Press Releases

Purchase Freshman Rayhan Islam Attends White House Award Ceremony

Date Released: 10/25/2010

First Lady Michelle Obama officiated at the Presentation of National Arts & Humanities Youth Program Awards at a White House Ceremony attended by Rayham Islam and Meghan McDermott of the Global Action Project. Click for details.

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As an alum of the Global Action Project, which trains young people to create documentaries, public service announcements and short films that are aired in screenings and workshops as well as online, Purchase freshman Rayhan Islam was invited to attend the White House ceremony with Meghan McDermott, Executive Director of the Global Action Project.


First Lady Michelle Obama, honorary chair of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities celebrated 15 exemplary programs from across the country that reach underserved youth by hosting the presentation of the National Arts & Humanities Youth Program Awards ceremony at the White House. Two representatives from each organization attended the event.


In her remarks, the First Lady spoke about the importance of after-school and out-of-school arts and humanities education and thanked the teachers, administrators, and artists that keep these programs running each and every day, particularly during tough economic times. “You’re showing our students that each of them has something valuable to contribute to this life.  And you’re opening their eyes to a world of possibility that awaits them—one work of art, one relationship, one lifetime at a time,” she said.


Rayhan Islam, a G.A.P. leader and alum from Queens, co-produced several award-winning G.A.P. videos while a part of the program. He was honored to be invited to participate in the ceremony and loved working with the Global Action Project. “I have been to a lot of screenings and events as a filmmaker with G.A.P., but this really is the next level. Going to the White House as I start college is incredible,” he said. “It tells me that the work we are doing is making an impact and gets me even more excited about my future.”


Executive Director of G.A.P., Meghan McDermott said “It’s wonderful to be recognized for the work we do, but even more important for young filmmakers to express themselves and gain an audience for their powerful, creative work.  We want youth to know that their media has the power to spark dialogue, shape new understanding, and be used to make significant social change.”


For nearly 20 years, Global Action Project has trained young people to create documentaries, PSAs and short films that are aired in screenings and workshops as well as online. Participants use these skills to explore the issues that face them and their community, creating opportunities for dialogue and engagement for both filmmakers and viewers.