Penn Washington to house the University’s engagement in D.C.

Vice Provost for Global initiatives Ezekiel J. Emanuel will serve as the initial faculty director of Penn Washington, and the new Penn Franklin Initiative is introduced.

The U.S. capital building in Washington, D.C.
Image: iStock/blanscape

Interim President J. Larry Jameson and Provost John L. Jackson Jr. today announced the creation of Penn Washington, a physical and programmatic home for the University of Pennsylvania’s engagement in the nation’s capital. Penn Washington will enrich the connection between federal and global policy makers and Penn faculty, students, and staff; expand educational and academic programs connected to Washington; identify and promote opportunities for Penn scholarship to inform and engage policy; and reinforce the essential contributions that Penn can make to the structure and function of democracy and global affairs.

In announcing the initiative, Jameson reflected that the new program embodies the directions and imperatives of the University’s strategic framework, In Principle and Practice, “to address Truth, Trust, and Democracy as one of the great challenges that command our attention, to deepen connections with neighbors and the world, and to foster leadership and service.” 

Under the umbrella Penn Washington, the University has also launched the Penn Franklin Initiative, a new set of programs to focus on domestic policy through curriculum, scholarship, and convenings. Located at 101 Constitution Ave., NW, adjacent to the Capitol, Penn Washington will bring together the new Penn Franklin Initiative with the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy & Global Engagement, and serve as a hub for other ongoing and new school and center initiatives, annual lectures, student courses, executive education, research opportunities, and events. 

Penn Washington will collaborate with faculty from all 12 Penn schools on activities and programs to generate new insight and knowledge. Vice Provost for Global Initiatives Ezekiel J. Emanuel will serve as the initial faculty director, with Associate Vice Provost Amy Gadsden as deputy director. 

“Zeke has an inside knowledge of Washington that is exceptionally strong,” Jackson said, “and his record of entrepreneurship and institution-building at Penn make him an ideal candidate to launch this important new initiative. And Amy has time and time again proven her ability to develop and execute Penn’s strategic initiatives and work with school and center partners to project them brilliantly into new locations.” 

“Penn Washington is set to deepen Penn’s engagement in Washington D.C.,” said Emanuel. “Our intention is to bring the important research that is going on at Penn to the nation’s capital in a more focused and strategic way. Our faculty and students are deeply invested in examining and solving some of the most pressing issues in the United States, be they climate change, AI governance, urban development, youth and education, or America’s role in the world—and Penn Washington will offer a platform for scholars to discuss these issues with leading policymakers. For students, a more robust presence in D.C. will open up more avenues for curricular and extracurricular programs to enhance their studies on campus.” 

“Penn’s schools and centers have many existing touch points in Washington, some of which go back decades. Penn Washington will enable us to support existing initiatives better, while developing bold new ones,” added Gadsden. “Much like we did in building Penn Global over the past decade, the goal here is to deepen and expand simultaneously to better serve the whole Penn community.”