Institute of Politics

Dear IOP Community:

When I founded the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago in 2013, I wanted to bring to campus something I sorely missed when I was a student here years ago—a vital center to challenge, encourage and inspire young people to play an active role in our democracy and the world around them.

Today, that dream has become a reality, thanks, in no small measure, to students and supporters like you. What began as a speculative venture is now an integral part of campus life.

It is hard to believe that we will soon be marking our 10th anniversary! And in connection with that impending milestone, I want to share some personal news: On that anniversary, in January 2023, I will be taking a step back from my role as Director of the IOP.

This transition had always been my plan. I love the IOP but however comfortable and rewarding it would be for me to remain as director indefinitely, I believe strongly that change and renewal are necessary and important. Last summer, we took the first step by naming a splendid new Executive Director, Zeenat Rahman. Next year, the IOP will benefit additionally from the fresh energy and perspective a new director will bring.

That said, I am not leaving the IOP altogether. I never could! In January, I will become the chairman of the IOP’s Board of Advisors and will assume a new post as a Senior Fellow, returning for events, mentoring and any other mission for which I am called.

This is a bittersweet moment for me. I’m so very proud of what we’ve built over the last decade. I am thankful to the university for their faith and support and especially grateful for all the students who have passed through our doors eager to engage in the open exchange of ideas and explore the many ways they can serve. Whatever the IOP has provided them, they have provided me with something even more—hope for the future. What an extraordinary gift!

I look forward to working closely with President Alivisatos’s office in the search for my successor and am fully confident that we will identify a great leader worthy of what we have built.

Until then, I’m eager to continue the work of inspiring-and being inspired by- the next generation of leaders.


David Axelrod

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