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Cambridge, MA – The Forum at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, marking its 25th anniversary as host to some of the world’s most prominent political speakers, was renamed in honor of John F. Kennedy Jr. today, in a ceremony attended by numerous members of the Kennedy family, the Harvard community, and other dignitaries. John F. Kennedy Jr. was an active member of the Institute of Politics’ Senior Advisory Committee for 15 years and a regular participant in Forum events.
Senator Edward M. Kennedy, addressing the ceremony, said, “The School of Government and that very special part of it called The Institute of Politics is the memorial that would have meant the most to my brother,” “From the beginning a generation ago, the IOP had a powerful hold on our family, and especially as it gradually came to be the place where Jack’s son John found he could almost hear his father’s voice, calling us all to serve our country. It is fitting that this special place, where he felt that the vital effort to make democracy better was being made so well, will now be named in his honor.”
“John loved nothing more than discussing ideas and the issues of the day. He was inspired by the conversations that took place in this Forum, and this is a wonderful tribute to him,” said Caroline Kennedy.
The John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum is Harvard’s premier venue for political speech, discussion and debate, and the Kennedy School of Government’s primary site for hosting distinguished public speakers. Since its inception in 1978, the Forum has hosted more than 2,000 events, seen live by audiences totaling more than 600,000 people and millions more via the Internet.
To mark its 25th anniversary and renaming, the Forum has recently undergone a major renovation, integrating updated technology and lighting with new staging, interiors and carpeting. ARC/Architectural Resources Cambridge Inc., the architects for the original Forum space, designed the renovation.
“The Forum is one of the most prestigious centers for the exchange of ideas in the world,” said Dan Glickman, Director of the Institute of Politics and former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. “Now we have modernized it with state-of-the-art technology to reflect John F. Kennedy Jr.’s vision for this very special place.”
From George H.W. Bush to Bill Clinton; Yitzak Rabin to Yasser Arafat; comedian Jon Stewart to Nobel Laureate and economist Amartya Sen, the Forum hosts heads of state; leaders in politics, government, business and the media; academics; community organizers; and artists. Panel discussions address the most newsworthy topics of the day. Following their address, all speakers are required to participate in a question-and-answer session with members of the audience, a highly interactive and insightful way for students, faculty, and the public to take part in the provocative Forum process.
Recent Forum guests have included President Pervez Musharaf, Pakistan; Former President Bill Clinton; U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan; Former First Lady Barbara Bush; Angela Davis, civil rights leader; George Ryan, Governor of Illinois; David McCullough, author and historian; Jon Stewart, comedian; Arianna Huffington, syndicated columnist; Lou Gerstner, Chairman, IBM; Marc Racicot, Chairman, Republican National Committee; and Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.