Events at the IOP

  1. The State of Democracy: Equality and Civil Rights

    Friday January 22 - 4:00pm


    The Harvard Political Union Presents: The State of Democracy: Equality and Civil Rights

    Friday, January 22, 4pm

    Register in advance for this event by clicking here

    The Honorable Karen Freeman-Wilson ’82: President and CEO, Chicago Urban League; Mayor of Gary, Indiana
    (2012-2019); former Indiana Attorney General

    The Honorable Chokwe Antar Lumumba, Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi (2017- present); Managing Partner, Lumumba & Associates; community activist

    Jorge L. Vasquez, Jr., Director of the Power and Democracy Program with Advancement Project;
    Former Fellow (Fall 2020), Harvard Institute of Politics, Harvard Kennedy School



  2. The State of Democracy: Hyper-connected & Misinformed

    Tuesday January 19 - 5:30pm

    The Harvard Political Union Presents:

    The State of Democracy: Hyper-connected & Misinformed

    Dipayan Ghosh, Ph.D.,
    Co-director, Digital Platforms & Democracy Project, Mossavar-Rahmani Center, Harvard Kennedy School; Technology Policy Advisor, The White House (2013-2016)

    Garrett Graff, Director, Cybersecurity and Technology Program, Aspen Institute; Contributor to WIRED, Longreads, and CNN

    Dr. Nicol Turner Lee, Senior Fellow in Governance Studies and Director of the Center for Technology Innovation, Brookings Institution; Co-Editor-In-Chief, TechTank

    Register in advance for this event by clicking here

  3. Pizza and Politics with Congressman-elect Kai Kahele

    Wednesday December 2 - 7:00pm

    Join the HPU in the final Pizza and Politics discussion of the fall 2020 semester with Congressman-elect Kai Kahele. 

    Kai Kahele is the second Native Hawaiian to be elected to Congress since Hawaii gained statehood. Kahele currently serves as the Majority Floor Leader of the Hawaii State Senate and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Water and Land. Additionally, he served as Vice Chairman of Hawaiian Affairs and a member of the Committees on Ways & Means, and Higher Education.

    Kahele is an 18 year veteran, pilot and commissioned officer in the Hawaii Air National Guard, United States Air Force where he continues to serve as a Lt. Col. with the 201st Air Operations Group.

    RSVP here.


  4. VIRTUAL PIZZA & POLITICS: A New Middle East Pease? Israel, The UAE, and the Biden Administration

    Thursday November 12 - 7:00pm

    Join the Harvard Political Union and the Alexander Hamilton Society for a discussion on recent developments on the peace treaty established between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

    The guest speaker will be Michael Singh, the Lane-Swig Senior Fellow and Managing Director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

    RSVP here:

  5. VIRTUAL PIZZA & POLITICS: LGBTQ+ History Month Discussion

    Tuesday October 27 - 7:00pm

    RSVP here.

    The IOP will be hosting alumnus Dr. Eric Cervini '14, author of The Deviant's War, in conversation with IOP Fellow Chasten Buttigieg. In celebration of LGBTQ History Month, they will be discussing LGBTQ+ history, culture, and politics. 

    Dr. Eric Cervini is an award-winning historian of LGBTQ+ politics and culture. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College and received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Cambridge, where he was a Gates Scholar. As an authority on 1960s gay activism, Cervini serves on the Board of Directors of the Harvard Gender and Sexuality Caucus and on the Board of Advisors of the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C., a nonprofit dedicated to the preservation of gay American history. His award-winning digital exhibitions have been featured in Harvard’s Rudenstine Gallery, and he has presented his research to audiences across America and the United Kingdom. Dr. Cervini lives in Los Angeles.

    Chasten Buttigieg is an author and LGBTQ+ advocate, who received his bachelor’s degree in theater and global studies from the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire and his master’s in education from DePaul University. He has worked as a busboy, dog walker, nursing assistant, waiter, cashier, bartender, and most recently a middle school drama and humanities teacher. He is currently serving as a Fall IOP Fellow.

  6. LatinX Month Pizza and Politics- Policy Making in Bolsonaro’s Brazil and Running for International Office

    Friday October 16 - 2:00pm

    RSVP Here.

