THE KENNEDY SCHOOL’S MISSION is to improve public policy and public leadership across the United States and around the world so that people can lead safer, freer, and more prosperous lives. The Summer 2018 issue focused on the United States. This time, we look at what our faculty, our alumni, and our programs are doing across the world in each of our priority areas. Explore our interactive map below, or scroll down to see a selection of our work from around the world.



Thumbnail of a large crowd of festive Brazilians celebrating with flags and balloons on a busy city street.Democracy in Hard Places: The Ash Center’s Initiative on Democracy in Hard Places aims to foster social science research on democratic experiments—both successful and failed—throughout the developing world, including Brazil, to learn how democracy can be built and maintained in a variety of terrains. And through engagement with policymakers, practitioners, and activists, it aims to translate that research into action. The program is co-directed by Scott Mainwaring, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor of Brazil Studies, and Tarek Masoud, Sultan of Oman Professor of International Relations.


Thumbnail of a busy streetscape in Vietnam full of pedestrians and people riding bikes and motorcycles.Ash Vietnam Program: Established in 1988, the Vietnam Program, a part of the Ash Center’s Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia, is a recognized leader in the study of Vietnam’s political and economic development. Through a combination of teaching in Vietnam, research, and policy advising, the program is an influential participant in the country’s policy dialogue, informing Vietnam’s ongoing reform process. The program is led by David Dapice, Ash Center senior economist, and Thomas Vallely, the center’s senior adviser for mainland Southeast Asia.




Classroom shot featuring Harvard Kennedy School professor Matt Andrews sitting with students.(Building State Capability): The government of Honduras faces key delivery and implementation gaps, especially in areas that involve many agents and require new and undeveloped capabilities. Building State Capability (BSC), a program of the Center for International Development led by Matt Andrews, Edward S. Mason Senior Lecturer in International Development (center, below), is helping the government employ the Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA) method as its active working approach and to facilitate visible progress in key challenge areas.

Sierra Leone

Meeting with Harvard Kennedy School professor Dan Levy and two other men, working on the Transparency for Development project.Transparency for Development: A diverse array of voices within the international development field have promoted the potential benefits of community-led transparency and accountability, but the evidence that such approaches have an impact is mixed and incomplete. Without this evidence, civil society organizations and their supporters will not have the information they need to target their work in improving the responsiveness of governments and service providers. Working with local civil society partners across five countries, the Transparency for Development (T4D) project looks to fill this knowledge gap by generating rigorous and actionable evidence about whether, why, and in what contexts local transparency and accountability interventions improve development outcomes. Archon Fung, Winthrop Laflin McCormack Professor of Citizenship and Self-Government, and Dan Levy, senior lecturer in public policy, are the project’s principal investigators.




Thumbnail closeup photo of a smartphone with source code on the screen.Social Innovation + Change Initiative and Center for Public Leadership: Meghan McCormick MPA 2019 cofounded OZÉ, a business insights engine that enables investment readiness for small to medium enterprises in West Africa. McCormick started OZÉ to address out-of-date business practices, such as the use of paper ledgers, but soon realized that the app had wider commercial viability. Today, OZÉ, for which McCormick won the Harvard President’s Innovation Challenge, is the most active accelerator in French-speaking Africa. McCormick credits her Cheng Fellowship—a rigorous program that supports selected students in taking action to advance progress against a pressing social problem through innovation—with keeping her grounded and connected to the project’s original vision.


Group shot of a young Indonesian man and two young Indonesian women gathered outside a storefront.Evidence for Policy Design: Rema Hanna, Jeffrey Cheah Professor of South-East Asia Studies, and colleagues studied the effectiveness of Indonesia’s cash transfer program, PKH, using data from about 14,000 households. They found that the program, which was designed to reduce poverty, helped increase the use of trained health professionals for childbirth and reduced the number of children not enrolled in school. Over time, researchers also observed large reductions in stunting and some evidence of increased high school completion rates. The results suggest that cash transfer programs can have substantial effects on the accumulation of human capital.




Halla Hrund Logadottir on a stage in Reykjavik giving a talk about the Harvard Kennedy Arctic Initiative.Arctic Initiative: The rate of temperature increase in the Arctic as a whole has been twice the global average and, in some parts, three to four times the global average. The Arctic Initiative, a joint project of the Environment and Natural Resources Program (ENRP) and the Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program (STPP) at the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, is focused on the environmental, economic, and social challenges linked to rapid climate change in the Arctic, with particular emphasis on issues for which insights about the relevant science and technology are germane. The initiative is led by John Holdren, Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy, and Henry Lee, senior lecturer in public policy. Program manager Halla Hrund Logadottir MC/MPA 2017 is an ENRP Fellow and former director of the Iceland School of Energy at Reykjavik University.


Shot of a large conference room where people are gathered for the Harvard Kennedy School Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship, with the US flag and French flag at the center of the room.Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship: The Harvard Kennedy School Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship aims to strengthen Harvard University’s capacities for teaching, research, and policy on the relationship between the United States and Europe. The project was designed to deepen connections that for more than 70 years have served as an anchor of global order, driven the expansion of the world economy, provided peace and stability, and reunited peoples once divided by war. Housed at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, the project hopes to prepare a new generation of leaders on both sides of the Atlantic.



Finland and Canada

Thumbnail of a conference held at Harvard for the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative.Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative: A collaboration among Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Business School, and Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative provides mayors and their staffs with the tools to lead high-performing, innovative cities. The program has brought mayors from across the United States and the world. Jan Vapaavuori, the mayor of Helsinki, was part of the inaugural class of 40 city leaders. Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi MPP 1998 was part of the second class. The program gives mayors an opportunity to learn from one another, from Harvard faculty, and from state-of-the-art research. In turn, says Jorrit de Jong (at right, below), the faculty director and lecturer in public policy and management, Harvard has a chance to learn from how city leaders approach complex challenges. The initiative aims to enroll up to 240 cities from around the globe over four years.



United Arab Emirates

A person dressed in a traditional white robe and headscarf leads others on a tour through an ornate outdoor courtyard in the UAE.Emirates Leadership Initiative: A collaboration between Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership and the Belfer Center’s Middle East Initiative, the Emirates Leadership Initiative (ELI) provides opportunities for emerging leaders from the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere in the Middle East to confront the region’s public policy issues through a multipronged approach. ELI features several components, including a research fund that supports predoctoral, postdoctoral, and faculty research; student degree fellowships; an on-site learning experience in the UAE; and executive education programs.


Thumbnail image of the skyline in Shenzhen, China.Ash-Tsinghua Partnership: The Harvard-Tsinghua Workshop on Low-Carbon Development and Public Policy convenes prominent members of the academic and policy communities of China and the United States at Tsinghua University in Beijing. The workshop is a collaboration among the Kennedy School’s Environment and Natural Resources Program (ENRP) and Sustainability Science Program and the Center for Science, Technology, and Education Policy at Tsinghua University. Workshops have dealt with technology innovation, market mechanisms to reduce carbon emissions, and renewable energy.