An Academic in Action Teaches Conservatism

April 22, 2014 | By Mitch Nozka

"I'm extremely proud of my time at the Leadership Institute,” said Young Conservatives Coalition President Chris Malagisi, also an adjunct professor at American University. 

“It might be cliché, but Morton Blackwell and the Leadership Institute (LI) changed my life," he continued. "In the past decade, I have regularly interacted with LI staff both personally and professionally.”

Chris is president of the Young Conservatives Coalition (YCC), a Washington, D.C.-based young professionals’ leadership, educational, and networking organization. 

YCC organizes the Young Conservative Leaders Fellowship – a six-month program to equip young conservative leaders with conservative philosophy to apply those principles in the political battlefield.

In March, the 2014 fellows class launched with 13 rising leaders within the conservative movement that work on Capitol Hill, in think tanks, media, nonprofits, and the private sector. They also represent various branches of the conservative movement – economic, social, national security and constitutional conservatives.

Just last week the class met with historian Dr. George H. Nash, as seen in the photo to the right.

Previous speakers have included former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, and columnist and author Jonah Goldberg.

Chris seeks to preserve the America his grandparents sought when fleeing communism in Greece.

“I was the beneficiary of the American Dream my grandparents had, and that sentiment stayed with me growing up,” he said.  “I think conservatism is a natural extension of the American Dream. Its goal is to conserve the uniqueness that made America the exceptional nation my grandparents left their home country for.”

In high school, Chris made the most of it. He served as a congressional page in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1998, getting to run errands for Members of Congress and have floor access.

In college, Chris pursued a B.A. in Political Science at American University in Washington, D.C.  His studies included a semester in London with visits to over a dozen European countries, and a semester at sea around the world.  Back stateside, Chris interned in the Bush White House in 2001.

After obtaining a Masters of Public Administration at Syracuse University in 2004, the College Republican National Committee (CRNC) hired Chris to be their Ohio youth director.

“I was in charge of the student outreach field program in the lead up to the presidential election,” he said.  “To prepare for this challenging position, I went for training at the Leadership Institute.”

Chris discovered once he became involved with the Leadership Institute, the relationship would continue throughout his career.

After he attended several Leadership Institute trainings, LI hired Chris as a grassroots coordinator to train conservatives across the country on how to win campaigns. 

Later, Chris became LI’s director of political & new media training where he taught activists how to develop a message, speak in public, debate, build coalitions, and manage a campaign as the campaign manager and even as the candidate.  Along with recruiting attendees, Chris recruited top-notch volunteer faculty to teach at more than 200 trainings.

“I’m proud that during my time at LI, we trained more than 5,000 candidates, activists, and organizational staff across the country,” he said. 

Later, Chris joined the American Conservative Union as the director of national CPAC & external relations. The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is the nation’s largest gathering of conservatives nationwide.  The Leadership Institute partners at CPAC and hosts various trainings and events during the conference. In 2014, LI engaged with 1,216 attendees through six trainings and events.  

Next, Chris joined the Leadership Institute’s Conservatism 101 project to teach conservative students the history and philosophy of conservatism.  Since 2008, Chris has taught the History of the Conservative Movement class at American University in Washington, D.C., and a class on voting behavior, elections, and campaigns.

Every semester, Chris’ version of the Conservatism 101 class has a waitlist of students who clamor to get one of the maximum of 30 spots available.

LI’s Conservatism 101 project establishes for-credit courses on college campuses to balance the overwhelmingly-liberal course curriculum most colleges tout. The Conservatism 101 project acts as a compliment to LI trainings.  Whereas LI’s 41 unique types of training schools teach conservatives how to win against the left, Conservatism 101 teaches students how to articulate their conservative beliefs.

The Leadership Institute also recruited Chris to help launch an online component of the Conservatism 101 project to reach students nationwide.  Chris joins conservative figures such as Wall Street Journal columnist Stephen Moore, author and radio talk-show host Mark Levin, Leadership Institute president Morton Blackwell, and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz to teach students conservative principles through online lectures.

Go here to view these lectures for free.

Himself a recognized conservative leader, several publications and news programs such as Washington Examiner, American Spectator, Washington Times, Fox News, CNN, and CSPAN have tapped Chris for his political analysis.  He’s also been awarded the Rising Star award by Campaigns & Elections. He has high hopes for the 2014 and 2016 elections.

“Barack Obama has turned out to be a great gift for conservatism as he’s helped reboot a movement that strayed in the latter Bush years,” Chris said.  “With presidential scandals and perceived legislative failures piling up, conservatives stand to gain ground in 2014 and are well-positioned to have a strong presidential candidate pool to choose from in 2016.”

Through his teaching and training, Chris strives to teach conservative principles to the next generation – and restore a prosperous and free United States of America.  He credits the Leadership Institute with much of his success.

“Whether attending LI trainings as a attendee, working as Leadership Institute staff, training others as a faculty member, or keeping in touch with some of the best friends I’ve made in DC, there is no way I would have been prepared to run CPAC and YCC, give political consultation, and teach at the university level without the Leadership Institute,” he said.  “I’m honored to have worked with Morton Blackwell and other LI staff, and can’t thank them enough for their guidance and support along the way. If you want to win, go to the Leadership Institute.”

Please congratulate Christopher Malagisi on a great start to the second annual Young Conservative Leaders Fellows Class of 2014 and please applaud him for receiving LI’s Conservative Leader Award.

To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate or faculty member for the Conservative Leader Award or Conservative Leader-In-Training Award, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Lauren Day, at Lauren@LeadershipInstitute.org.