March 18, 2003

U.S. Mayors and Harvard Students to Study Civic Engagement of Youth in Cities
New program will launch in Summer 2003

Harvard College students will conduct a study this summer in ten major cities to find effective ways to engage young people in the political process. The goal of the study, administered by Harvard University's Institute of Politics and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, is to discover innovative programs that promote civic participation among young people to replicate those programs in new cities. The mayors of Akron, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Detroit, Long Beach, Miami, Nashville, and Oakland will each host a Harvard student who will work with the mayor's office to survey local youth programs. Harvard students awarded the Summer in the City internships will meet their Mayors in June at the U.S. Conference of Mayors' 71st Annual Meeting in Denver and then travel to their host city to initiate the study. One Harvard student will work with the U.S. Conference of Mayors to coordinate the program. A report of the best practices in youth engagement will be released in October 2003.

"Meeting the challenges facing America's cities will require the active participation of our nation's young people," said Boston Mayor and Conference President Thomas Menino. "I am pleased that Harvard students will work with mayors to identify successful programs, suggest improvements and help other cities replicate our best practices."

"Our democracy faces a genuine crisis if young people continue to be turned off and unengaged in politics," said Dan Glickman, Director of Harvard University's Institute of Politics and a former Cabinet Secretary and Member of Congress. "The Institute of Politics has joined with the U.S. Conference of Mayors to conduct this study because we believe it is vital for local, state, and federal officials to develop innovative programs to reach out to young people. This is a promising first step and we are grateful to the Mayors for their participation."

The Institute of Politics was established in 1966 with an endowment from the John F. Kennedy Library Corporation to inspire undergraduate students to enter careers in politics and public service, and to promote greater understanding and cooperation between the academic community and the political world. For more information about the institute, please visit

"I am pleased that Harvard's Institute of Politics is partnering with the U.S. Conference of Mayors on this important initiative," said Conference Executive Director J. Thomas Cochran. "I am confident that through the joint efforts of these students and these mayors we will help find effective new ways to engage young people in the political process."

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of the nation's 1,183 cities with populations of 30,000 or more. Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. The primary roles of the Conference of Mayors are to promote the development of effective national urban/suburban policy; strengthen federal-city relationships; ensure that federal policy meets urban needs; provide mayors with leadership and management tools; and create a forum in which mayors can share ideas and information. More information is available at

Press Contacts:

Gordon Li
Harvard University

Andy Solomon
US Conference of Mayors


©2004 U.S. Conference of Mayors