CID Speaker Series

Throughout the academic year, CID hosts the flagship CID Speaker Series, where academics and practitioners representing a wide range of international development perspectives speak on current development issues, their organization’s recent work, and/or their own work experience. The talk is followed by a Q&A session with the audience predominantly composed of Harvard students, although all are welcome. Students play an active role in selecting and inviting seminar speakers.

Spring 2024 Road to GEM24 Gender & Development Series 

During the spring semester, many of CID's Speaker Series events will focus on the theme of gender and development as a part of our Road to GEM24 programming. The Global Empowerment Meeting (GEM) is CID’s annual flagship conference that identifies major issues and ideas that could revolutionize development paradigms but are not yet being discussed in the development sphere. 

The ‘Road to GEM’ programming will precede the May 2024 conference and serve as a launch point to start necessary dialogue and important learnings from the leaders who will be active participants in the conference.


Register here for CID's Speaker Series! This page will be updated as we confirm more events. For schedule updates, subscribe to Weekly Events Email. 

Note: During the 2023-2024 academic year, we will hold both in-person, hybrid, and virtual-only events. Our in-person events at the Harvard Kennedy School are open to Harvard ID holders only and will operate on a hybrid model for the general public. 

Upcoming CID Events
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Upcoming and Past CID Speakers

DateSpeakerTalk Title

February 2, 2024



Juan Sebastian Chamorro Garcia, Hewlett Visiting Fellow for Public Policy at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at Notre Dame

Hope Amid Horror: A Story of Struggle for Freedom and Democracy in Nicaragua

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March 1, 2024Jackson Kaguri, founder and CEO of Nyaka Inc. and 2023 Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow

Bottom-Up Approaches in International Development: The Case of Nyaka in Uganda

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March 22, 2024Nancy Birdsall​, founding president and current senior fellow at the Center for Global Development

Title TBC

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DateSpeakerTalk Title
September 13, 2023Ambassador Chantale Wong​, U.S. Executive Director to the Asian Development Bank 

Opportunities and Challenges of MDB Development Financing in Asia

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September 22, 2023Reshmaan N. Hussam, Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School

The Household at Work: Evidence from a Refugee Camp

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October 6, 2023Marjorie Michel​, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister of Canada

Canada's Feminist Foreign Policy and International Development Priorities

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October 20, 2023

Mandeep Tiwana​, Chief Programmes Officer – Evidence and Engagement at CIVICUS

The State of Civil Society and Civic Freedoms Globally

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October 27, 2023

Kyle Cahill, Senior Director, Environmental Sustainability Disclosure and Engagement Lead, Takeda Pharmaceuticals

Sneha Shah, Senior Manager, Human Rights & Technology at Amazon

Bringing the Corporate "E" and "S" together in ESG to Advance Global Development

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November 17, 2023Bintu Zahara Sakor, a Visiting Scholar at Harvard and Doctoral Researcher with the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)

A Generational Clash? Youth Demography and Political Instability in West Africa and the Sahel

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DateSpeakerTalk Title
February 3, 2023Mara Bolis, Mara Bolis, Advisor at Value for Women. Mara is a seasoned leader with 25 years of experience in development finance, economics, business and policy advocacy dedicated to advancing women’s equality at home and around the world.  

The Dangerous Story of Women and Data: How the Development Community Fails with a "Male Unless Otherwise Indicated" Approach

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February 10, 2023 Joseph Asunka, PhD, CEO at Afrobarometer; 'Road to GEM23'

Climate change in Africa: Exploring citizen experiences and perspectives

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Click here to listen to the podcast

February 17, 2023Ishac Diwan, Director of Research at Finance for Development, Paris School of Economics; CID Visiting Scholar 

What Makes the Looming Debt Crisis for Developing Countries Different

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March 3, 2023 


Valeria Saggiomo, Lecturer in International Cooperation for Development at University of Naples; CID Visiting Scholar

Why do some development projects fail, and others succeed? The importance of “sentiment” in aid effectiveness

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March 31, 2023 Rolla Moumne, Right to Education Programme Specialist and Lead at UNESCO; 'Road to GEM23'

