Harvard Institute of Politics

The Harvard Institute of Politics (IOP) is an institute of the John F. Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University that was created to serve as a living memorial to President John F. Kennedy, as well as to inspire Harvard undergraduates to consider careers in politics and public service.[1][2] The IOP works to bring the academic world into contact with the world of politics and public affairs in a non-partisan way to promote public service. Undergraduates Anna Duffy and Maya Jenkins serve as President and Vice President of the Institute.

Harvard Institute of Politics
Established1966 (1966)
MissionTo inspire students to consider careers in politics and public service.
DirectorMark Gearan
Location, ,
United States
Coordinates42.37145°N 71.12210°W / 42.37145; -71.12210


Following President Kennedy's death in 1963, the Kennedy Library Corporation raised more than $20 million for both the construction of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, and for the creation and endowment of an institute at Harvard for the study of politics and public affairs. More than 30 million people from around the world, including school children, contributed to the fund. In 1966, the Kennedy Library Corporation presented Harvard University with an endowment for the creation of the Institute of Politics.

IOP Programs

Among the 15 programs offered by the IOP include fully funded internships, prominent and diverse Forum speakers, the Harvard Political Review, study groups led by visiting and resident Fellows, periodic public opinion surveys focused on America's youth, policy groups, the Campaigns and Advocacy Program, the Politics of Race and Ethnicity, Civics tutoring for Boston public schools, and conferences intended to provide opportunities for interaction with the people who shape politics and public policy. The IOP does not offer formal courses or degree-granting programs; instead, it provides avenues for practical experience and encourages students to examine critically and think creatively about politics and public issues.

John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum

The John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum is one of the world's premier arenas for political speech, discussion and debate. Located at the heart of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, the Forum regularly hosts heads of state; leaders in politics, government, business, labor and the media; academics; community organizers; and artists.[3] In addition to speeches, debates and panel discussions on pressing issues, the Forum has sponsored television and radio programs, film screenings, and theatrical productions.[4]

Since its founding in 1978, the Forum has hosted more than one-thousand events, seen by live audiences totaling more than 650,000 people and millions more via cable television, teleconferencing and the Internet.

The current director of the JFK Jr. Forum is Carrie Devine.

Prominent speakers at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum

Senior Advisory Committee

The following individuals make up the Senior Advisory Committee of the IOP:[7]

National Campaign for Political and Civic Engagement

In 2003, the IOP launched the National Campaign for Political and Civic Engagement, working collaboratively with other schools and organizations across the country to engage young people. The IOP also conducts research and surveys into the political views of America's young voters. In addition, the Institute offers conferences for new members of Congress and new mayors, and, after each Presidential election since 1972, brings together top campaign officials to analyze the race in the "Campaign for President" series.[8]

Harvard Public Opinion Project

Founded in 2000, the Harvard Public Opinion Project (HPOP) aims to track young Americans' (18- to 29-year-olds) attitudes toward politics and public service. Undergraduate members, in conjunction with the IOP's Director of Polling, John Della Volpe, conduct the largest national survey of the Millennial generation. These take the form of a tracking poll in the fall and a more comprehensive poll in the spring. After analyzing the data, the committee shares its findings in a nationally covered media release.[9]

Fellows & Study Groups

The Fellows and Study Groups program represents a unique opportunity for political practitioners with diverse experiences and viewpoints to spend a semester at Harvard. Fellows interact with students, participate in the intellectual life of the community, and pursue individual studies or projects. The Fellows program is central to the Institute's dual commitments to encourage student interest in public life and to develop ways for the academic and political communities to learn from each other.

Harvard Political Review

The IOP is also home to and publishes the Harvard Political Review (HPR).[10] The HPR is a quarterly, non-partisan journal of political affairs, written, edited, and managed entirely by Harvard College undergraduates.

See also


  1. "Founding". Harvard Institute of Politics. Harvard University. n.d. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  2. "About Us". Harvard Institute of Politics. Harvard University. n.d. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  3. Kumar, Prateek. "IOP Panelists Simulate Oil Shock." The Harvard Crimson, April 29, 2008.
  4. Aguero, Edward. "Edwards Kicks Off 'Hardball' Series at IOP." The Harvard Crimson, October 14, 2003.
  5. http://forum.iop.harvard.edu/content/public-address-his-excellency-juan-manuel-santos-calderon/ A Public Address by His Excellency Juan Manuel Santos Calderón
  6. http://forum.iop.harvard.edu/content/avoiding-oil-curse-case-norway/ Avoiding the Oil Curse: The Case of Norway
  7. "Senior Advisory Committee". Harvard Institute of Politics. Harvard University. n.d. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  8. 2012 Campaign Decision Makers Conference
  9. http://iop.harvard.edu/youth-poll
  10. ISSN 0090-1032; OCLC 1784689
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