Harvard University’s Institute of Politics (IOP), located at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, was established in 1966 as a memorial to President Kennedy. The IOP’s mission is to unite and engage students, particularly undergraduates, with academics, politicians, activists, and policymakers on a non-partisan basis to inspire them to consider careers in politics and public service. The Institute strives to promote greater understanding and cooperation between the academic world and the world of politics and public affairs.
Led by a Director, Senior Advisory Committee, Student Advisory Committee, and staff, the Institute provides wide-ranging opportunities for both Harvard students and the general public.
Students are offered wide-ranging opportunities, including internships, prominent and diverse Forum speakers, study groups led by visiting and resident Fellows, 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.
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, brings together top campaign officials to analyze the race.