A message from Dean Douglas Elmendorf

To the Harvard Kennedy School Community,

The end of this week will mark one year since the day when many of us dispersed from the Kennedy School campus as the coronavirus pandemic spread. Throughout this challenging year, members of the School community have demonstrated tremendous commitment to each other and to our mission, and we are writing now to convey our appreciation for all you have done.

The past year has been like no other: More than 2½ million people around the world have died from COVID, including more than half a million in this country alone. Distancing and other public health measures put in place to keep us safe have also caused disruptions to education, livelihoods, and the ways we interact with our families and friends. Moreover, the year has laid bare deep inequities in access to healthcare, food, and job security. All of that combined with racist acts and trauma, attacks on democracy and human rights, and wars and violence have shaken people profoundly.

As members of the Kennedy School community, our responsibility is to improve public policy and leadership so that societies can surmount these and other problems and can become safer, freer, more just, and more prosperous. There is much urgent and important work to do. Although the School’s usual ways of doing many things have been disrupted by the pandemic, you have risen to the occasion by reinventing how we teach and learn, how we work, and how we interact with and care for each other.

Thank you for all you have done during this past year. Your personal and professional resilience in the face of tragedy and challenge has supported the members of the Kennedy School community and has enabled the School to continue pressing ahead with its important mission. Your resilience has also strengthened us and encouraged us in our own difficult moments, and we are grateful to you for that as well.

Let us look ahead together to brighter days.

With appreciation,

Doug Elmendorf, Dean
Iris Bohnet, Academic Dean
Robbin Chapman, Associate Dean for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging
Suzanne Cooper, Academic Dean for Teaching and Curriculum
Debbie Isaacson, Senior Associate Dean for Degree Programs and Student Affairs
Christy Jackowitz, Senior Associate Dean for Alumni Relations and Resource Development
Thoko Moyo, Associate Dean for Communications and Public Affairs
Sarah Wald, Senior Policy Advisor and Chief of Staff to the Dean
Janney Wilson, Executive Dean