Campus & Community

Presidential speechwriter, former governor to serve as IOP visiting fellows

3 min read

Harvard University’s Institute of Politics (IOP), located at the Kennedy School of Government, recently announced that Michael Gerson, former speechwriter and adviser to President George W. Bush, and Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey and administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), will serve as IOP Visiting Fellows in October and December, respectively. The weeklong fellowships will begin Oct. 16 for Gerson and Dec. 4 for Whitman.

Visiting fellows maximize their time at the IOP by interacting with students, faculty, and Harvard research center staff. Visiting fellows traditionally meet with student groups; lead discussion groups on topical issues and share their experiences in public and political service; and participate in public policy classes with students and Kennedy School faculty.

“We are excited to host Gov. Whitman and Michael Gerson here at Harvard,” said Jeanne Shaheen, director of the Institute of Politics. “Their extensive experience in government, legislative policy, and political communication is sure to create great interest among students and the entire Harvard community.”

Whitman was New Jersey’s first female governor from 1994 to 2001, and was the administrator of the EPA from January 2001 to June 2003. She currently is president of the Whitman Strategy Group, a strategic planning firm, and is chair of the political action committee “It’s My Party Too.” Until this summer, Gerson was a speechwriter and adviser to President Bush (since January 2001). He currently serves as a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, where his work examines the democracy agenda, development, global health issues, and religion and foreign policy. Gerson is currently working on a manuscript on the future of conservatism.

Previously announced IOP fall resident fellows, who have begun leading weekly, not-for-credit study groups on a variety of political topics (listed in parenthesis) include Kishwer Falkner (Baroness Falkner of Margravine), peer, House of Lords, Parliament – United Kingdom (U.S. and British foreign policy after Iraq); James Flug, former chief counsel to U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass. (the Senate as a check on the president); Karen Hicks, former field director, Democratic National Committee (modern campaign organizing); Alan Khazei, co-founder, City Year (national service and social entrepreneurship); Christina Martin, senior vice president, corporate communications, Securities Industry Association; former press secretary to U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga. (“Capitol Hill 101”); and George Moose, former assistant secretary of state for African affairs and career member of the U.S. foreign service (Africa in the multilateral system).

The fellows program is central to the institute’s dual commitment to encourage student interest in public life and to increase interaction between the academic and political communities.