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Former Iowa Gov. Vilsack To Be A Fellow At Harvard's Politics Institute

This story was written by LAUREN D. KIEL, Harvard Crimson

The former governor of Iowa, a retired CIA officer, and Pakistan's former ambassador to the U.S. are among those who have been selected to serve as fellows at the Institute of Politics (IOP) this fall, according to an announcement made by the IOP this week.

Former governor and Democratic presidential candidate Tom Vilsack, former Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Collection Mary Margaret Graham, and former Pakistani ambassador Maleeha Lodhi are three of the six fall fellows, who were selected by a group of IOP students and administrators.

"It's an eclectic, balanced, thoughtful group that in an election year is going to galvanize the students at the institute," IOP director Jim Leach, a former congressman from Iowa, said in an interview.

The fellows will spend a semester on campus, during which time they will each lead a study group centered on a specific topic. Nicco A. Mele, the former webmaster for Howard Dean's presidential campaign, will lead a group examining technology in presidential campaigns.

"I'm looking forward to working with the undergraduates at Harvard," Mele said. "Their observations on technology and politics are going to be insightful given that they are digital natives."

Alex Castellanos, who served as a senior strategist for the presidential campaign of former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, and Jennifer Donahue, the political director for the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, will also serve as fellows.

Leach said the program is beneficial for the fellows because it allows them to take classes at the University, do research, and work with other campus groups during their time at Harvard. The interactions between the students and the fellows are the primary focus of the fellows program.

"One goal is to give Harvard undergraduates the sense for practitioners of politics and a sense for how things operate in the practical world of governance," Leach said.

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