Harvard’s Institute of Politics (IOP) was established in 1966 as a memorial to President Kennedy and aims to inspire undergraduates to consider careers in politics and public service.
The Institute oversees the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, one of the world’s premier arenas for political speech, discussion, and debate, and runs a fellowship program offering a unique opportunity for political practitioners to spend semesters at Harvard and interact with students.
The IOP also offers students a role in the creation of a nonpartisan, quarterly journal written and run entirely by undergraduates - the Harvard Political Reveiw - and a unique, nationwide survey project of young adults’ political views. Students are also able to participate in the Institute's “National Campaign for Political and Civic Engagement,” a consortium of twenty-five colleges and universities around the country committed to creating more politically and civically engaged campuses. The Institute's Women's Initiative in Leadership, created to address the interest and importance of female students at Harvard in developing leadership skills, strives to explore and understand leadership through seminars and interactive workshops over the course of a semester.
Students are also offered wide-ranging opportunities, including dozens of paid internships for eight to ten weeks during the summer and participation at political 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.