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IOP To Partner with Think Tanks for Congressional Training Program

By William C. Skinner and Samuel Vasquez, Contributing Writers

UPDATED: October 20, 2014, at 5:35 p.m.

Harvard’s Institute of Politics announced Thursday that it would partner with three prominent think tanks to host the 21st Bipartisan Program for Newly Elected Members of Congress, a biennial conference to prepare new members of the House of Representatives for their duties on Capitol Hill.

The IOP hosts the conference every two years to help educate participants, elected in November, on public policy and the day-to-day issues of being a member of Congress. Founded in 1972, the conference has helped educate and prepare almost 700 representatives.

This year, the IOP will work with the Brookings Institution, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in addition to its previous partner, the Congressional Institute, to design a curriculum for the conference.

The political ideologies of the selected think tanks range from liberal to conservative. The think tanks were chosen to appeal to congressional representatives from both sides of the aisle, according to Christian B. Flynn, director of conferences and special projects at the IOP.

“We were thinking about this program and what the new members wanted to learn and who they wanted to hear from,” Flynn said.

The conference typically attracts a majority of incoming members, but this year, Flynn said he hopes to try and ensure that all of the new members to attend.

“We really want us to be seen as the program that every [newly elected] member of Congress should come to,” Flynn said. “I just feel like these organizations bring a lot of credibility.”

Undergraduate members of the IOP will help prepare for the conference.

“The undergraduates primarily work to encourage congressmen to come,” said Kim F. Soffen ’16, chair of the IOP Special Events Committee, which helps coordinate the conference. “We look for undergraduates who are in their constituency and have them reach out.”

This year’s program is set to take place from Dec. 2 to Dec. 5.

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