David Axelrod to announce new institute for study of politics today

The new University of Chicago Institute of Politics will provide internships and host speakers, among other services.

By William Wilcox

An expansive new institute at the University aimed at providing students with pragmatic experience in politics will be announced this afternoon by former White House adviser David Axelrod (A.B. ’76), he told the Maroon on Monday.

The University of Chicago Institute of Politics will try to establish a practical approach to the study of politics through internships in politics and communications, Axelrod said, as well as opportunities for high-profile professionals from a range of political fields to connect with students. The Institute will be open to students from all divisions of the University, but will be under the purview of the College and the Harris School of Public Policy.

Axelrod will serve as the director of the Institute when it officially launches next January, and he said that he plans to spend approximately 20 hours a week on campus working with students and faculty to develop the institute.

A longtime Democrat who served as senior adviser to President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2011, Axelrod stressed that the Institute will be non-partisan.

“To me, this is not to proselytize from one point of view or the other; the only point of view I’m trying to get across is that it is vitally important for young people to be involved in public life,” Axelrod said. “And so whether you’re Republican or Democrat or an Independent, I just want to fire an interest in involvement and hopefully we will.”

Axelrod will lay out the details of the Institute just before the start of a panel discussion at the International House Assembly Hall that will focus on the 2012 presidential election. Journalist George Stephanopoulos will moderate the panel, which will comprise Mayor Rahm Emanuel, television host Rachel Maddow, consultant Alex Castellanos, and New York Times columnist and future Institute board member David Brooks (A.B. ’83).

Full coverage of the announcement will be in Friday’s edition of the Maroon.