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Christian Science Monitor piece on David Burstein Mentions Jeff Skoll as a 'Living Hero'


Change Agent

Impassioned evangelist David Burstein urges millennials to get involved

Activist, speaker, and filmmaker David Burstein says being fearless about learning new things is the place to start.

By Rich Polt, Talking GOOD / March 7, 2014

'Passion is the raw fuel for any kind of movement to generate impact,' says David Burstein. 'If you don’t have passion, no amount of money can help you solve the problem.'

How shall I describe David Burstein? Let’s do some test messaging … 1) David Burstein is an energetic tsunami of thought leadership. Too overbearing and a bit redundant. 2) David Burstein is a dynamic change-maker, leveraging today’s digital and idea economies to pave the way for a better tomorrow. Too jargony and rather evergreen. 3) David Burstein is an impassioned evangelist for Millennials, who uses all forms of media to advance the ideas of his transformative generation.Grandiose, yes … but I think it’s accurate.

In truth, David himself is a grandiose guy. At just 24 years of age, he has a book, a TEDx talk, crazy amounts of press, and a bio that would make even the most seasoned of geopolitical pundits green with envy.

But it’s not just David’s ability to promote (both himself and the Gospel of the Millennials) that has helped catapult him onto the global stage. David has the unique ability to mobilize and to inspire; to bring people together around a common cause and to create movements. That sort of thing is rare – no matter what generation you claim as your own.

David is the founder of Generation18, a nonpartisan young voter-engagement organization. The organization grew out of the documentary film, 18 in ’08, which David directed and produced, about young voters in the 2008 election. From 2007-2008, Generation18 registered over 25,000 new voters, held over 1,000 events in 35 states, and produced a get-out-the-vote PSA series with stars including Olivia Wilde and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

For his work, David received a 2009 DoSomething Award, and his story was featured on several million bags of Doritos. His 2012 follow up film, Up to Us, produced with OurTime.org and Comcast, focused on the optimism and resilience of the Millennial Generation in the face of the economic crisis and their continued desire to vote and participate in public service. Up to Us was screened across the country in the lead up to the 2012 election.

In speaking about his generation of peers (the largest generation ever to live on planet Earth), David says: “We’re writing a new operating system that’s governing the world we’re all living in.”

I believe he’s got that right. And, I like knowing that there are people out there like David who are both leading the way and chronicling it as they go. Thanks for speaking with us David!

The 10 questions

IN JUST ONE SENTENCE, WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE IN LIFE?

To tell better stories.

WHO IS A LIVING HERO, AND WHAT WOULD YOU ASK THEM IF GIVEN THE CHANCE?

There’s a guy named Jeff Skoll who runs a company called Participant Media who’s a real hero of mine because he’s thought about how film, media, and culture can help us solve social problems. It’s a great example of the idea that to get people excited about social issues and change we don’t have to do things that are boring or explicitly related to policy. He’s really challenged that. Olympia Snowe is also someone who’s been a hero of mine. She’s fought to make government work better, to make our political system more effective, and has such determination to bring more reasonable problem solving into government.

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