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The Arizona senator will talk Friday as part of a program encouraging youth to vote. After losing the race for the Republican presidential nomination, it might seem that John McCain would stop campaigning. Yet on Friday, the Arizona senator will be stopping in Philadelphia to encourage young people to get involved in the political process and vote in the upcoming presidential election. McCain will kick off the We the Future 2000 national convention -- sponsored by the Foundation for Individual Responsibility and Social Trust -- at noon. The event, which will be held at One Liberty Place, is free to Penn students with valid identification. The specific topic of McCain's speech is not yet known, FIRST Associate Director Melinda Scott said last night. The former presidential candidate will also attend several other events in the Philadelphia area on Friday evening. Continuing the weekend's activities, University President Judith Rodin will introduce Jason Nastke -- the 20-year-old mayor of Valatie, N.Y. -- to audiences at the Penn Tower Hotel on Friday night. The three-day convention is designed to let people in the 18-to-35 age range "come together to discuss what issues are important to them and present them to the presidential candidates," Scott said. She added that the presumptive presidential nominees, Al Gore and George W. Bush, were invited to attend the event but are sending campaign representatives instead. People from both campaigns will face off in a debate on Saturday afternoon at Drexel University. The event is open to students. Approximately 1,000 delegates from across the nation -- who can register to attend the convention online -- are expected to travel to Philadelphia for the convention this weekend. On Saturday, Chuck D of the rap group Public Enemy will address delegates about the importance of First Amendment rights, and Marian Wright Edelman, president of Children's Defense Fund, will also speak. Delegates will spend Sunday attending skill-building workshops on topics such as grass roots organizing, lobbying, handling the media and running for office in their home town. Scott said the idea was to give delegates "action they can take in their own communities? to make a positive impact." FIRST was developed in 1995 when current president John Smith, a Philadelphia-area lawyer, wrote a newspaper column "calling for a bill of responsibilities to match the bill of rights," Scott said. "The basic idea is that not only is it your right to vote, but it's your responsibility," she added. FIRST has hosted dozens of regional conferences in the past several years in an effort to re-engage young adults in the political process. This weekend's convention marks the third national convention FIRST has hosted. At the convention, delegates will put the finishing touches on a Generational Action Plan -- a three-year-old document that has passed from convention to convention -- designed to give young people ideas for how to become more politically active in their own communities. The final version of GAP will be presented to delegates on Sunday night.

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