Joe Biden launches Biden Institute at University of Delaware

 Biden speaks at the University of Delaware along side UD Pres. Dennis Assanis. (Zoë Read/WHYY)

Biden speaks at the University of Delaware along side UD Pres. Dennis Assanis. (Zoë Read/WHYY)

Former Vice President Joe Biden spoke at the University of Delaware Monday during the launch of the university’s Biden Institute.

The 47th vice president joined UD President Dennis Assanis and Maria Aristigueta, chair of the School of Public Policy and Administration, to discuss his role as chair of the new research and policy center.

“Our goal at the Institute is going to be to establish an intellectual center for scholars, policy makers, activists and national leaders, and our mission is going to be to try to help shape and influence some of the work on the nation’s toughest domestic problems,” said Biden, a UD alum.

Biden, who won’t take a salary for his position, said the institute will bring public policy leaders together to develop solutions to issues ranging from economic reform, to environmental sustainability, as well as civil rights and women’s rights.

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The institute will be led by a team of leaders in the political industry, including his sister Valerie who helped run his campaign for president and vice president .

Biden said the institute will host guest speakers, and hold monthly forums with policy makers. Those involved also will write and create policy, and he said he hopes young students will be fellows on some of the projects.

He said he’d also like the institute to open dialogue about establishing bi-partisanship in government, and be a catalyst for change. Biden said he believes both parties can find a consensus on issues like violence against women, electoral reform as it relates to voter access and environmental sustainability.

“I hope I’m going to be able to attract leading Democrats and Republicans to come and speak to issues, to let the country know there’s an awful lot of good people left in Congress who are being impeded by system that’s gotten out of whack, and to demonstrate we can work together,” he said.

“I’m not suggesting I have the same influence as a former Vice President, even with this platform, as I did when I was Vice President, but I think the public is so sick and tired of the political carnage going on, that if I could sit with a Mitch McConnell of the world before the whole world watching and see how we can interact and get things done I think it will generate that kind of consensus on a local level as well.”

Biden said one of the biggest issues facing the United States is economic inequity, and those involved with the institute will discuss how to lower costs of childcare and college tuition, while not burdening the government.

“We don’t debate it, we don’t talk about it,” he said. “We’re going to talk a lot about it, those kinds of things.”

The university will host a rally on April 7th for Biden to meet students. He said he would like to engage with students as much as possible, but won’t teach any classes.

“I have a staff working for me and with me and for the president producing a lot of data and information, and bringing in people that will benefit the university and its standing and that stimulates significant debate.”

Biden will also have a connection with the University of Pennsylvania.


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