AT HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL we have experienced the most unusual spring and early summer in recent memory—as I know many of you have as well. But despite the obstacles posed by the pandemic, we are pursuing our teaching, research, and outreach with great vigor and intensity.

I am writing this message on the day I welcomed the new mid-career class to the Kennedy School. I shared my excitement about the year that lies ahead and told these students that they, like generations before them, would find their time with us to be thought-provoking, empowering, and inspiring. Indeed, our faculty and staff are focused intently this summer on building new online courses and cocurricular arrangements, and our students are working with us in these efforts.

In our research and outreach, we are helping public officials around the world respond to the pandemic with effective public management, economic programs, social policy, crisis leadership, international relations strategy, and much more. This issue of the magazine features insights from our faculty on what a post-pandemic world might look like, and how we can best protect people’s lives and livelihoods. We are also working actively to help overcome the entrenched challenge of racial and ethnic injustice. This issue offers our experts’ views on race, protests, and policing—how we ended up where we are and what we can do to create more just societies.

Along with the work of our faculty and students, we showcase in this issue the efforts of alumni who are using what they learned at the Kennedy School to serve others. Melissa Hortman MC/MPA 2018 is serving her state as speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives. Taurai Chinyamakobvu MC/MPA 2019 has helped create a website to share accurate public information about the coronavirus while protecting user data. Sarah Bell MPP 2003 is helping central banks deal with economic crises, and Cara Myers MPA/ID 2018 is improving nutrition for children in Mozambique.

At the virtual graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020, I reminded our graduates that their fundamental and ongoing responsibility as members of the HKS family is to serve others. These past few months have demonstrated just how important that responsibility is. I hope that all our alumni—from the newest to those who graduated many years ago—take this sense of public purpose to heart. Our mission matters.

Dean Doug Elmendorf
Don K. Price Professor of Public Policy
July 2020

Top image: Dean Doug Elmendorf talking with students during a Dean’s Breakfast event on zoom after classes went remote this spring semester.