A message from Dean Douglas Elmendorf and Associate Dean Debra Isaacson

Dear Harvard Kennedy School Community,
We are deeply saddened to share the news that Rodrigo Ventocilla MPA/ID 2023 has passed away. Rodrigo died in Bali, Indonesia, after arriving there to vacation with his spouse. He was planning to return to Cambridge at the end of this month for his second year of study at Harvard Kennedy School. Harvard is in contact with Rodrigo’s family to provide support during this immensely difficult time.
Rodrigo had just concluded a summer internship in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he was helping to implement a strategy for gender equity and social inclusion as part of the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator program. With support from the Women and Public Policy Program, Rodrigo sought to enable greater access to economic opportunities for marginalized youth.
Rodrigo came to Harvard with a resolve to create positive change within his communities. At the Kennedy School, he was a beloved member of the BIPOC and LGBTQ communities and organized opportunities to bring people closer together.
Before arriving at the Kennedy School, Rodrigo served as advisor to the executive director of the Bicentennial Schools Project in Lima, Peru, which was created to close educational infrastructure gaps and promote higher quality schools. Previously, he served as public budget specialist for the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Peru. Rodrigo received his BA in economics from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú.
Rodrigo’s passing is a devastating loss for his family and friends, for all of us at the Kennedy School, and for the many people whom he undoubtedly would have served after graduation. Students in need of support can contact the 24-hour CAMHS Cares support line at 617-495-2042. Staff and faculty seeking support can contact Harvard’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by calling 877-EAP-HARV (877-327-4278).
In the days ahead we will share information on a gathering in memory of Rodrigo.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Rodrigo’s family in Peru and with the many people who cared about him in the Kennedy School community and beyond.

Doug Elmendorf, Dean, and Debbie Isaacson, Senior Associate Dean for Degree Programs and Student Affairs