By Valerie Krempus

Asim Khwaja and Fatema Sumar outdoors
Asim I. Khwaja and Fatema Z. Sumar

Originally published on March 6, 2024 on the Harvard Gazette News+.

Harvard University is taking a critical step forward in its commitment to international development this year. Effective as of January, the Center for International Development (CID), a research center based at the Harvard Kennedy School, is now an Interfaculty Initiative with oversight from the Office of the Provost. CID will continue to be housed at the Kennedy School and led by Faculty Director Asim I. Khwaja and Executive Director Fatema Z. Sumar, but will now have formal recognition for its University-wide work.

“The Center for International Development will now officially serve as Harvard’s central platform for international development research and policy work, bringing together faculty, students, and scholars from across Schools to advance Harvard’s work around the world,” said Mark Elliott, vice provost for international affairs. “I am grateful to Asim and Fatema for their vision and leadership and to HKS Dean Doug Elmendorf for his unwavering support, and I look forward to supporting CID as it begins this new chapter.”

CID was established in 1999 as a School-based research center at the Kennedy School. Under the leadership of Khwaja, who was appointed faculty director in 2019, the center launched a five-year strategic plan in 2022 to build, convene, and deploy talent in the field of international development. These efforts have resulted in new student internship and training opportunities, programs welcoming visiting researchers, and research collaborations with development experts across Harvard and beyond. CID is currently home to over 125 faculty affiliates and more than 50 Ph.D. affiliates from Schools across the University whose research is focused on improving development outcomes globally.

“Harvard has talent in abundance, but it is how we support and leverage that diverse talent, how we work with our partners on the ground, and how we collaborate in new ways that will truly make a difference,” said Khwaja. “I am confident that when we work together, we can build a world where all people can thrive.”

CID welcomes all members of the Harvard community to join their on-campus programming. On May 1-2, 2024, the center will host its annual Global Empowerment Meeting, bringing together leading academics, practitioners, policymakers, and philanthropists to share insights and develop action-focused strategies and solutions. GEM24, which will focus on gender and development, is co-hosted by the Kennedy School’s Women and Public Policy Program.

Visit the CID website for more information on their mission, current research priorities, and upcoming events.

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Matt Teuten

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