Since its formation in 1987, the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute has been devoted to informing new generations of the ideals and achievements of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Through programs, events, and publications, the Institute has made lessons of the past relevant for understanding today’s challenges, with a recognition that some Roosevelt priorities – whether FDR’s Four Freedoms or Eleanor Roosevelt’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights – are as relevant today as when they were first conceived. The Institute has pursued much of this mission in close partnership with the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York.
In 2008, the Institute’s mission evolved as it became home for a college campus network of progressive think tank student organizations. Based in Washington, D.C., this campus network had chapters on 70 college campuses by 2009, with more than 7,500 college students as members. These young people engage important questions for progressives and the nation in domestic and foreign policy at the national and local levels.As the Institute starts 2009, our board and staff are focused on building on the tremendous strengths of the Institute’s merger with the Roosevelt campus network in a way that positions the Institute as a leading progressive institution committed to advancing people and ideas. We will redouble our support for the national campus network and move aggressively to create opportunities through the Institute for young progressive thinkers in their 20s and 30s, opportunities which have previously been far too few. The nurturing and development of the next generations of progressive intellectual and political leaders will be central to the Institute’s mission.
In 2009, the Institute will also begin to engage some of the fundamental policy challenges of our era, core questions for progressives around economic policy, the “war on terror,” and other subjects. In this work, Roosevelt will resemble a progressive policy think tank – but with two distinctive features. First, we will typically be focused on big questions around how to frame and shift broad policy paradigms rather than narrower concerns that often dominate the day-to-day of policy making. With this focus we wish to contribute to bold, progressive change over a generation – working with organizers, advocates, and opinion leaders – rather than limiting ourselves to what seems possible today. Second, we frame our goals for the future in our knowledge and appreciation of the past – the history of progressives in the United States, including the legacies of the Roosevelts but also other periods that provide important insights on current and future decisions.
The Institute has offices in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Hyde Park, NY, where we continue to work in partnership with the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum