across the country to Washington D.C. and gave them a platform to voice their concerns, ideas and questions about education policy to the people in a position to do something about it. Over 25 U.S. Department of Education staffers and other federal officials made appearances at the Summit.  At this candid and passionate forum for policy talk with youth, the administration showed that they were really listening—and we all got the chance to get to know our government officials a little better.

We took a few minutes to catch up with Alberto Retana, who organized the Summit and serves as Director of Community Outreach for the U.S. Department of Education. Even though he denies that he is "the man behind the summit" (he gives all the credit to someone else, which you'll hear below), we still give him kudos for arranging, moderating, and supporting the event.

If it's possible to sum up the momentum of the day in a five-minute nutshell, then Retana did just that.  Hear him share his thoughts on his favorite Summit moment, how he compares this to the Civil Rights Movement, his purposeful choices of the day's "edutainment" and much more in the video below. 


Don't miss a word! Get the transcript of Alberto's interview here.