Institute of Politics

From David

When I first arrived on this campus as a college student in the early 1970s, it was in another turbulent time. The nation was bitterly divided by race and class; war and scandal; and young people were leading the movement for change and reform.

Yet, with all of this ferment, UChicago felt maddeningly removed from the events swirling around it. The Life of the Mind was alive and well, but for students like me, eager to engage with the world around us, the campus offered little opportunity to connect and few forums for honest, open discussions about the challenging issues of the day.

Forty years later, I helped launch the non-partisan UChicago Institute of Politics to bring to campus what I so missed – an extracurricular program where students could explore issues with practitioners from across the political spectrum and find opportunities to engage in the work of our democracy.

Visit the IOP on a given day and you might find a senator or community activist; a diplomat, journalist, or political organizer who will challenge or inspire you – and probably be challenged and inspired by you, as well! You’ll find people with whom you agree, and probably some with whom you won’t. You’ll find people – some well-known and some well-known only in their communities – who are not just cursing the darkness but shedding light through their works.

This is another turbulent time. Our communities, country, and world are rife with challenge and division. But I leave campus hopeful every day because of the passion and purpose I witness in the students who pass through the doors of the IOP. If you are new here, I hope you’ll attend our events, Fellows seminars and explore our civic engagement and career development programs.

Our democracy depends on engaged citizens. I hope you will come by the IOP and get involved.

We need you!

David Axelrod

From Zeenat

Welcome! So many of you feel the call to engage with your communities in a deep and lasting way, to commit to something larger than yourself. We are here to help you figure out how.

Throughout my life, I’ve felt the same. I got into public service work not knowing exactly how I wanted to serve but knowing that I wanted to contribute something of myself in service of others.

In this moment, the challenges to democracy are great, and will require the commitment and dedication of every one of us.

Please join us.

Zeenat Rahman

The Axe Files

David Axelrod, our founder and director, brings you The Axe Files, a series of revealing interviews with key figures in the political world. Go beyond the soundbites and get to know some of the most interesting players in politics.

Latest Episode

Ep. 479 —Bianna Golodryga

Feb 24, 2022 65 min

Growing up in Texas, Bianna Golodryga begged her immigrant parents to avoid speaking Russian in front of her friends for fear of not fitting in. She soon came to appreciate her background, becoming fluent in Russian and pursuing a degree in Russian/East European and Eurasian studies. Bianna, now a CNN senior global affairs analyst, joined David to discuss how watching CNBC with her father led to a career in journalism, the rapidly evolving Ukraine-Russia crisis, and how Russian President Vladimir Putin’s views have changed in recent years.


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