Ash Features


Closing the Wage Gap: Ash Alum Using Data to Make “Women’s Issue” Everyone’s Issue

April 21, 2017

In 2016, for every dollar earned by men, women in the Greater Boston Area earned 77 cents, according to a recent report from the Boston Women’s Workforce Council. The city could wait for the wage gap to close over time — estimates by the American Association of University Women say the US will reach equity around 2152, or do something about it. For MaryRose Mazzola MPP ’15, doing nothing has never been an option, and today she is actively involved in closing Boston’s wage gap as executive director of the Boston Women’s Workforce Council.


Democracy Fellows Spotlight: Q&A with LaGina Gause

April 21, 2017

We sat down with Democracy Fellow LaGina Gause to discuss her research on how legislatures respond to protests.

Q: What are the main questions your research addresses?

A: The biggest question is understanding how institutions and individuals interact with each other. There is this interplay where government does something and people react, and then people do something and government reacts. The question is how can government and institutions work together to create the best system that works for the most people. Particularly, I care about the people who aren't represented as often.

CAN Convening

Civic Analytics Network: Helping Cities Unlock the Power of Data

April 21, 2017

By now, most are familiar with the trope expounding on the transformative power of data in our society today. We see its manifestation in nearly every part of our lives, from how we shop for goods to the route we take on the commute to work or school. For cities, the impact of data has the potential to be no less transformational, and city halls around the country are grappling with how best to integrate this seemingly endless array of information into their decision-making processes. Increasingly, the job of making sense of and harnessing this data to improve governance is falling to a new category of city hall staffer: the chief data officer (CDO).

Amanda Sloat

Amanda Sloat on Turkey's Constitutional Referendum, Erdogan, and Democratic Backsliding

April 14, 2017

As Turkey prepares to head to the polls to vote on a package of amendments to the Turkish constitution, we sat down with Dr. Amanda Sloat, a fellow with the Ash Center's Democracy in Hard Places Initiative and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Southern Europe and Eastern Mediterranean Affairs at the State Department to discuss the referendum and its impact on the future of democracy in Turkey. 


Q: Why is Turkey going to the polls to vote on a new constitution?

Arne Westad

Arne Westad on Trump, Xi, and the Future of the Asia

April 3, 2017

In advance of Chinese President Xi  Jinping's first meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, we sat down with Odd Arne Westad the S.T. Lee Professor of U.S.-Asia Relations at Harvard University to discuss China's growing role in the Asia-Pacific Region. 

Then-candidate and now President Trump has sent wildly contradictory messages about China’s role in the Asia-Pacific region and possible US responses to its growing military presence there. How is Beijing interpreting these mixed signals?

Tony Saich

Tony Saich on Xi, Trump, and the future of U.S.-China Relations

April 3, 2017

In advance of Chinese President Xi  Jinping's first meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, we sat down with Tony Saich, the director of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation and Daewoo Professor of International Affairs at HKS to discuss the state of U.S.-China relations. 

Heading into this meeting, the first between Presidents Trump and Xi, how would you describe the current state of Sino-American relations?

Maya Sen

The Political Science Perspective: Judge Neil Gorsuch & the Supreme Court of the United States

March 20, 2017

A Q&A with Maya Sen

With Congress set to kick off confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch, the Ash Center sat down with Maya Sen, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. Sen’s research interests include the American legal system and politics. She is the author of several recent papers on political ideology and politicization in the judiciary.

Teresa Acuna

From Sacramento to DC, For Teresa Acuña, Roy and Lila Ash Fellow, Community Always on Her Mind

March 20, 2017

President Obama’s unprecedented decision to commute the sentences of nearly 1,500 federal inmates incarcerated on low-level drug offenses has given a second chance to those on the receiving end of disproportionate sentences handed down at the height of the war on drugs and allowed them and their families to begin the process of rebuilding their lives. For Teresa Acuñamid-career MPA 2017 and the Roy and Lila Ash Fellow at the Ash Center, her experience as a legislative aide and advocate would intersect in an intensely personal manner with President Obama’s efforts to undo some of the social damage wrought by this decades-long war on drugs.  

