White House public engagement official to speak at Pizza & Politics

By Kim Chaudoin on 9/10/2011

  
  
Churches and faith-based institutions have a lot to contribute to American government and societal issues, said Paul Monteiro, White House associate director for public engagement, speaking at the Pizza & Politics series at Lipscomb University on Wednesday, Sept. 28.
 
Speaking to a capacity crowd in Shamblin Theatre, Monteiro discussed his work as a religious liaison for the White House’s Office of Public Engagement. In his role in the Obama administration, Monteiro serves as the liaison to Arab Americans, youth, faith-based and secular belief communities and assists in coordinating the White House Mentorship Program.
 
“Some of the best solutions to issues we’ve dealt with have come from faith-based institutions,” he said during the free lecture. “One of the most rewarding parts of my job is working with a variety of people from different backgrounds and seeing what works and what doesn’t. There are great examples of programs and ways churches have of doing things that are great to apply to other areas of government and business.”
 
“My job is to break down the barriers — to get our colleagues across government entities to call upon faith-based organizations and partner with them. We try to break down the silos that people put religious organizations into,” he said.
 
Monteiro also assists in coordinating the White House Mentorship Program. He worked for then-Senator Obama in his Senate office in 2006 before joining the Obama for America campaign in Chicago as the national deputy director of religious affairs. A graduate of the University of Maryland and the Howard University School of Law, he previously worked at the United States Supreme Court, two Washington, D.C. law firms, and spent a year teaching at a local public charter school. 
 
“This (sessin of the Pizza & Politics series) was a unique opportunity for Lipscomb students to learn how religion and government can work together in a constructive and constitutional manner,” said Lipscomb President L. Randolph Lowry.
 
Pizza & Politics is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership, the Department of Communication and Journalism and the Department of History, Politics and Philosophy in the College of Arts and Sciences.