Two women who have just completed their terms as New England governors lead up the team of Institute of Politics’ (IOP) spring fellows announced yesterday.
Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat who gave up her seat as governor of New Hampshire for an unsuccessful bid for Republican Bob Smith’s former seat in the U.S. Senate, will lead a weekly study group.
Just-departed Massachusetts Acting Governor Jane M. Swift, who decided to cede her position as Republican gubernatorial nominee to W. Mitt Romney, will lead a group on a more infrequent schedule.
Other fellows include the head of Ireland’s largest political party, a prominent New York Times political reporter and a leading proponent of civic participation.
This new group of fellows is one of the most prestigious fellows groups to come to Cambridge in years and complements the Institute’s focus on fostering youth activism, said IOP Director Daniel R. Glickman.
“We’ve probably never had a season where we’ve had as many high-profile people at one time,” he said. “One of our goals is to encourage young people to participate in the American political system. I think we’ve hit the jackpot here.”
The fellows, who are selected before the beginning of each term, are split into two groups—resident fellows, who spend their time at the IOP and hold weekly study groups, and visiting fellows, who conduct sessions more infrequently.
Brian M. Goldsmith ’05, fellows selection coordinator and chair of the IOP’s Fellows Committee, said the fellows will address a wide array of important issues.
“I think they each bring something unique and different,” Goldsmith said. “We’re covering as broad a range of issues that are compelling to students as we ever have before.”
Melanie Campbell, executive director and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, said she sees the fellowship as an opportunity to encourage youth involvement—one of the primary reasons she accepted the position.
“Participation is core to our democracy, so young people getting involved” is critical, she said. “I was very interested in becoming more involved in building the bridge between the field and the academic community.”
Katharine “Kit” Q. Seelye, a political reporter for The New York Times who has covered the last three presidential campaigns, plans to lead a study group on “The Invisible Primary.”
“It’s the perfect time of year to examine the candidates,” Seelye said, noting that they are gearing up for New Hampshire in 2004. She said she hopes to bring in as speakers several of the candidates while also leading students on trips to the state.
“It’s a chance to be with young people who are enthusiastic and optimistic and have their futures ahead of them,” she said.
The selection of such high-profile fellows plays into the IOP’s goal of national expansion, according to Goldsmith.
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