    Tábata Amaral and Renan Ferreirinha are two Brazilian politicians, education activists, and Harvard class of 2016 graduates. Tabata is currently a federal deputy (congresswoman) representing the state of São Paulo. She was elected to office at 24 and has been called Brazil’s AOC. Renan is a state deputy representing the state of Rio de Janeiro in its legislative house. The two have co-founded RenovaBR, a Brazilian NGO dedicated to preparing local citizens to become political leaders and helping to elect 17 new leaders in the 2018 Brazilian congressional elections, and Movimentos Mapa Educação, an education advocacy organization working to improve Brazil’s education program.

    Additionally, Tábata has started Acredito, an organization that promotes young progressive politicians who are seeking office for the first time, with a focus on increasing the diversity of Brazil’s national congress. Tabata has been listed as one of the BBC’s 100 most inspiring and influential women and Time Magazine’s 100 Next list. Most recently, she has published a book, Nosso Lugar (our place), on the fight for more women in Brazilian politics. 

  7. VIRTUAL PIZZA & POLITICS: Running For Congress as an open-LGBTQ candidate

    Friday October 9 - 5:00pm

    NEW TIME - 5pm

    RSVP here.

    Council Member Ritchie Torres was first elected to represent the 15th Council District in the Central Bronx in November 2013. As Chair of the Council’s Committee on Public Housing, Council Member Torres oversaw the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) which is the largest provider of affordable housing in the country. In this capacity, he introduced and enacted legislation to improve safety and quality of life for thousands of NYCHA residents. In November 2017, Council Member Torres was elected to his second term and became Chair of the new Oversight and Investigations Committee of the City Council. In this role, he is tasked with investigating matters within the Council’s jurisdiction concerning property, affairs, or government of New York City.

    Council Member Torres is now running for Congress to represent his South Bronx district. His legislative victories include legislation protecting the City’s affordable housing stock; improving mental health resources for the LGBT community; tackling the city’s opioid epidemic; and reforming the NYPD’s daily interactions with New Yorkers. Council Member Torres became active in politics at an early age, first as a fellow in the inaugural class of the Coro NY Exploring Leadership Program, and then going on to work as the Housing Director for Council Member Jimmy Vacca before running for office in 2013.

  8. Pizza and Politics- Leveraging Technology for Government Innovation and Modernization

    Wednesday September 30 - 7:00pm

    Matt Lira
    Special Assistant to the President for Innovation Policy and Initiatives White House Office of American Innovation

    RSVP for a Zoom Link (RSVPs must be affiliated with Harvard and RSVP with Harvard email)

    Matt is currently at the White House Office of American Innovation, where he works to coordinate priority policy initiatives for the office. For the past decade, Matt’s work has placed him at the crosssection of politics, government and the emerging digital economy. With a unique mixture of experiences in Congressional Leadership and national campaigns, he has gained first-hand insight into our nation’s political and governing institutions.

    Previously, Matt has served as Senior Advisor to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Digital Director for then-VP Nominee Paul Ryan and a Senior Advisor to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. In these capacities, he served on the senior leadership staff, participated in daily strategy discussions on the issues facing the House of Representatives and worked to modernize Congressional institutions.

    Prior to returning to government, Lira served as the Deputy Executive Director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee during the 2014 election cycle – successfully defending every Republican Senate seat and gained nine seats, the largest Senate gain by either party since 1980.

    Throughout his work in government, Lira has aimed to forge trust and consensus by bringing people together to find areas where progress can be made. In an era of deep partisanship, his work has frequently earned the support of both sides of the aisle.

    In 2015, Matt served as an Institute of Politics Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, focused on the impact of the digital economy on politics and governance. In 2012, Matt was recognized by Tech Crunch as one of the “20 Most Innovative People in Democracy.”

    Co-sponsored by the Harvard Political Union, Harvard Republican Club and the HKS Republican Caucus

  9. Pizza and Politics with Maribel Hernandez Rivera

    Wednesday September 23 - 7:00pm

    In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we welcome Maribel Hernandez Rivera '04 to our first Pizza and Politics of the Fall 2020 Semester.

    RSVP Here.

