IN THE HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL MAGAZINE, we showcase the Kennedy School’s alumni, faculty, staff, and students who are making significant progress in addressing public problems. We are very proud of the many members of the Kennedy School community who are working across the world—from Uganda to South Korea to Mexico—but in this issue we focus special attention on what members of our community are doing in American cities and states.
Having spent much of my career as an economist in Washington, D.C., I know that good policymaking by the U.S. government is crucial, and I am pleased that many of our alumni are improving public policy and public leadership in Washington. I am just as pleased, though, that they are making people’s lives better through their work in city halls, state governments, nonprofits, and private organizations across the country.
For example, Bryan Stevenson MPP/JD 1985 is the driving force behind the new National Memorial for Peace and Justice (and the Legacy Museum) in Montgomery, Alabama. He has run the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery for more than two decades, fighting against racial bias in the criminal justice system. In Arizona, Ethel Branch MPP/JD 2008 serves as the attorney general of the Navajo Nation, with responsibilities ranging from enhancing public safety to fostering voting rights legislation. Andrew Deye MC/MPA 2015 works with JobsOhio, a nonprofit organization that helps create jobs and spur economic growth in that state. And Seth Flaxman MPP 2011 and Kathryn Peters MPP 2011 lead Democracy Works, an organization that makes it easier for voters to cast their ballots. These individuals demonstrate just a few of the many ways our alumni are creating positive change: fighting for social justice, improving public services, creating economic opportunity, and enhancing democratic participation.
Our faculty, staff, and students are also working with state and local leaders across the United States. For example, you will read in this issue about the Government Performance Lab, which is led by Professor Jeffrey Liebman and employs many recent Kennedy School graduates. The lab has partnered with people in city halls and statehouses in more than half the U.S. states so far, helping those governments improve the delivery of public services.
In these pages we also recognize Drew Faust, who has stepped down after leading Harvard as president for 11 years. The Kennedy School has benefited a great deal from her leadership. At the same time, we proudly congratulate our new president, Larry Bacow MPP/JD 1976, PhD 1978—the first Kennedy School graduate to lead the University. In addition, we introduce the School’s first associate dean for diversity, inclusion, and belonging, Robbin Chapman. I and others at the School are committed to building an increasingly welcoming and inclusive HKS community, and Robbin will play an invaluable role in this work.
Dean Doug Elmendorf
Don K. Price Professor of Public Policy
Top image: Harvard Kennedy School Dean Doug Elmendorf speaks with students at a dean’s breakfast event in April.