Zeenat Rahman named executive director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics

Zeenat Rahman, the new executive director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics Photo uchicago.edu

Zeenat Rahman, director of the Inclusive America Project at the Aspen Institute, has been named the executive director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, effective July 1.

Rahman is considered a national leader with extensive experience in civic engagement, inclusion and issues impacting young people, according to the announcement on UChicago News.

The Inclusive America Project at the Aspen Institute, aims at promoting religious pluralism by supporting faith and civic leaders in that cause. She is also a globally recognized expert on the political, social and economic issues affecting disadvantaged communities throughout the world, the press release said.

Rahman previously served at the State Department as a special advisor on global youth issues to Secretaries Hillary Clinton and John Kerry; as acting director at the Center for Faith-based and Community Initiatives at the U.S. Agency for International Development; and as director of policy at Interfaith Youth Core.

A native of the Chicago area and graduate of the University of Illinois, Chicago, Rahman has a master’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies (2006) from the University of Chicago. She served as a Pritzker Fellow at the Institute of Politics in 2015.

“I am thrilled to return to the University of Chicago at a time when we must all rededicate ourselves to the project of building an inclusive democracy,” Rahman is quoted saying in UChicago News. “As a Pritzker Fellow, I witnessed firsthand the tremendous talent of UChicago students and their passion for solving some of our greatest challenges,” Rahman said.

The Institute of Politics, in conjunction with the University of Chicago’s Office of the President  conducted an exhaustive national search before zeroing in on Rahman.

“Zeenat’s remarkable life and career is a testament to the ability of committed people to make a difference,” said former Obama advisor David Axelrod, the founder and director of the Institute of Politics, in announcing the appointment. “Her values, experience and splendid example make her the ideal choice to help lead the IOP into the future.”

Rahman succeeds Gretchen Crosby Sims, who served as executive director since 2018.




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