Image of Dean David T. Ellwood.

Message from the Dean

Welcome to Harvard Kennedy School. By visiting our web site, you are walking through our “virtual front door” – and I’m glad you’ve joined us.

Everyone involved with Harvard Kennedy School is united by a common desire to make the world a better place. Through the HKS web site you can experience the vibrant exchange of ideas, diverse events, compelling stories, and thoughtful analysis and research that happen every day on our campus. By experiencing HKS online, you are here, and you are experiencing the HKS community.

For almost eight decades, our school’s mission has been to train exceptional public leaders and generate the ideas that provide solutions to our most challenging public problems. We are inspired by John F. Kennedy’s famous call to service: “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” Each one of us believes we have a unique opportunity and responsibility to meet the critical challenges of our time.

As we move forward, we are committed to continuing: to reach the very best leaders, while transforming our students’ educational experience through multidisciplinary and experiential learning; to be an incubator for powerful intellectual ideas that have real world applications; and to modernize and expand our campus. One of the ways in which we are expanding our reach is here, online, through the first HKS edX course, through a growing array of digital content, and by inviting you into our community’s conversation.

No matter how you have found your way through our virtual front door, Harvard Kennedy School has something to offer you. If you are a prospective student or executive education participant, consider joining an exceptional community of innovative public leaders. We are the most international school at Harvard University. Our learning crosses the boundaries of nations; of public, private, and civil society; of disciplines; and of theory and practice.

If you're not yet a member of the HKS community, I’m excited that you will learn more about our deeply mission-driven school – its accomplishments, our aspirations, and our capacity to do so much more to solve critical problems facing people across the globe.

If you are an alumnus, alumnae, or supporter, you can witness the impact your ideas, actions, and resources are having. And if you have thoughts about new opportunities to promote service, training, or solutions, I hope you will find further insights here and perhaps work with us to do even more.

And if you are a student, staff member, or faculty member, I hope the HKS online presence can help make your work even more productive and that you will share with us the ways in which we can do more.

I believe that being the dean of the Harvard Kennedy School is the best job in the world. When I experience who our students are and what our graduates are doing, when I see the contributions our faculty and staff are making, and when I contemplate the intense sense of idealism and energy that pervades the school, I am humbled and thrilled. Yet I am struck by how much more each of us can and must do to meet the enormous public challenges we all face. Only then will we have, in the words of John F. Kennedy, “… the unequaled satisfaction of knowing that your character and talent are contributing to the direction and success of this free society.”

David T. Ellwood
Dean, Harvard Kennedy School
Scott M. Black Professor of Political Economy

A Call for Exceptional Public Leadership

Harvard Kennedy School Dean David T. Ellwood outlined the School's goals and priorities as he launched the Campaign for Harvard Kennedy School during the opening day of IDEASpHERE on May 15, 2014. Watch the speech above, or read the speech here.

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