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Amy K. Dacey to Lead the Sine Institute of Policy and Politics New Executive Director and Political Veteran to Shape Future of the Institute

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The Sine Institute of Policy and Politics at American University (AU) announced today that Amy K. Dacey, a leader in policy, politics, and civics education for more than two decades, has been named as the executive director of the recently-established institution. The Sine Institute was created to bring together renowned AU researchers and practitioners and the most politically active students in the country to uncover new policy solutions and problem-solving methods informed by evidence from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors and journalism.

As executive director of the Sine Institute, Dacey will convene leaders in conversations on critical public issues facing the nation at the state, regional, and local levels; spearhead efforts to recruit the next class of Sine Institute fellows; and oversee programming and engagement with students, the AU community, and other stakeholders.

“As the Sine Institute brings together diverse perspectives from across the country, across sectors, and around the world, empowering them with the world-class academics and research here at AU and uncovering innovative policy solutions, we are fortunate to have Amy’s leadership.” said AU President Sylvia M. Burwell. “Amy’s wealth of experience is a testament to the positive, lasting impact one can make in public service.”

Established in September 2018, the Sine Institute is an incubator for policy innovation convening the best minds in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors and journalism. The Sine Institute is made possible through a milestone gift of $10 million from AU alumnus, trustee, and entrepreneur Jeff Sine, SIS/BA ’76, and Samira Sine, an advocate for women and children and a seasoned journalist. A university-wide initiative housed in the School of Public Affairs, the institute is committed to bringing together experts and top scholars with students to work on the nation’s most pressing challenges to promote common ground and nonpartisan policy solutions.

For more than two decades, Dacey has managed prominent national organizations, advised leading elected officials and candidates shaping policy and political discourse, and counseled a variety of nonprofits and other organizations. Dacey’s experience includes serving as a fellow at the Harvard University Institute of Politics, where she earned praise from students, other fellows, and faculty for her balanced approach to educating students on issues of policy and politics. In 2016, she was chief executive officer of the Democratic National Committee. She also has been executive director of EMILY’s List and on the political and policy team for then-senator John Kerry’s campaign for the presidency in 2004. Dacey’s experience stretches across organizations like the Service Employees International Union, public relations firm MWWPR, and the nonpartisan National Foundation for Women Legislators. She brings experience in cross-sector leadership, having served on several nonpartisan boards, including the American Council of Young Political Leaders and All In Together, an organization that encourages, equips, educates, and empowers voting-age women to participate fully in civic and political life. Dacey is an alumna of the university’s School of Public Affairs.

“I am looking forward to welcoming Amy to the Sine Institute. She brings a vast network of bipartisan relationships that will benefit our entire AU community, especially our students,” said Anita McBride, Sine Institute board member, former assistant to President George W. Bush, and former chief of staff to First Lady Laura Bush.

The Institute is guided by an advisory board that includes:

  • Michèle Flournoy, former undersecretary of defense for policy (2009–2012) and current CEO of WestExec;
  • Danielle C. Gray, former assistant to the president and cabinet secretary in the Obama administration and current senior vice president, chief legal officer, and corporate secretary for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina;
  • Anita McBride, former assistant to President George W. Bush, former chief of staff to First Lady Laura Bush, and current executive-in-residence at AU’s School of Public Affairs;
  • Deval Patrick, former governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (2007–2015) and current managing director at Bain Capital’s Double Impact business;
  • Frances Townsend (AU SPA/BA ’82), former assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism (2004–2008) and current national security analyst on CBS News; and
  • Philip Zelikow, former counselor of the United States Department of State, former executive director of the 9/11 Commission, and current professor of governance and history at the University of Virginia.