Young conservative makes a difference in human rights policy

Your support for Heritage not only advances strong policy, but it enables young conservatives to stand up every day for the principles and values that make our country strong. An excellent example of such a person is Olivia Enos, who works as a policy analyst in Heritage’s Asian Studies Center and focuses on human rights issues.

Enos grew up with a conservative father and a liberal mother. From a young age her family encouraged her to grapple with ideas, debate, and come to her own conclusions. She credits her conservatism today to the discussions she had with her family.

In high school and college she took part in speech and debate, where she often found herself relying on Heritage research and commentary to support her arguments. She came to work at Heritage in 2013 because it was one of the few conservative platforms where she felt she could effectively work on human rights.

“So often,” she explains, “human rights and policy issues are unnaturally divorced from each other. It’s our job as policymakers to show that there are both moral reasons to raise human rights issues, and reasons that serve American interests. I believe that human rights are something that are inherent, and that come from God, so it’s natural for conservatives to be the defenders of human rights. You’ve seen that historically.”

At Heritage, Enos has been able to turn her passion for defending human rights into action. Right now, she spends much of her time writing analysis on North Korea, which has always been a passion of hers. She sees the events unfolding there as a unique opportunity to address human rights in that country. While she notes that the Trump administration has expressed interest in North Korean human rights, she adds, “I think it’s time to go beyond rhetoric on these issues and maybe take the summit as a potential opportunity to call for the dismantlement of prison camps in North Korea.” Already, the House and Senate have started to call for the same policy, and Enos is working on a paper to help address the policy more completely.

Though Enos is in the minority as a young conservative in Washington, D.C., she doesn’t think it has to stay that way. “I don’t think millennials are necessarily set as being liberal,” she says, noting that she’s been surprised by how open and curious many people her age have been about her worldview. “People live in a bubble of their own choosing, but so long as we all try to understand where everyone is coming from, I don’t think that we have to stay isolated.”

You can read more of Enos’ commentary and reports on her Heritage bio page. She contributes regularly to The Daily Signal and is a foreign affairs contributor for Forbes.

What questions do you have for Olivia?

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