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Program Overview (Program Overview)

  • The Harvard Public Opinion Project conducts a biannual poll examining the political opinions and civic engagement of young Americans ages 18 to 29. Each semester, under the guidance of IOP Polling Director John Della Volpe, members of the Harvard Public Opinion Project brainstorm and write the questions for the poll, analyze the collected data, and present the results to the media and other interested parties. Since 2000, the Harvard Public Opinion Project has provided the most comprehensive look at the political opinions, voting trends, and views on public service held by young Americans. The results of the poll have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, USA Today, NPR, Fox News, POLITICO and dozens of other outlets around the world.

    Learn more about the Harvard Public Opinion Project
    View Past Survey Results

  • Citizenship Tutoring is a program which aims to combine public service and policy discussion, specifically with regard to the issue of immigration. Students involved in the program are each matched with one Harvard employee who is applying for US Citizenship. Meeting once a week for one hour sessions, tutors help prepare the employee for the US Citizenship exam. Subjects range from US history to the structure of the American government to recent current events.

    Learn more about the Citizenship Tutoring Program

  • The Harvard CIVICS Program places motivated undergraduates in classrooms throughout the Boston area, teaching civics and government classes to inspire students to take an active role in their communities and grow into participants in our democracy. We focus our curriculum on the function of government, the meaning of active citizenship, and avenues of community engagement. In the fall we teach about the structure of government, the three branches of government, elections, media, and current events. In the spring we teach about rights, responsibilities, community engagement, civil rights, and leadership. We are driven to provide civics classes to a range of communities and socioeconomic backgrounds. We have worked to provide a culturally relevant and empowering curriculum, in order to provide challenging and thoughtful lessons for all students while addressing the civic education gap.

    Learn more about the Civics Program.

  • The Community Action Committee (CAC) helps Harvard students impact the political process by taking action in their community. To this end, CAC is the entry point for community service and direct action at the IOP. Our projects and activities work to empower our community and foster political participation and awareness. In addition, CAC aims to bridge the gap between the various programs of the Institute of Politics by building a stronger IOP community. We work along side other Harvard community service and political organizations and community leaders to offer great opportunities for students to learn about local politics and help their community in the process through various voter registration, education and mobilization efforts.

    The Community Action Committee is responsible for coordinating HVOTE, the IOP-sponsored campaign to get the students of Harvard College registered, educated and mobilized for all elections.  H-VOTE has been in effect each fall since 2002, and includes a massive effort to reach all freshmen on Study Card Day; a House and freshman dorm competition to get the most students to pledge to vote; advertisement of registration and absentee ballot deadline information; creating methods of educating students on candidate and issue information through debates, House events, discussions and activities, and providing students with state-specific information including absentee ballot information, deadlines, and candidate information through our partnership with TurboVote.

    Learn more about the Community Action Program.

  • The Fellows Program represents a unique opportunity for political practitioners with diverse experiences and viewpoints to interact with students, participate in the intellectual life of the community, and lead a not-for-credit study group. The Fellows Program is central to the Institute's dual commitment to encourage student interest in public life and to develop ways for the academic and political communities to learn from each other. 

    Study groups present a tremendous opportunity for students to learn informally from leading public servants, political practitioners, journalists, academics, and more. Organized as semester-long, non-for-credit weekly seminars, study groups are hosted by the Institute's Fellows and other distinguished group leaders. Study group topics range from local to global issues, and are offered in a variety of formats, including project-based working groups, skill-building workshops, and traditional Q&A-based discussion groups.

    Meet the Spring 2014 Fellows
    Learn more about becoming a Resident Fellow

  • The Harvard Political Review (HPR) is a quarterly, nonpartisan political journal and dynamic online platform produced entirely by undergraduates. In recent years, content from the HPR has been featured in the New York Times, BloombergSlate, and The Huffington Post.

    The HPR was founded in 1969 by a group of Harvard College undergraduates who envisioned a publication that allowed students to research, write, and edit political commentary in a thoughtful, non-partisan forum. Since the magazine's founding, the HPR staff has interviewed political luminaries and heads of state such as Presidents Clinton, Reagan, Ford, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, and Mikhail Gorbachev

    Over the past generation, the HPR has incubated some of the best political minds in America. Among the magazine’s alumni are Al Gore, Jr. (former Vice President and Nobel Laureate), E.J. Dionne, Jr. (Washington Post columnist), Jonathan Alter (former Newsweek Senior Editor and Bloomberg View columnist), and Jeffrey Sachs (Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University).

