Congressional staffers interacted with Hoover fellows and learned about a wide array of policy perspectives at a recent workshop.
Now in its second year, the Stuart Family Congressional Fellowship Program drew twenty-three staffers from Congress to the Stanford campus during April 3–5. With applications to the program almost doubling since last year, the selected attendees reflected a diversity in party affiliation, job functions, and areas of expertise.
Like other Hoover programs for media and policy professionals, including media roundtables and policy boot camps, congressional fellows in this particular program visited Hoover to meet with fellows and leadership. They primarily participated in educational briefings from scholars about issues driving policy initiatives on Capitol Hill.
Mike Franc—director of Hoover’s Washington, DC programs, which administers the fellowship —said, “The strength of our fellows is in providing thought leaders and frontline legislative staffers with research, perspectives, and discussions that can help shape and guide national policy on an array of issues.”
The Hoover Institution, Franc added, is uniquely positioned to offer such seminars that often delve into the scholars' policy research on a wide selection of topics while keeping in line with Hoover's mission.
This year’s roundtable included Hoover fellows George P. Shultz, John B. Taylor, William J. Perry, Abbas Milani, Michael McFaul, Toomas Henrik Ilves, David Brady, Kiron K. Skinner, Andrew Grotto, Larry Diamond, Edward P. Lazaer, Caroline Hoxby, Alice Hill, and Herb Lin.
Lin, along with Ilves and Grotto, spoke on the “Next Steps in Defending US Democracy” and said, “Congressional staff are key players in the legislative process. If you cannot convince them, you cannot convince their bosses.”
Other topics covered over the three-day event included the North Korean nuclear program, recent protests in Iran, Cold War 2.0, climate and environmental policies, economic policies, political polarization, national security and artificial intelligence, liberal democracy, and education.
Ashok Pinto—who attended last year’s event and is the Republican chief investigative counsel for the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation—described the fellowship program as a rare opportunity to engage in dialogue with leading scholars and policy makers.
“Hoover’s tremendous expertise and resources provide congressional staff with the tools necessary to improve our society. I really benefited from the experience and would encourage fellow staff to apply,” Pinto said.
In addition to the roundtable discussions, the Congressional fellows toured Hoover’s Library & Archives and saw firsthand how the institution is uniquely documenting the political, social, and economic changes of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
For more information, visit the Stuart Family Congressional Fellowship Program.
Clifton B. Parker, Hoover Institution: 650-498-5204, cbparker [at] stanford.edu