Interview with Jonathan Fantini Porter, Former Chief of Staff for Management in the US Department of Homeland Security
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by Justine Hudock
Student Community Engagement, Knovva Academy

One of this year’s most valuable speakers, Jonathan Fantini Porter, Chief of Staff for Management in the US Department of Homeland Security, delivered an informative session on “Policy in 2021,” focusing on how the federal budgets affect policy making. He sat down for an interview with Knovva Academy following his lecture and subsequent discussion with the student delegates at this year’s Summit.

“The level of comprehension, the level of understanding that there was by the participants, was both surprising and not surprising at the same time. It was really just the sense that this — this group of young leaders, they really get this and they see the value and they understand how to use this as a tool,” Jonathan said, laughing. 

“When you bring people together, and particularly young leaders and people who are still forming their sense of the world, you make for a better world, you make for a world that has a common sense of understanding. 

“When I think of my own personal experience, my mother is American and British, my father is Argentinian. This sense of our world being connected, and people from everywhere having the same challenges and the same hopes. 

“As soon as you can in the earliest you can get that into a young leader’s mind, it makes for a much healthier, much happier, much safer world. 

Jonathan’s favor for the notion that the more people you can bring from the most diverse parts of the world, and the most diverse sorts of thinking, the better the quality of the solution, shone through his inexhaustible excitement in reception of the students’ questions to him throughout the Summit.

“The more people you can bring to the challenge from different belief systems, the more people you can bring to a problem from different parts of the world, and different experiences of life in different economic experiences early in life and in different stages, different education, the better the outcome.

“When I think about the Model G20, I think about the most successful experiences that we have had solving big problems happen when we have the most diverse and inclusive sorts of organizations and the most diverse and inclusive sorts of thinking around the challenges that you’re facing.”

This, to Jonathan, is what global “growth” really means: the lessons of the connection that he has with everyone from every walk of life in this world, the connections that he has with people from every country in this world, and to know that we are all individually capable of bringing the change that we need in this world.

“I think it is a very powerful tool. And it’s formed my career.”

“What I would offer and remind folks and participants is that at the end of the day, the solutions that are going to come to this world for the biggest challenges we face today, and we face tomorrow, will come from the actions and the decisions and the choices that you each take, and each of these individuals and individual participants and leaders young leaders take.” 

You can watch Mr. Porter’s full video interview here.

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