Kohen to attend State of the Union 'White House Social'

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Kohen to attend State of the Union ‘White House Social’

Ari Kohen

UNL political science professor Ari Kohen is among a select group of social media-savvy citizens invited to the White House on Jan. 20 to watch President Obama’s sixth State of the Union address.

On Wednesday, Kohen responded to an invitation for those who follow official White House social accounts on Twitter, Instagram, Vine and Facebook to apply to participate in a “White House Social” during the 2015 State of the Union. He was notified of his selection on Jan. 16.

“I think it would be absolutely fascinating to watch the State of the Union from the White House,” Kohen said. “It also would be a fantastic experience to share with undergraduate students, many of whom have a deep and abiding interest in the workings of our democracy.”

Kohen is active on social media. Among other things, he maintains a blog where he critiques public apologies and ponders the nature of heroism, among other frequent topics.

The White House has sponsored a number of similar events over the past several years. At last year’s State of the Union address about 60 social media users visited the White House, where they watched the speech and met with then-Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest and other senior officials to ask questions and discuss the president’s message.

Other “White House Socials” have involved the February 2014 visit of French president François Hollande to Washington, the 2013 White House Youth Summit and the 2012 Easter Egg roll.

“I think Washington and our elected officials can often seem far away from people in Nebraska,” Kohen said. “I think being chosen to attend this event is a good reminder of the importance of the ‘We the people’ clause in our Constitutions and the connected ness of all the diverse people across our country.”

Kohen said he plans to Tweet and blog during and after the speech.

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