News

Tom O'Bryan

Student Focus: Promoting Democracy in the Congo

April 21, 2017

Over half a century after the assassination of Congolese independence hero Patrice Lumumba —  the country’s first democratically elected prime minister, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is still waiting for its first peaceful transition of political power. 

Though Congo’s constitution required the country’s current president Joseph Kabila to step down from office last December as his second five-year term as president ended, elections have again been postponed — and few observers have faith that voting will take place anytime soon. Among this group is Tom O’Bryan MPP ’17, former Advocacy and Communications Manager for the Eastern Congo Initiative, an advocacy organization founded by actor Ben Affleck focused on promoting economic and social development in the country’s wartorn eastern provinces. After spending two years in the country, O’Bryan was all too familiar with the behind the scenes political machinations keeping President Kabila in power in Kinshasa.

LaGina

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).

MaryRose

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.