    Learn more about HPR

    Visit HPR website

  • The Harvard Political Union is the premier association for political debate and discussion at Harvard University. Every Monday evening, undergraduates are invited to an informal dinner and discussion event on controversial topics ranging from stem cell research to foreign policy. At the end, members vote on a resolution or series of resolutions that will constitute the HPU’s position on the topic. Furthermore, we host campus-wide debates on particular topics throughout the semester on a regular basis.

    Learn more about the Harvard Political Union Program.

     

  • The IOP Internships and Career Services Program offers comprehensive and exciting political and public service opportunities for Harvard undergraduates and recent alumni. The IOP provides resources to enable students to incorporate their passion for politics into their summer and post-graduation experiences. The Internships and Career Services Program helps undergraduates broaden their understanding of different career opportunities in public service, and  advises and assists them in their job search or application graduate schools in public service disciplines.

    This program collaborates with and supplements the work of the college Office of Career Services by focusing on helping students find public service positions in state, local and federal government, issue advocacy firms, think tanks, political journalism outlets, international organizations such as the OECD, and political campaigns.

    Learn more about the Internship and Career Services Program

     

  • In 2003, the IOP established the National Campaign for Political and Civic Engagement in response to the growing number of college students who were increasingly active in community service yet not as engaged in the political process.  Since that time, we have seen enthusiasm for politics ebb and flow among Millennials; and throughout the Institute of Politics has been committed to working with twenty five colleges and universities across the country dedicated to the mission of developing civic-minded and politically engaged students. The mission is focused in three key areas: engagement in electoral politics, helping students pursue a career in public service, and a foundation in civic education.  Schools in the consortium lead in these areas, and seek to provide and coordinate information and opportunities for their students to become engaged and active public servants.

    At Harvard, students on the National Campaign committee work closely with the National Campaign Ambassadors from the partner schools on joint projects.  Currently, students are working with their local election offices to improve the voting experience for their campus communities, and will create a report documenting their efforts.

    Learn more about the National Campaign Program.

  • The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and the Institute of Politics at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government have created the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Awards to honor young Americans who are changing their communities – and the country – with their commitment to public service.
    The New Frontier Awards are presented annually to exceptional young Americans under the age of 40 whose contributions in elective office, community service or advocacy demonstrate the impact and value of public service in the spirit of John F. Kennedy.

    One award honors an elected official whose work demonstrates the impact of elective public service as a way to address public challenges. This award is known as the Fenn Award, which has been presented annually to young elected officials in honor of Dan Fenn, the Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum's first director and a member of President Kennedy's staff.

    The other New Frontier Award honors an individual whose contributions in the realm of community service, advocacy or grassroots activism have elevated the debate or changed the landscape with respect to a public issue or issues.

    The recipients of the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Awards are role models for a new generation of public servants. They demonstrate the qualities President Kennedy embodied and admired: civic mindedness, pragmatism, vision and tenacity in identifying and addressing public challenges.

  • The Institute of Politics Policy Program is committed to developing relevant, high quality policy recommendations that identify the best solutions to pressing current issues, with an emphasis on cutting edge research and initiatives.  The Policy Program is also committed to developing the analytic, research and writing skills of its members to aid them in their educational and professional endeavors.

    In Spring 2014, the student policy groups will include:

    • Economic Policy
    • Education Policy
    • Health Policy
    • National Security Policy
    • Voting Rights

    Learn more about the Policy Groups Program.

  • A critical mission of the Institute is to inspire substantive and creative collaboration between political and academic leaders, providing a combination of close-up perspectives on events on the ground as well as the latest research and intellectual inquiry.

    Offering access to the extensive resources of the Institute, the Kennedy School of Government, and Harvard University, we tap experienced leaders and committed participants from government and academia for conferences that foster lively exchanges on major issues in leadership and public affairs. We support constructive dialogue on public and political life in annual events that include The Bipartisan Program for Newly Elected Members of Congress, The Seminar on Transition and Leadership for Newly Elected Mayors, and The Campaign for President: The Decision-Makers Look Back.

    We also partner throughout the year with key political organizations, such as the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Association of Secretaries of State, Google, The Internet Association, the Shorenstein Center at the Harvard Kennedy School to discuss timely issues and explore solutions.

    Click here to learn more about the Political Conferences Program
    Check out a Summary of the 2012 Campaign Decision-Makers Conference

  • The Institute of Politics' Women's Initiative in Leadership (WIL) was created to address the interest and importance of female students at Harvard in developing leadership skills. The program strives to explore and understand leadership through seminars and interactive workshops over the course of a semester.

    Candidates for the Women’s Initiative in Leadership must be currently enrolled at Harvard College. Applications are open to all undergraduate women during the first weeks in the fall and the spring. However, space is limited.

    Learn more about the Women's Initiative in Leadership Program