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February 07, 2017

Professor Joe Biden to lead Penn's new diplomacy center

Universities Politicians
020717_PennBidenGutmann Source/University of Pennsylvania

Former Vice President Joe Biden and University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann.

The University of Pennsylvania announced Tuesday that former Vice President Joe Biden has been named the Benjamin Franklin Presidential Practice Professor and will lead the newly founded Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington, D.C.

Late last year, reports surfaced that Biden planned to "set up shop" at Penn at the conclusion of his second term as vice president in the Obama administration. In Washington, the Penn Biden Center will focus primarily on diplomacy, foreign policy and national security, but Biden will also have an office at Penn's campus in University City.

“Joe Biden is one of the greatest statesmen of our times,” Penn President Amy Gutmann said. “In his distinguished career of service to our nation, he has demonstrated a unique capacity to bring people together across divides and to craft constructive responses to some of the toughest and most important policy challenges of our day. His unsurpassed understanding of diplomacy and far-ranging grasp of world issues make him an ideal fit to further Penn's global engagement."

As the Benjamin Franklin Presidential Practice Professor, Biden will hold joint appointments in the Annenberg School for Communication and the School of Arts and Sciences, with a secondary affiliation with the Wharton School.

“At Penn, I look forward to building on the work that has been a central pillar of my career in public office: promoting and protecting the post-WWII international order that keeps the United States safe and strong,” Biden said. “The Penn Biden Center and I will be engaging with Penn’s wonderful students while partnering with its eminent faculty and global centers to convene world leaders, develop and advance smart policy, and impact the national debate about how America can continue to lead in the 21st Century.”

Biden's links to Penn include his late son Beau, his daughter Ashley and his granddaughter Naomi, all of whom earned degrees from the Ivy League university. In 2013, as vice president, Biden also received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Penn. He delivered the university's commencement address that year and has been a frequent speaker at campus events.

The University of Delaware also announced Tuesday the launch of its own Biden Institute, a partnership that will focus on domestic public policy education and research. Biden, a graduate of the University of Delaware, will serve as founding chair of the institute as researchers seek solutions to issues ranging from economic reform and environmental sustainability to civil rights, criminal justice and women’s rights.

“Every day of my career in public service has been motivated by the desire to ensure that every American is treated with dignity and gets a fair shot,” Biden said. “I am happy to continue that work at my alma mater, a place that is stamped on my heart. I look forward to working with a top-notch policy staff at the Biden Institute to continue the hard work of developing public policy to benefit American families.”