Institute of Politics builds upon successful first year

With 160 internships and speakers of all backgrounds, institute creates opportunities for students

Inspiring a New Generation of Leaders: The First Year

In its inaugural year, the University of Chicago Institute of Politics welcomed more than 150 guest speakers, hosted 114 events, and placed students in more than 160 internships. Here is a recap of its historic first year.


In its first full year, the Institute of Politics brought together leading politicians, policymakers, civic leaders, and students from a wide spectrum of political beliefs and experiences. Led by inaugural director David Axelrod, AB’76, the institute is making new contributions to the University of Chicago's tradition of wide-ranging political debate and inquiry.

Through a combination of public and off-the-record events, the institute tackled topics including the 2012 election, gun control, climate change, immigration, and the rise of women in politics. It welcomed scores of prominent figures, such as former Republican presidential candidates Jon Huntsman and Newt Gingrich; current and former Cabinet members Eric Holder, John Ashcroft, JD’67, and Madeleine Albright; former campaign advisors David Plouffe and Beth Myers; and political commentators David Brooks, AB’83, Ramesh Ponnuru, Rachel Maddow, and David Gregory. The institute’s series of public events culminated in May 2013 with a conversation featuring Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel.

The institute’s Resident Fellows program provided more intensive opportunities for students to engage with visiting dignitaries, who spend 10 weeks in Chicago offering a weekly non-credit seminar, hold regular office hours at the institute’s home, and integrate within the fabric of the University and the city.

UChicago students are then able to put their experiences into practice as part of the institute’s growing policy and public interest internship program. In its first summer, the institute offered more than 160 paid summer internships in Washington, D.C. and 14 other major U.S. cities. In Washington, internships are supplemented by a 10-week program that includes events and career-building opportunities with UChicago alumni.

Originally published on August 5, 2013.