AS I WRITE THIS LETTER, I am reflecting on the many challenges the world has faced over the past year and a half. I hope that you have weathered this difficult period and that you and your loved ones are healthy and safe. 

The Kennedy School’s students, faculty, staff, and fellows have completed a historic academic year learning, working, and teaching remotely. Their resilience in the face of the pandemic and other obstacles has been inspiring.

Many challenges—stemming from the pandemic and from other public problems—remain in front of us. But there are wonderful bright spots ahead as well. I look forward with great eagerness to our return to campus, which is being phased in over the summer and early fall. With vaccination requirements and other health measures in place, we are well prepared for this return. Students will be taught by faculty members in classrooms; staff members and fellows will be able to work in their offices; and we hope to hold in-person events as well as to continue streaming events to reach people remotely. 

I am encouraged as well by believing that we can absorb the valuable lessons we have learned this past year—lessons in persistence, compassion, and creativity—to create an even better “new normal” at the Kennedy School.

As always, the people of the Kennedy School—and I very much include our alumni here—are changing their communities for the better in ways big and small. In these pages, you can read about Matthew Tueller MPP 1984, who is leading diplomatic efforts in the Middle East as the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. In another article, you can get a glimpse into the activities of some alumni who serve as staff members in our research centers. And you can also read about our faculty member Todd Rogers. Todd is a professor of public policy and the director of our Behavioral Insights Group, whose faculty experts from across Harvard apply knowledge from behavioral science to address a range of public challenges. 

These stories and others from this issue of HKS Magazine remind me of our collective and individual power to effect change in our communities and make a positive difference to the world around us. Wherever you may be, I hope you are able to connect—or reconnect—with the Kennedy School and with our mission to improve public policy and leadership. 

 

Dean Doug Elmendorf
Don K. Price Professor of Public Policy
August 2021

Top image: Dean Doug Elmendorf attended the HKS Study Break held at the end of the spring 2021 semester and sponsored by Degree Programs and Student Affairs.

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