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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 and Past CID Speakers
Spring 2023 Speaker Series
Date Speaker Talk Title
February 3, 2023

Mara 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

Click here to view the event recording

February 10, 2023 

Joseph Asunka, P.hD., CEO at Afrobarometer; 'Road to GEM23'

Climate change in Africa: Exploring citizen experiences and perspectives

Click here to view the event recording

Click here to listen to the podcast

February 17, 2023

Ishac 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

Click here to view the event recording


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

Click here to view the event recording

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

Click here to view the event recording

April 7, 2023

Ana 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

Click here to view the event recording

April 14, 2023 Isabel 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, 2023

Susan Kenniston, Global Head & Vice President of Sustainability at Wipro; 'Road to GEM23'

Register here to attend in-person or virtually





Fall 2022 Speaker Series
Date Speaker Talk Title
September 16, 2022

Alicia 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, 2022

Bridget 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, 2022

Aleem 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


Spring 2022 Speaker Series
Date Speaker Talk 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, 2022

Jacqueline 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, 2022

Debbie 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 ET

Jaya 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, 2022

Robert 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


Fall 2021 Speaker Series
Date Speaker Talk Title
September 17, 2021 Philippe 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, 2021

Dianne 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, 2021

Seema 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

Spring 2021 Speaker Series
Date Speaker Talk Title
January 29, 2021 Michael 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, 2021 Shawn Baker, Chief Nutritionist, US Agency for International Development (USAID)

COVID-19 and Nutrition: Crisis and Opportunity

March 12, 2021 Alix 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, 2021 Priyadarshani 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, 2021

Tara 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, 2021

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

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

Fall 2020 Speaker Series
Date Speaker Talk Title
September 11, 2020 Neil 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, 2020 Amanda Beatty, Senior Researcher, Mathmatica

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

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

The Dual Evolutionary Foundations for Political Idealogy

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

A Temporary Basic Income for Developing Countries

October 16, 2020 Michele 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, 2020 No Speaker Series Events  
November 13, 2020 Asim I. Khwaja, Director of the Center for International Development

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

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

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

November 27, 2020 No Speaker Series - Thanksgiving Break   
December 4, 2020 Carolina 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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