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There are more than 180 faculty members at Harvard Kennedy School, and every semester we are fortunate to welcome a few new ones.
We asked those joining us for this spring semester a few questions – about their research, their teaching, their other interests – so they could introduce themselves to the Kennedy School community in their own words.
Alan Khazei is the founder and chief executive officer of Be the Change, Inc., a Boston-based group dedicated to building national coalitions of non-profit organizations and citizens to enact legislation on issues such as poverty and education. He also co-founded City Year, a national youth service corps that helped to inspire development of AmeriCorps, our country's federal investment in nationwide youth service.
Q:What are your primary areas of research?
Khazei:My research focuses on how social entrepreneurship can drive policy and systems change, both through individual organizations acting as "action-tanks," and through collective impact efforts. I am interested in analyzing what drives successful social movements, with the goal of identifying key elements of their evolution and outcomes that may inform lessons for other social entrepreneurs and movement builders.
Q:What courses will you be teaching?
Khazei:I am teaching a seminar course titled "Social Entrepreneurship, Policy and Systems Change: How to Drive Real Impact on Social Problems."
Q:What attracted you to Harvard Kennedy School?
Khazei:First and foremost the caliber of the students. I had a chance to be an IOP Fellow in 2006 and was extremely impressed by the students -- their pragmatic idealism, thoughtfulness, curiousity and desire to make a difference in the world. And last year, I had a chance to meet with a group of fellows from the Center for Public Leadership and again, was just blown away by what they had already accomplished and what their ideas for the future were.
Second, the energy of the Kennedy School is terrific. The faculty is full of dynamic people who are leaders in their fields and the Kennedy school on a daily basis attracts leaders and doers from all areas of public service. I am very excited to be here.
Q:How can the work being done here at HKS help address some of the world’s most significant public policy challenges?
Khazei:I don't believe that there is a significant public policy challenge that does not have someone at HKS -- faculty and students -- working to help address it. HKS has a tremendous role to play in helping to solve our challenges and in coming up with new ideas, new strategies and new ways of thinking and approaching our most significant problems. The breadth, talent, diversity and dedication of the faculty, staff and students is a tremendous resource that the world benefits from and needs.
Q:What are you currently reading?
Khazei:Going back to college I developed the habit of reading several books at once. And now that I have an iPad, it is so easy to do so.
Currently I'm reading: "Thomas Jefferson;" "The Art of Power" by Jon Meacham; "The Last Lion" by William Manchester and Paul Reid; "My Share of the Task" by General Stanley McChrystal; "BRUCE" by Peter Ames Carlin; "The Lost Republic" by Larry Lessig; "The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey", which I'm reading with my ten year old daughter; and I'm looking forward to diving into "The Fifth Assassin" by Brad Meltzer.
Alan Khazei, adjunct lecturer in public policy
"I am interested in analyzing what drives successful social movements, with the goal of identifying key elements of their evolution and outcomes that may inform lessons for other social entrepreneurs and movement builders," writes Khazei.