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Bill de Blasio to Join Harvard Institute of Politics as Fall 2022 Visiting Fellow

Bill de Blasio, right, pictured at a Harvard Institute of Politics forum in 2019, will serve as a visiting fellow at the IOP this fall.
Bill de Blasio, right, pictured at a Harvard Institute of Politics forum in 2019, will serve as a visiting fellow at the IOP this fall. By Naomi S. Castellon-Perez
By Miles J. Herszenhorn, Crimson Staff Writer

UPDATED: August 24, 2022, at 1:41 p.m.

Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will join the Harvard Institute of Politics as a visiting fellow for the fall 2022 semester, the IOP announced Wednesday morning.

De Blasio will visit the IOP several times throughout the semester to participate in events and programming during his visiting fellowship, joining the IOP’s cohort of seven resident fellows in the fall.

De Blasio will also serve as a leadership fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health during the second half of the fall semester, the school announced Wednesday.

De Blasio’s fellowships will be a homecoming: A lifelong Red Sox fan, he was raised in Cambridge and graduated high school from Cambridge Rindge and Latin.

“I am happy to join the IOP to help inspire our nation’s next generation of leaders to find ways to serve in politics and public service, and to build a government that serves working people,” he said in the press release.

IOP Interim Director Setti D. Warren celebrated de Blasio’s appointment as a visiting fellow.

“Mayor de Blasio’s decades of experience in local government, federal agencies, national campaigns, and running the largest city in the country will provide invaluable insight to our students and the Harvard community,” Warren said in the press release. “We are excited to welcome Mayor de Blasio to campus as we look for pathways forward on the challenges facing our democracy.”

De Blasio, who led New York City through the Covid-19 pandemic, will also teach a course on leadership and public service at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Former Boston Mayor Kim M. Janey, who led Boston for eight months during the pandemic before losing a bid for a full term in 2021, will also serve as a senior leadership fellow at the School of Public Health in the fall. She recently headlined the IOP’s spring 2022 cohort of resident fellows.

Harvard School of Public Health Dean Michelle A. Williams said in a statement that de Blasio and Janey both had the “distinction of leading during one of the toughest challenges in public health — the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Their insights and their mentorship will be tremendously helpful to students who aspire to public office, as well as to those who are looking to lead in other sectors,” Williams said.

De Blasio served two terms as mayor of New York City between 2014 and 2021. He was ineligible to run for a third term in 2021 due to term limits.

Since then, he has struggled in electoral politics.

He launched a failed bid for president in the 2020 election, ending his campaign just four months after he entered the race. Earlier this year, de Blasio ran in the Democratic primary for New York’s 10th congressional district, but dropped out of the race just two months later.

“Time for me to leave electoral politics and focus on other ways to serve,” de Blasio wrote in a July tweet announcing the end of his congressional campaign.

De Blasio said in an interview Wednesday that hopes to impress upon students at the IOP that serving in public office can be a “life-affirming experience” and that they have the potential to make a “huge impact.”

“As difficult as this moment is — and it’s extraordinarily difficult — the answer is to engage more, not less,” de Blasio said. “And to recognize that the tremendous potential for change always exists.”

During his time at Harvard, De Blasio said he “absolutely” intends to watch a baseball game at Fenway Park.

“The Harvard-Yale game cuts both ways in our family,” said de Blasio, whose father and son both attended Yale University. “So it’s a complicated situation.”

“But Red Sox-Yankees is never complicated for me,” he said.

—Staff writer Miles J. Herszenhorn can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MHerszenhorn.

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