Six new resident fellows, including Christopher W. Smart, former special assistant to the President for international economics, and Annise D. Parker, former mayor of Houston, Tex., will join the Institute of Politics and host weekly study groups this spring.
The fellows—Karin L. Agness, president of Network of enlightened Women; Anurima Bhargava ’96, chief of the Educational Opportunities Section of the Department of Justice; Anne A. Hawley, former director of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; Parker; Smart; and Peter J. Westmacott, a British ambassador to the United States—will stay at Harvard, where they will run study groups for undergraduates, through the semester.
Two visiting fellows—former U.S. ambassador to China and secretary of Commerce Gary F. Locke and U.S. ambassador to Portugal Gerald S. McGowan—will also be at the IOP during the semester. Although they will not run study groups, Locke and McGowan will host periodic discussions when they are on campus.
“The fellowship program is the cornerstone program of the IOP,” Eric R. Andersen, director of the IOP’s fellows and study groups, said. “The idea behind the fellowship is to bring in political practitioners who are at the top of their game and have been highly successful, who can explain, teach, and coach students to follow a path similar to their own.”
The IOP staff and the undergraduate student advisory committee choose the fellows each year. The group received more than 30 fellow applicants, Andersen said.
IOP Director Margaret A. “Maggie” Williams said in a statement that the new fellows are “a dynamic group of leaders reflecting the powerful impact political engagement can have both inside and outside government.”
Agness started the Network of enlightened Women, an organization geared towards young conservative women, while an student at the University of Virginia. Agness said she hopes to work with students who want to start their own organizations.
“My study group is going to focus on political entrepreneurship,” she said. “I want to share with students what I’ve learned starting an organization in college that I’ve turned into a national organization.”
Bhargava said her experiences on the IOP’s student advisory committee as an undergraduate helped inspire her career in public service. Her study group will focus on issues of gender and race in higher education.
Hawley, who was director of the Gardner museum for more than two decades, wants to look at the intersection of art and public policy. Her study groups will range from looking at “how architecture and public spaces create identity for cities” to “how artists produce social change.”
Smart plans to center his study group around the same issues he focused on in government: international economic and finance problems.
“It’s really meant to examine how political leaders work together, try to work together, to support economic growth around the world, even as they have to answer for the concerns of their own voters,” he said.
—Staff writer Nathaniel J. Hiatt can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @nathaniel_hiatt.
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