Mitigating the impacts of climate change on the right to education

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April 7, 2023Ana Fernanda Hierro Barba,  Technical Secretary at Consejo Nuevo León

A Cross-Sectoral Approach to Policymaking: how the Consejo Nuevo Leon model works to support sustainable development

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April 14, 2023Isabel Saint Malo, Senior Policy Adviser to the Administrator of the United Nations Development Program; Former Vice President of Panama; 'Road to GEM23'

Towards Global Sustainability Disclosure Standards

Register here to attend virtually

April 28, 2023Susan Kenniston, Global Head & Vice President of Sustainability at Wipro; 'Road to GEM23'Register here to attend in-person or virtually




DateSpeakerTalk Title
September 16, 2022Alicia Ely Yamin, Lecturer on Law and the Senior Fellow on Global Health and Rights at the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School; Adjunct Senior Lecturer on Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health; and Senior Advisor on Human Rights and Health Policy at Partners In Health

Health, Human Rights and Global Development: Lessons from the Pandemic

September 23, 2022 Karim Sarhan, Fellow at Harvard's Center for International Development; Partner at Sharkawy & Sarhan Law Firm

Bringing Development Strategy Back In: New Insights from China, South Korea, and Singapore

October 7, 2022 Séverine Autesserre, Author; Professor and Chair of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University

The Frontlines of Peace: An Insider’s Guide to Changing the World


October 21, 2022 


Milind Tambe, Principal Scientist and Director of "AI for Social Good"; Professor of Computer Science; Director of Center for Research in Computation and Society at Harvard University

AI for social impact: Results from deployments for public  health and conservation

November 4, 2022Bridget Snell, Senior Managing Director, Collaboration and Knowledge at Save the Children US

Transforming & Finding Equity in Knowledge Management for the International Development Sector

November 18, 2022Aleem Walji, Senior Advisor - Strategy, Innovation and Partnerships at the Institute for Capacity Development, International Monetary Fund

Bridging Digital Divides: Technology as a Force for Inclusion

December 2, 2022 Muthoni Muriu, Senior Adviser, Diversity, Inclusion and Shared Leadership at UN Women

The Role of Gender & Inclusion in Development Programming



DateSpeakerTalk Title
February 4, 2022

Meagan Dooley, Global Program Officer at Tetra Tech

George Ingram, Senior Fellow - Global Economy and Development, Center for Sustainable Development at Brookings

Digital government: Foundations for global development and democracy

February 11, 2022Jacqueline Klopp, Co-director of the Center for Sustainable Urban Development and a Research Scholar at Columbia University

Climate Change, Digital Data Commons and the Politics of Urban Transport in African Cities

February 25, 2022Debbie Aung Din, Co-Founder of Proximity Designs

Can Social Enterprises Fill the Market and Public Sector Gaps in Tough Places?


March 11, 2022 


Satchit Balsari, Assistant Professor in emergency medicine at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

 Caroline Buckee, Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health

Data in Crisis - Rethinking Disaster Preparedness in the United States
March 25, 2022 at 11am ETJaya Wen, Assistant Professor: Business, Government, and the International Economy Unit at Harvard Business School

Doing Research at the Intersection of Development Economics and Political Economy

April 8, 2022Robert Lawrence, Albert L. Williams Professor of International Trade and Investment at John F. Kennedy School of Government

Behind the Curve: Can manufacturing still provide inclusive growth?

April 22, 2022 Arsalan Mahtafar, Executive Director at JP Morgan’s Development Finance Institution

Mobilizing Capital Markets Towards Sustainable Development



DateSpeakerTalk Title
September 17, 2021Philippe Aghion,  Professor at College de France, at INSEAD, and at the London School of Economics

 Rethinking Capitalism Post-Covid: The Power of Creative Destruction

October 1, 2021Dianne Calvi, President and CEO,   Village Enterprise

 Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Evidence to Drive Poverty Alleviation

October 15, 2021

Andrew Stern,   Founder and CEO,   Global Development Incubator

Moderated by Brian Trelstad, Harvard Business School

 Creating Impact at a Global Scale for Development


October 29, 2021

Co-sponsored by the Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP) at the Harvard Kennedy School 


