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John F. Kennedy '35 Institute in Government

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The John F. Kennedy '35 Institute in Government is designed to stimulate curiosity about public policy and the desire to serve the public interest.

As Kennedy Institute (KI) participants, students take three KI classes on campus over four and half weeks and experience government in action during a multi-day trip to Washington, DC. where they watch House and Senate debates, observe committee hearings on Capitol Hill, and spend time with officials in The White House and the Supreme Court (pending what is happening and available). In DC, students build on what they have learned in the classroom and get a real insider's feel for politics in meetings with representatives of interest groups, national political parties, and the media.

While knowledge of politics is not necessary for the program, the desire and willingness to learn about politics, economics, U.S. history, and international affairs both in class and in DC is essential.

Note: matriculating and current Choate students who successfully complete the John F. Kennedy '35 Institute in Government program in the summer will satisfy the academic year requirement of PS430HO Political Ideologies for the John F. Kennedy ’35 Signature Program in Government and Public Service.

Current students who are already part of the JFK Signature Program during the academic year may request to take the summer KI course Foundations of Political Thought to satisfy the PS430HO Political Ideologies requirement and should reach out to the Registrar’s Office at to let them know.

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JFK Program Courses


JFK Student 2023

Attending the JFK’35 Institute program gave me a new way of thinking about politics. Whereas before this program I only saw different political issues for their face value, I now understand both the deep political philosophy behind these issues, and the process our government goes through to resolve these issues.—2023 JFK ‘35 Institute in Government Student

JFK Parent 2022 1

My daughter relished her classroom discussions, teachers, DC adventure and new friends. A wonderful summer in every way! —Parent of 2022 JFK Program Student

JFK 2022 2

I chose Choate Summer Programs because I got the opportunity to explore my passion in creative writing! My teacher offered a safe and immersive place to share our writing and suggestions for peers. I also enjoyed bonding with people from all over the US and the world! —2022 JFK Program Student

JFK 2022 1

I tried different styles of writing and stepped outside of my comfort zone to do it. I hadn't written many persuasive essays before, and I did one that I actually really enjoyed. I also met and interacted with kids I wouldn't normally on an everyday basis. Regardless of where they were from, or what interests they had, we all had something in common. —2022 JFK Program Student