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March 30, 2015

Edward M. Kennedy Institute For the U.S. Senate Opens with Historic Ceremony featuring President Obama, Vice President Biden & Other Dignitaries

EMK Institute prepares for public opening with Senators, educators and students from across the country participating in dedication ceremony.

BOSTON-March 30, 2015 - Today, the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate was formally dedicated in a ceremony featuring President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Other speakers at the ceremony included Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, members of the Kennedy family, and many others.

“What better testament to the life of Ted Kennedy than this place he left for a new generation of Americans – a monument not to himself, but to what we, the people, have the power to do together,” said President Obama. “My husband loved the United States Senate and the incredible difference it could make in people’s lives,” said Victoria Reggie Kennedy, co-founder and president of the EMK Institute’s Board of Directors. “He thought it was one of the most important institutions in our democracy. And he said many times that the greatest public honor of his life was to serve the people of Massachusetts. And it was Ted’s dream to build a place where everyone could be inspired to feel that same sense of service.”

“We are so proud to dedicate the Edward M. Kennedy Institute today. It represents an entirely new model of civic engagement, using the best of technology to teach the history of the Senate and encourage face-to-face negotiation and debate. The Institute is a reminder of everything the Senate was designed to be — and everything it can be again.” Following the formal dedication program, the EMK Institute held a special ceremony in the Institute’s full-scale recreation of the U.S. Senate Chamber. Led by Vice President Biden, the ceremony brought together current and former U.S. Senators with students from all 50 states. Together, the group made a collective commitment to public service and leadership.

“I am honored to pay tribute to my colleague and friend Senator Ted Kennedy at the dedication of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate,” said Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.). “Ted devoted his life to public service and to advancing the ideals of freedom, justice and human dignity. I can think of no better way to honor Ted’s legacy than by inspiring young people serve their country, and I am very proud to support this Institute’s vital mission of fostering the next generation of American leadership.”

The EMK Institute will enable visitors to step into the role of a U.S. Senator for a day. Every visitor will be given a hand-held electronic tablet to personalize their interactions with the Institute’s exhibits. School groups will participate in exciting and dynamic simulations, reenacting historic debates like the Compromise of 1850 or working on contemporary issues like immigration reform. Visitors will debate, compromise, pass laws—and come away with a deeper understanding of our democracy and their role in it.

“The Institute is dedicated to the nearly two thousand men and women who have served in the U.S. Senate and the thousands more who have yet to serve,” said EMK Institute President Dr. Jean MacCormack. “Using cutting-edge technology, we’re making the history of the U.S. Senate come alive like never before. The Institute is taking civic education beyond the classroom and right onto the floor of our replica of the U.S. Senate chamber.”

Highlights of the visitor experience include: interactive exhibits on the nearly 2,000 Senators who have served in the U.S. Senate; an introduction to the legislative process outlining how a bill becomes law; a summary of active legislation under consideration on the Senate floor today; and the opportunity to vote on vital issues of the day.

Additionally, there is a special exhibit on Senator Kennedy’s accomplishments during his nearly 47-year career as well as an exact replica of his Washington, D.C. office. The EMK Institute is located on Columbia Point in Boston adjacent to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

About the EMK Institute The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate is dedicated to educating the public about the important role of the Senate in our government, encouraging participatory democracy, invigorating civil discourse, and inspiring the next generation of citizens and leaders to engage in the civic life of their communities. The Institute will be a dynamic center of learning and engagement that uses innovative technology to provide each visitor with an information-rich, personalized experience that will bring important historical and current debates to life. To learn more about the EMK Institute, please visit ###

Contact: Natalie Boyle (857) 271-3344

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