Name: Carlos Chediek
“When your government is not working, the gap between expectations and reality is eventually going to become so vast that disgust and anger will occur in the population. How do you fix issues like that? If you have a more civically engaged populace, if you’re able to be an active citizen and be aware of what’s going on in your local community, you’ll be able to voice your concerns more effectively.”
– Carlos Chediek
Carlos Chediek exemplifies a cosmopolitan outlook and the intellectual perspective gained from a liberal arts education. The son of an official with the United Nations Development Programme who moved frequently, he is proficient in English, Turkish, Spanish, and Portuguese, and has met the presidents of Peru, Nicaragua, and Brazil. However, he credits a United States president, Barack Obama, for spurring him to activism.
Listening to the broadcast of Obama’s last State of the Union address, “I got truly inspired to be an agent of change in my community,” Chediek recalls. “I felt energized, ready to make a difference.” Joining NYPIRG’s voter registration drive, he signed up more than 1,700 students in 2016. That led to his current role as Queens College ambassador for the Andrew Goodman Foundation and its nonpartisan Vote Everywhere project, for which QC has the main campus chapter. Chediek is proud of the foundation’s legacy and the importance of its work, noting that Andrew Goodman’s killers “stifled not only his voice, but also the voices of those he could potentially have registered that year.”
Ambassadorial responsibilities take Chediek from classrooms to student spaces and included hosting a midterm watch party for 30 students. In addition, as a political science major, he has been a teaching and research assistant for Michael Krasner. For a comparative course on the ascent of the political right, Chediek examined how Brazilian celebrities had risen to public office; facilitating conditions across otherwise different countries included “high degrees of political instability, a very negative outlook from the population toward the government, and a polarizing or celebrity-like figure joining the government and being seen as a savior, just by not having that much political experience.”
Further diversifying his background, Chediek chose to minor in Business and Liberal Arts because, he explains, “everything’s related in life. Being aware of what’s going on in business will give you a very good baseline with which you’ll be a more effective worker, communicator, and leader.” After graduation, he wants to work as a paralegal in order to take the first steps in becoming a lawyer.