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Institute of Politics Elects First Director of Diversity and Outreach

{image id=1319374 size=large byline=true caption="The Institute of Politics"}

The Harvard Institute of Politics will add a Director of Diversity and Outreach to its student advisory committee next year, the Institute announced Tuesday.

Jasmine N. Hyppolite ’21 will serve as the IOP’s first Diversity and Outreach Director, according to a release sent by the IOP executive team. Hyppolite was voted into office during the first meeting of the 2019 student advisory committee, a team of College students who lead the IOP’s programming for undergraduates.

IOP President Anna L. Duffy ’21 wrote in an email Thursday that the position was established in response to students’ concerns about people from historically underrepresented backgrounds not feeling welcome at the Institute. The two met with leaders of College affinity groups after their election and are “better informed of the concerns that students have with the Institute of Politics,” Duffy said.

“The Institute of Politics must solidify meaningful relationships with cultural affinity groups, advocacy groups, and other identity affirming groups on campus,” Duffy wrote. “This means moving beyond sending pubs over their respective listserves about upcoming events towards a future where collaborations and sustained partnerships are the norm.”

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Hyppolite wrote in an email Thursday that her goal is to “cultivate a sense of belonging” within the IOP for students of “all backgrounds, concentrations, and exposure to politics.”

“I had hoped that through the position I would be able to encourage a broader and more diverse spectrum of politics to be represented at the Institute while giving students the opportunity to see people similar to themselves in such a powerful space,” Hyppolite wrote.

Hyppolite wrote that in her new role, she hopes to encourage people from all places and experiences within politics to join the IOP.

“On top of increasing representation of marginalized and underrepresented backgrounds at the IOP, as Director of Diversity and Outreach, my main goal is to shift the perception of the IOP from being a place to discuss what one already knows to a place of learning and acceptance,” Hyppolite wrote. “The IOP needs to be accessible to students who are well versed in politics as well as students who are curious and simply have the will to learn.”

Duffy wrote the IOP is planning a recruiting event with several cultural affinity groups next year. She added that Hyppolite will lead discussions about the “cultural, racial, professional and ideological diversity of the Fellows classes and guests of the IOP.”

“Continued communication is vital [to] the IOP’s ability to remain a dynamic and exciting space for politics and public service for all,” Duffy wrote.

This addition comes after the IOP elected last month the first all-female executive board in over a decade. The Kennedy School, where the IOP is located, has come under fire in recent years for the lack of diversity in its faculty as well as its fellows and high-profile guests.

Duffy wrote the Institute of Politics has an important role in increasing the diversity of American politics in the future.

“As an organization of young and innovative leaders, the Institute of Politics is in a unique position to rethink the future face of American politics, and to ensure that this face is truly representative of the various identities of all Americans,” Duffy wrote.

—Staff writer Alexandra A. Chaidez can be reached at alexandra.chaidez@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @a_achaidez.

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