Announcing the Spring 2017 Fellows Cohort

February 13, 2017

By Institute of Politics

(Clockwise from top left to right: Najla Ayoubi, Tony Blinken, Alfredo Corchado, Bob Dold, Jennifer Granholm, Steven Greenhouse, and Shailagh Murray) 

The University of Chicago Institute of Politics today announced seven Fellows who will come to campus during the upcoming Spring Quarter:

  • Najla Ayoubi, human rights activist, lawyer, and former judge in Afghanistan
  • Tony Blinken, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State and former Deputy National Security Advisor for President Obama
  • Alfredo Corchado, award-winning journalist, author, and co-director of the Borderlands Program at The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University
  • Bob Dold, former two-term U.S. Representative for the 10th District of Illinois  
  • Jennifer Granholm, former two-term Governor of Michigan
  • Steven Greenhouse, former labor correspondent for The New York Times
  • Shailagh Murray, former Senior Advisor to President Obama and one of the architects of the President’s digital strategy

“From a former governor to a former member of Congress; from a recent top presidential adviser to one of America’s leading diplomats; from an Afghani judge and women’s rights champion to journalists expert on the American labor movement and drug wars, the IOP is thrilled to host a truly diverse and distinguished group of Fellows,” IOP director David Axelrod said. “We look forward to learning from them.”

While on campus next quarter, the seven Fellows will interact with students and faculty, participate in public forums and, along with guests, lead off-the-record seminars.

Ayoubi, a lawyer and former judge in Afghanistan, has extensive experience in the judiciary and electoral process, which she has drawn on to further human rights and women’s empowerment initiatives. A key player in the Constitution-making process in Afghanistan, Ayubi served as a Women Peacemaker at the Institute for Peace & Justice at the University of San Diego and was Deputy Country Representative for Afghanistan at the Asia Foundation.

Blinken served as U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, the nation’s number two diplomat, from 2015 to 2017, traveling to 40 countries and helping to lead diplomacy in the fight against ISIS. Prior to his post at the State Department, Blinken served in the White House as Assistant to the President and Principal Deputy National Security Advisor to President Obama. In addition, Blinken spent six years on Capitol Hill as Democratic Staff Director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and was a member of President Clinton’s National Security Council staff from 1994 to 2001. 

Corchado, an award-winning journalist, author, and co-director of the Borderlands Program at The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University, has reported for newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal and was the longtime Mexico bureau chief for The Dallas Morning News. A native of Durango, Mexico, Corchado grew up in California and Texas and now calls the U.S.-Mexico border his home. He is the author of “Midnight in Mexico: A Reporter’s Journey Through a Country’s Descent Into Darkness,” and is now working on his second book, “Shadows at Dawn: The Last Great Mexican Migration,” a story about the Mexico within the United States.

Dold, a Republican hailing from a northern Chicago suburb, served two terms in the U.S. Congress representing the 10th District of Illinois. During his tenure on Capitol Hill, Dold led the passage of Lali’s Law, which increased access to the anti-overdose drug Naloxone, and advocated for more local control over education.

Granholm in 2002 became the first woman elected as governor of Michigan and four years later was re-elected with the largest number of votes ever cast for governor in the state. During her time in office, Granholm sought to rebuild Michigan’s economy after the auto industry meltdown and helped the state lead the country in the improvement of job market conditions between 2009 and 2010. Prior to becoming governor, Granholm was Michigan attorney general from 1998 to 2002.

Greenhouse spent 31 years as a reporter for The New York Times, including 19 years as labor and workplace correspondent. Since leaving the Times in 2014, he has been writing a book on the past, present, and future of American workers and labor unions as well as freelancing for the Times, The Guardian, The Atlantic, and other publications. He is the author of “The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker,” which won the Sidney Hillman Prize for a non-fiction book that advanced social justice.

Murray served as Senior Advisor to President Obama from 2015 to 2017. Prior to taking on that role, she was Vice President Biden’s deputy chief of staff and communications director. She joined the Obama administration in 2011 after working as a foreign correspondent, congressional correspondent, and national political reporter for The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.

Since its launch in January 2013 the IOP has hosted 79 Fellows, including former RNC Chairman Michael Steele, former speechwriter for President Obama Jon Favreau, Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report, GOP strategist Stuart Stevens, former Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. Husain Haqqani, and former New York City Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson. The IOP’s Fellows in Residence program is generously supported by the Pritzker Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

For more information about the IOP Fellowship Program, please visit and follow the IOP on Facebook and Twitter.


The Institute of Politics is a nonpartisan extracurricular program designed to ignite in University of Chicago students a passion for politics and public service. Three programs form the core of the initiative: a resident fellows program where political officials, policymakers, journalists and others involved in politics and policy share their experiences with students and others over an academic quarter; an expanded set of policy and public interest internships and civic engagement projects; and a continuous series of public speakers discussing current events and political life.


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