    Maribel Hernandez Rivera is District Director at Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Previously, she was executive Director of Legal Initiatives at New York City Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs; supervising attorney at Immigrant Justice Corps; a civil rights staff attorney at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund; and a commercial litigator with Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP.

    Born in Mexico, she came to Texas when she was 13. Her mother is a naturalized citizen and along with Maribel's older brother resides in Houston, TX. Maribel's younger brother is a petty officer in the United States Navy and is currently deployed overseas. Maribel completed a JD/MPA at New York University and the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton. During school, Maribel was an articles editor of the NYU Law Review and a member of the Immigrant Rights Clinic. Majoring in Social Studies, she graduated magna cum laude in her field from Harvard University, where she held a Mellon Mays undergraduate fellowship and a Goldman Sachs scholarship for excellence. At Harvard, she was active in addressing issues of importance to Latinx students, serving as president of the of RAZA and Concilio Latino.​

    After graduation Maribel lived in Marseilles, France as a Michael C. Rockefeller Fellow. She later worked and interned in Mozambique first with the Clinton Foundation and then with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Maribel clerked in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals before working as a Fried Frank/ MALDEF Fellow in New York City where she represented individuals in immigration detention, submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in support of the US government in the Arizona v. United States case, and joined a working group dedicated to increase representation of people in immigration detention.


  10. Virtual Event: Police Reform in New York with Sen. Jamaal Bailey

    Tuesday August 11 - 7:30pm

    On Tuesday, August 11th at 7:30pm ET, New York State Senator Jamaal T. Bailey will join the Harvard Political Union for a virtual Undergraduate discussion. RSVP here.

    Senator Jamaal Bailey represents New York's 36th State Senate District, which covers the Bronx neighborhoods of Norwood, Bedford Park, Williamsbridge, Co-op City, Wakefield and Baychester and the Westchester city of Mount Vernon. He was elected to the State Senate on November 8th 2016. Prior to his election, he served as Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s Community Relations director, after having served as District Leader of the 83rd Assembly District for 6 years. 

    Senator Bailey is a member of the Williamsbridge Branch of the NAACP, and mentors young men at Butler United Methodist Church, where he remains an active member. His aggressive criminal justice reform agenda has figured prominently in the recent call for systemic reforms. In the wake of George Floyd’s death and the ensuing civil unrest, Bailey’s efforts have taken center stage. Section 50-a, the law that shields police disciplinary records, was repealed, an effort to make police more accountable to the citizens they serve.

  11. Pizza and Politics with Tiq Milan

    Thursday June 25 - 7:00pm

    On Thursday, June 25th at 7pm ET, one of the leading voices for transgender equality Tiq Milan will join the Harvard Political Union for a virtual Pizza & Politics.  

    Milan is a speaker, writer and advocate in the LGBTQ+ community and previously served as national spokesperson for GLADD. Milan's work reflects on intersectional leadership, transgender rights and racial justice and ways his personal transgender experience has informed his views on masculinity, race and the gender binary. His work has appeared on MIC, Buzzfeed, and CNN and most recently for NBC News with his piece When Black lives matter, Black trans people must be freed from discrimination and violence.

    Note: This event is open to Harvard undergraduate students. Harvard College students can RSVP to join the conversation here.

  12. Undergraduate Virtual Pizza and Politics with John Pence, Senior Advisor for President Trump's 2020 Campaign

    Wednesday June 3 - 7:00pm

    This event has been postponed.

    The Harvard Political Union's first Virtual Pizza and Politics of the summer will take place on Wednesday, June 3rd at 7:00pm ET with John Pence, Senior Advisor for President Trump’s 2020 Campaign.  Mr. Pence works closely with the RNC to organize the President’s political activities and grassroots recruitment initiatives. Their goal is to build the largest grassroots operation in American history. John also advises campaign operations and fundraising efforts. Prior to joining the Trump Campaign, Mr. Pence practiced corporate law in Indiana and worked in several Latin American countries as a researcher and English teacher. He is fluent in Spanish and often works with the Campaign's Latinos for Trump coalition. His father is Congressman Greg Pence of Indiana’s 6th Congressional District and his uncle is Vice President Mike Pence. John and his wife Giovanna reside in Virginia.