Latanya Mapp Frett, President, Global Fund for Women

 Why Feminist Funding is Crucial for Development

November 12, 2021Seema Jayachandran Economist & Professor of Economics, Northwestern University

 Social Norms as a Barrier to Women's Employment in Developing Countries

December 3, 2021

Sharmi Surianarain, Chief Impact Officer,   Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator

Kate Orkin, Faculty Member in Economics and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford

Moderated by   Eliana Carranza, Senior WorldBank Economist and Harvard Kennedy School Professor

Inclusive Employment for South African Youth: Lessons from Harambee

December 10, 2021

Mariaflavia Harari, Assistant Professor of Real Estate, The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania

Moderated by   Gordon Hanson, Peter Wertheim Professor in Urban Policy at Harvard Kennedy School

Cities and Slums Through Spatial Data

DateSpeakerTalk Title
January 29, 2021Michael Clemens & Thomas Ginn, Center for Global Development

Global Mobility & the Threat of Pandemics: Evidence from Three Centuries

February 12, 2021

Philippe Le Houérou, former CEO, International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Moderated by Shawn Cole, Professor, Harvard Business School

Transformation of the International Finance Corporation

February 26, 2021Shawn Baker, Chief Nutritionist, US Agency for International Development (USAID)

COVID-19 and Nutrition: Crisis and Opportunity

March 12, 2021Alix Peterson Zwane, CEO Global Innovation Fund

The Honesty Agenda: Effective Assistance, Women's Empowerment, and the SDGs in a Post-COVID World

March 26, 2021

Sarah Rose & Erin Collinson, Center for Global Development (CGD)

Asim I. Khwaja & Dani Rodrik, Center for International Development (CID), Harvard Kennedy School

Moderated by Rema Hanna, Professor, Harvard Kennedy School

Panel Discussion: Establishing USAID as a Leader in Evidence-Based Foreign Aid

April 9, 2021Priyadarshani Joshi, Senior Project Officer (Research), UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report

The Effects of COVID-19 on Education Systems: Insights from the Global Education Monitoring Report

April 23, 2021Tara Vishwanath, Nadini Krishnan, Paul Andres Corral Rodas, and Daniel Gerszon Mahler, World Bank, Poverty & Equity Global Practice

Fragility & Conflict: On the Front Lines of the Fight against Poverty

April 30, 2021Kate Raworth, Economist & Co-Founder of the Doughnut Economics Action Lab

When the Doughnut Meets the City: Can We Create Regenerative and Distributive Local Economies?

DateSpeakerTalk Title
September 11, 2020Neil Levine, Former Director of USAID's Center of Excellence from Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance

Building the Development Professional for the 21st Century

September 18, 2020Amanda Beatty, Senior Researcher, Mathmatica

Combining Community-Driven Development with Nutrition and Sanitation Training to Reduce Stunting

September 21-25, 2020GEM Week - No Speaker Series Event
October 2, 2020Ananish Chaudhuri, Professor of Experimental Economics at the University of Auckland

The Dual Evolutionary Foundations for Political Idealogy

October 9, 2020Georgy Gray Molina, Chief Economist at UNDP

A Temporary Basic Income for Developing Countries

October 16, 2020Michele Ruta, Lead Economist of the Macroeconomics, Trade & Investment Global Practice of the World Bank Group

Belt & Road Economics: Opportunities & Risks of Transport Corridors

October 23, 2020

Neil Gregory, IFC Chief Thought Leadership Officer

Moderated by Shawn Cole, Harvard Business School Professor & CID Affiliate

Bringing Credibility, Discipline & Transparency to Impact Investing

October 30 & November 6, 2020No Speaker Series Events 
November 13, 2020Asim I. Khwaja, Director of the Center for International Development

A Proposal for a Data-Responsive & Graded Approach to COVID-19

November 20, 2020Jenny Perlman & Molly Curtiss, Center for Universal Education, Brookings Institution

The Millions Learning Project: Scaling Quality Education to Children & Youth

November 27, 2020No Speaker Series - Thanksgiving Break  
December 4, 2020Carolina Sanchez-Paramo, Global Director, Poverty & Equity Global Practice, World Bank

Emerging Evidence on Socio-Economic Impacts of COVID-19 on Households


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