Episodes from the East Wing

Three months into his co-​​op with the Office of the First Lady Michelle Obama last fall, Klevis Xharda stood in a recep­tion hall filled with dozens of past recip­i­ents of the Pres­i­den­tial Medal of Freedom. Here were base­ball legend Hank Aaron, feminist-​​activist Gloria Steinem, micro­fi­nance pio­neer Muhammed Yunus, Pres­i­dent Bill Clinton, mem­bers of the Kennedy family—to Xharda, SSH’14, “some of the greatest and most rev­o­lu­tionary fig­ures in modern history.”

As Pres­i­dent Barack Obama paid tribute to two 50-​​year anniversaries—of both the medal and the death of its founder, Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy—Xharda, assigned to staff the event, was struck by the guests’ warmth and humility. “If I’ve learned one thing from this intern­ship,” he says now, “it’s that the people who seem untouch­able on TV are so human”—gracious, humble, normal—“when you’re in the same room with them.

– See more at: http://www.northeastern.edu/news/2014/03/klevis-xharda-white-house-coop/#sthash.xBKotpPw.dpuf