Moshik 2

A Historical Context for Immigration Policy and Sentiment Today: Q&A with Moshik Temkin

March 13, 2017

In light of contemporary conversations about immigration, the Ash Center sat down with Moshik Temkin, an Associate Professor of Public Policy and a specialist in the history of the modern United States in global and comparative perspective, to talk about the history of immigration in the US and what it can teach us about modern debates and policy.

Maya Sen

Judging the Bench

March 13, 2017

By Katie Gibson

How do Americans evaluate potential candidates for the U.S. Supreme Court? More specifically, do political opinions make a difference in how citizens evaluate the branch of government that is supposed to be impartial?

According to Maya Sen, assistant professor of public policy at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), the answer is yes.

Moshik Temkin

Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration

February 14, 2017

Experts Provide A Modern Analysis & Historical Perspective at JFK Jr. Forum Event 

President Trump’s controversial executive order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries immediately raised howls of protests from politicians, activists, and the media. Harvard’s President Drew Faust put it succinctly when she said, “[the] executive order imposing restrictions on travel to the United States has provoked uncertainty and escalating anxiety among many people.” At Harvard Kennedy School, students and faculty grappled with the order’s implications and whether it was likely to achieve its stated goal of deterring possible future terrorist attacks.


Three HKS centers ranked among world's best university-affiliated research centers

February 3, 2017

by Doug Gavel

Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and the Center for International Development (CID) are ranked atop the best university-affiliated research centers in the world.

The rankings appear in the latest edition of the Global Go To Think Tank Index Report, produced annually for the past decade by James McGann, director of the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Lauder Institute. The goal of the Index, he said, “is to increase the profile and performance of think tanks and raise the public awareness of the important role think tanks play in governments and civil societies around the globe.”

T4D community activists in Uganda

Change from the Bottom Up: Examining the Potential for Citizen-led Action to Improve Health Outcomes

December 9, 2016

A subsistence farmer in Indonesia. A disabled US veteran. An orphaned child living in a Mumbai slum. A woman giving birth in a remote part of Malawi. Each may rely on government services or outside aid agencies to provide basic services like health care or education. But too often these services are inadequate and unresponsive to their needs. Among the many reasons are corruption, inefficiency, and simple lack of dedication and effort — the kinds of problems that too often prove difficult for governments and donors to solve.

Peter Quilter

Trump and the Future of Democracy in Latin America

December 6, 2016

In the wake of Donald Trump’s election as President of the United States, the Ash Center sat down with senior non-residential fellow Peter Quilter to discuss what Trump’s ascension to the White House means for U.S. relations in Latin America and the future of democracy in the region.

How has the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States been received throughout Latin America?

Leah Wright Rigeur

Race and Justice in the Age of Obama

December 2, 2016

In October, as part of its Race and American Politics seminar series, the Ash Center collaborated with HKS Assistant Professor of Public Policy Leah Wright Rigueur, an Ash Center faculty affiliate, to organize a Conference on Race and Justice in the Age of Obama. Attended by over 300 people over the course of two days, the event offered a unique and important opportunity for scholars, journalists, and public officials to debate President Obama's impact on race relations in the United States during his eight years in office.  


Technology and Democracy Fellowship Program Enters Its Second Year

December 1, 2016

This fall, the Ash Center welcomed its second cohort of Technology and Democracy Fellows, comprised of technologists committed to improving the health of American democracy. This year’s fellows are especially passionate about building the capacity and new tools needed by civic activists, community organizers, local government officials, and journalists who are so critical to making democracy work. 

Suparna Gupta

Ash Center Alum Suparna Gupta “Activating” for Social Change in India

November 30, 2016

“Almost half of the girls in India are married before they're even 18 years old,” says Suparna Gupta MC/MPA 2013, founder and director of the Indian nonprofit Aangan, which is dedicated to protecting vulnerable children. “I think we have the highest number of child laborers in India — 5.8 million child laborers, with 2.4 million adolescents in hazardous work. There is also an alarming figure of one child going missing every eight minutes — a statistic that is deeply linked to child trafficking.” 

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