The Sine Institute is a laboratory for university-wide collaboration and an incubator for policy innovation, convening the best and brightest in the public, private, academic, and nonprofit sectors, as well as journalism.
Today’s interconnected world offers an unprecedented opportunity to bring together experts and top scholars in the field with students in research and scholarship to work on the nation's most pressing challenges in a way that promotes common ground and nonpartisan policy solutions. The Sine Institute of Policy and Politics seizes that opportunity at a defining moment for our democracy and the world.
The Sine Institute harnesses AU’s capital city location at the nexus of government and a growing international business center to connect diverse perspectives from around the country and around the world with our world-class academics and research, experienced practitioners in international and domestic views, leaders in business, nonprofits, and government, and the most politically-active student body in the US to make real, lasting change in policy and politics.
The Institute stands apart through its focus on the role of business and the nonprofit community in public policy, the rise of the importance of economic regions in the United States, and international policy issues.
As an incubator for policy innovation and convener of the best minds in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, the arts, and journalism, the Sine Institute announced its 2020 class of Fellows and Distinguished Lecturers. These experts lead discussions and study sessions with students, as well as convened and participated in campus-wide events throughout the year.
On November 14, the Kennedy Political Union (KPU), Sine Institute of Policy and Politics, AU Dems, and School of Public Affairs hosted an in-depth conversation with South Carolina Representative James E. Clyburn. For 26 years Congressman James Clyburn has not only represented the people of South Carolina’s sixth District but has served in many Congressional Leadership Positions in Washington DC. The conversation was moderated by the Sine Institute’s Amy K. Dacey, who discussed with Representative Clyburn his greatest insights and experience from our current political time. James E. Clyburn is currently the Majority Whip, the third-ranking Democrat in the United States House of Representatives. He previously served in the post from 2007 to 2011 and served as Assistant Democratic Leader from 2011 to 2019.
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 seasoned journalist. The gift is the manifestation of the Sines’ interest in making positive change that will inspire future generations of leaders.
“Through this gift we wanted to empower American University to make an immediate and lasting impact at the intersection of politics and policy, increasing AU’s national and international visibility.”
Joining forces, the Sines and President Sylvia Burwell will leverage their shared passion to shape the next generation of leaders.
The Institute Fellows program is a cornerstone of the Sine Institute. Selected each academic year, our six Institute Fellows will consist of innovative leaders in government, politics, journalism, nonprofits, and business. Fellows will collaborate with renowned AU academic, research and scholarship experts, as well as students, to uncover new ways to help theory inform cross-sector solutions. The entire AU community will have the opportunity to learn from the Institute Fellows and the powerful conversations they lead on these issues.
Drawing on their expertise in government, politics, academia, journalism, nonprofits, and business, Sine Institute Fellows uncovers new policy solutions and problem-solving methods informed by evidence and a cross-sector perspective. Each is asked to explore a timely aspect of policy and politics that will benefit from these dynamic conversations.
In our interconnected world, policy changes ripple through our nation at the federal level and have significant consequences at the regional level. Those ripples cross sectors and impact international and national affairs, as well as our local communities. These complex influences are the crux of the conversations to be discussed and debated by Sine Fellows.
Regional influence on politics
Cross-sector perspectives driving public policy discourse
International and domestic policy dynamics
In its 125-year history, American University has established a reputation for producing changemakers focused on the challenges of a changing world. AU has garnered recognition for global education, public service, experiential learning, and politically active and diverse students, as well as academic and research expertise in a wide range of areas including business and communication, political science and policy, governance, law, and diplomacy.
A university-wide initiative, the Sine Institute leverages the university’s intersection of multiple sectors and industries to convene powerful conversations. The Institute engages each of AU's schools and experts throughout campus – including the School of Public Affairs, School of International Service, School of Communication, Kogod School of Business, and the Washington College of Law – to fuel and facilitate ongoing dialogue and debate to gain insights and engender knowledge.