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Paul Simon Public Policy Institute
Forward Together

The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute is rooted at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, but its impact stretches far beyond Illinois. The global pandemic of COVID-19 disrupted much of the world and profoundly affected the way we work, interact, and recreate. While many organizations have hunkered down or retrenched during the pandemic, we continued our essential programs and even launched several initiatives that have enhanced the Institute, broadened our appeal, and significantly elevated the stature of Southern Illinois University. 

The Institute remains focused on developing resources and programming that encourages Better Politics, Smarter Government, with a dedicated interest in addressing the challenges and opportunities confronting Illinois. The Institute continues to take part in national debate on leadership and citizenship, while also providing insight into the pulse of the Midwest. We continue Senator Simon’s legacy of supporting the next generation of public servants by offering diverse fellowships, internships, and scholarship opportunities for SIU students. 

Your support and generosity are vital to continuing our programming.

 Institute Priorities

  1. Enhancing our global connections. In April we launched our first ever series of virtual conversations called Understanding Our New World in which we host hour-long discussions with leaders in government, academia, philanthropy, and diplomacy. This program offers you the opportunity to hear insights directly from the experts on what’s happening in our world. We’ve had the privilege to be joined by Leon Panetta, former Secretary of Defense and director of the Central Intelligence Agency; Donald McHenry, former United States ambassador to the United Nations and an SIU alumnus; Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland; Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, IN and current U.S. Secretary of Transportation; and others. In the first five months of our Understanding Our New World series, more than 3,000 people in 41 states and 23 countries listened live to our conversations. Even after the COVID-19 restrictions ease, the Institute will continue this program to complement our on-campus speakers and public events. 
  1. Support Restoring American Statesmanship. The Institute launched an initiative to study, teach, and celebrate statesmanship which we define as inspired leadership characterized by courage, vision, civility, fairness, compassion, and effectiveness. We are committed to studying statesmanship at all levels of government and imagining what a rebirth of such leadership could look like in contemporary American politics. The Institute is inviting historians, political analysts, and leaders from all levels of government to come to campus and discuss the challenges of statesmanship. Last spring we published Restoring American Statesmanship: A Citizen’s Guide, which analyzes examples of statesmanship including citizen and civic engagement. 
  2. Renewing Illinois. In 2019 the Institute launched the Renewing Illinois Summit for university students to discuss the difficulties confronting Illinois and to develop strategies to revitalize the Prairie State.  To complement this initiative, the Institute launched Illinois 101, a reading program that identifies important books about Illinois.  We also created Meet the Mayor, a virtual series in which Illinois mayors discuss their careers, communities, and the challenges they face during this turbulent time.
  3. Make a difference in the life of a student Saluki. Supporting any of our student scholarships (see full list) allows the Institute to reward outstanding SIU students, who have an interest in public service, for their achievements.
  4. Help Saluki’s gain professional experience. The Institute offers eight competitive internships (see full list) in both Carbondale and Springfield that give SIU students the chance to learn directly from leaders in public policy. This year, SIU students are still able to take part in these internships through hybrid or virtual opportunities. 
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