LSU Student Krista Allen Works to Strengthen, Educate on United States-Israel Relations
Allen Joined World Leaders in Speaking at the AIPAC Policy Conference
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, Policy Conference featured some of the world’s most prominent leaders and speakers. United States Vice President Joe Biden delivered the concluding address. Others such as former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Senator John Kerry and Israeli President Shimon Peres talked about the United States-Israel relationship. Speaking alongside these government leaders was LSU history major Krista Allen.
"To able to attend the conference with big names such as those was such a great honor," Allen said. "As a college student, I never thought I would have the chance to see these people actually speak in person. It was incredibly inspiring to hear from these great men and the other very noteworthy speakers."
Allen was invited to speak at the conference after participating in the AIPAC Student Speakers Bureau Training in February. She was selected as one of the top five speakers there and was invited to speak at the Policy Conference.
According to the AIPAC Web site, the Policy Conference is the pro-Israel community’s preeminent annual gathering. The event attracts more than 6,000 community and student activists from all 50 states, more than half of the U.S. Senate, a third of the U.S. House of Representatives and a number of Israeli and American policymakers and thought leaders. This year’s conference was held May 3-5 in Washington, D.C.
Allen, who participated in the Policy Conference activities as a student delegate, spoke on the second day of the conference, where she helped to honor the members of AIPAC’s Board of Directors.
"As I stood backstage waiting to go on, I looked around and saw members of AIPAC’s incredible staff, U.S. senators waiting to speak about why they work so hard for the U.S.-Israel relationship and most importantly, I saw Shimon Peres, the president of Israel," she said. "In that moment I realized I was among people that care so much for Israel."
Shortly after the conference, Allen joined 39 other non-Jewish students on a trip to Israel as part of AIPAC Campus Allies Mission. The defining moments of the "life transforming" trip for Allen included talking to their security guard about his service in the Israeli Defense Force in Gaza, playing games with young Ethiopian Jewish children at an absorption center who experienced firsthand the hope and purpose Israel gives to so many people and interacting with everyday Israeli citizens who live in a country that is each day on the precipice of war.
"AIPAC allowed me to see Israel as more than a political issue or a current event topic," Allen said. "AIPAC allowed me to form a lifelong connection with people who share America’s vision of what our world can be."
Since the conference, Allen has been invited to speak around the country. So far this year, she has spoken in Columbus, Ohio; Tampa Bay, Fla.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Des Moines, Iowa; and Minneapolis, Minn.
"Whenever I speak at these events, I talk about my experience with AIPAC as a student from the Deep South, going to Israel for the first time recently and my connection to the Pro-Israel movement," she said.
Allen, a Houma native, will graduate in May 2010 with a degree in history and minor in leadership development. She works as a student recruiter for the LSU College of Arts & Sciences and serves as the AIPAC campus liaison at LSU.
"I make sure that LSU is part of a bigger, stronger pro-Israel movement," Allen said. "AIPAC has taught me about retail engagement and the ripple effect that’s possible when you reach out to others to join a movement. I am going to leave a lasting legacy at LSU so that pro-Israel activism will never ever stop on this campus."
Ernie Ballard | Editor | Office of Communications & University Relations