Last night at the Kennedy School's ARCO forum, the Institute of Politics introduced the seven people who will serve as spring fellows.
At the forum, the fellows gave five-minute autobiographies with an emphasis on the origins of their political careers and concluded with brief descriptions of their study groups.
The fellows are individuals who have all "participated in active politics," said IOP Fellowship Program Director Theresa A. Donovan.
As fellows, they will "teach study groups [to undergraduates as well as Kennedy School students], audit classes in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and just participate in collegiate life," Donovan said.
One fellow, however, may not last the semester.
There has been media speculation that former Senator Jim Sasser (D-Tenn.), who lost his November re-election campaign, may be offered the position of Ambassador to China by President Clinton.
"I think any comments on speculation are premature," Sasser said of the rumors. "That's for the President and the Secretary of State to discuss and consider."
Sasser refused to comment on whether he would leave Harvard to accept the position if offered it.
"As Franklin Delano Roosevelt ['04] used to say, 'I don't answer iffy questions," he said.
If Sasser stays, he will lead a study group on "The Future of the Democratic Party," according to an IOP pamphlet introducing the study groups.
One fellow, John Schall, the former associate director of domestic policy in the Bush administration, will lead a study group entitled "The Contract with America: Political Gimmick or Genuine Policy?"
According to Schall, the Republicans pledged themselves to take action within the first 100 days of their power, a period which will end "about the same time as the study group."
The abstract of Schall's group in the pamphlet says the group will "track progress on the Contract with America in the first 100 legislative days of the session," assess "the Republican Party's overall success in fulfilling...the Contract" and examine its implications for the future of the party.
Former Washington, D.C. mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly will conduct a study group on "Preparing America's Cities for the 21st Century."
The other four study groups will focus on topics as varied as the "The Politics Behind the Republican Revolution" and the role of the media in politics.
The reason for having the fellows is clear, according to Donovan.
"They are here to serve as role models, as emissaries, for students," Donovan said. "[They allow us to] bring the practical world of politics [to Harvard]."
The fellows were chosen because they have been deeply involved in the active world of politics, but are in a "period of transition in their careers," said Donovan.
"They were selected on past and future contribution to public life, but they are by nature politicians, not academics," she said. "They will [stay here for the semester, then] rejoin political life."