Megha Parwani is a junior at Stanford University double majoring in philosophy and political science. Her coursework, research, and service reflect a deep commitment to facilitating civil dialogue, fostering civic engagement, and strengthening democracy worldwide. Through the Stanford Center for Deliberative Democracy and the student government’s Academic Freedom and Political Engagement initiative, Megha has played a leadership role in hosting national and campus-wide events that promote thoughtful deliberation and civil discourse across difference, rather than polarizing, partisan debate. As Opinions editor of The Stanford Daily student paper, she provides a valuable avenue for students to exchange perspectives on timely national and campus issues. Megha is also focused on supporting future civic leaders—including through the South Asian Winter Camp, an online education and cross-cultural exchange program she co-founded, and internships with the Civic Health Project and Generation Citizen to equip young people across the globe to create positive change through informed political and civic action.
By studying philosophy and political science, I’ve learned about ideal theories of democracy and how our democracy falls short of these ideals. Using this understanding, I want to strengthen the foundations of civic and democratic practice. At the local level, I’m eager to expand campus-wide civic and political engagement. Following controversial speaker events, I developed a Deliberative Poll for undergraduates to consider policy issues collaboratively and civilly, building on my work as a researcher at the Stanford Center for Deliberative Democracy. I also continue to build avenues for dialogue through The Stanford Daily as an editor and moderator of Frankly Speaking, a crowd-sourced column. On the national level, I am passionate about institutional reform and depolarization. I am co-designing a deliberative democracy experiment that initiates a nonpartisan national dialogue on electoral college reform. Finally, having grown up abroad, I am committed to international collaboration to advance democratic development, which has led me to intern for Democracy Moves, an incubator for pro-democracy advocacy worldwide, and to co-found the South Asian Winter Camp (SAWC), which delivers discursive, multicultural classes to students across South Asian nations. I am grateful for these opportunities to understand, preserve, and reimagine democracy.