Institute of Politics and Global Affairs to open at Cornell

A new Cornell institute focusing on politics and global affairs – to be directed by former Congressman Steve Israel (D-NY) – will launch in the 2019-20 academic year.

Steve Israel

The Institute of Politics and Global Affairs at Cornell will build connections among stakeholders in domestic and global politics, including political leaders, policy think tanks, the business community, international civil society and academia, said Provost Michael Kotlikoff.

Israel served in Congress for 16 years beginning in 2001. Following his retirement from Congress, Israel served as the inaugural chair of the Global Institute at Long Island University beginning in January 2017.

As a U.S. representative, Israel focused on national security and foreign policy. He was a member of the Armed Services Committee and the House Appropriations subcommittees on defense and on state and foreign operations. He also served in the House Democratic leadership.

The new institute, a unit of the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs, will have offices in metro New York. Israel will teach one class on the Ithaca campus in the fall.

“We are delighted to welcome this important institute to Cornell. It will provide our faculty and students with new opportunities to interact with national and world leaders and policy analysts on contemporary issues,” Kotlikoff said. “Steve’s expertise will foster important dialogue at Cornell, help expand the influence of our scholarship and open new horizons for our students.

“The institute illustrates President Martha E. Pollack’s ‘One Cornell’ vision for developing opportunities that build on and benefit from the complementary strengths of the university’s vibrant campuses in Ithaca and New York City,” he said.

Cornell’s robust network of faculty and programs related to politics and global affairs – spanning several colleges in Ithaca, as well as New York City and Washington, D.C. – will enable the institute to expand its activities. For Cornell, the institute will offer faculty, students and staff even greater access to national and international political leaders and engagement with critical policy issues, Kotlikoff said.

A faculty director will be appointed on the Ithaca campus who will help coordinate campus participation in programming, including a faculty and student fellows program. A faculty advisory board will provide guidance to the institute leadership, according to Wendy Wolford, vice provost for international affairs.

“Working with Rep. Israel to build the Institute of Politics and Global Affairs at Cornell is very exciting,” Wolford said. “The congressman’s years of service in D.C., as well as his wide-ranging expertise and longtime interest in bringing politics and the academy together, make him an ideal partner.”

The institute’s programmatic offerings are still being worked out, Wolford said, and are subject to both interest and fundraising. Initial ideas include programming in metro New York City, Ithaca and Washington, D.C., such as lectures and symposiums by thought leaders in the areas of policy, innovation, politics, journalism, culture and society; fellowships; student internships; global leadership missions; and multidisciplinary research across the university.

“I’m honored to be a part of the Cornell family. Political dynamics in the United States and around the world have become volatile and complex, and my goal is to create a platform for deep and meaningful experiences,” said Israel.

The new institute also will host and co-brand select events on Long Island, New York, in partnership with the Global Institute at Long Island University. This will enable engagement with the Long Island community in critical dialogue and research about public affairs and the world to continue in the near term.

Media Contact

Rebecca Valli