Our Top Spring 2024 Events

This past semester, the Ash Center hosted discussions and debates on topics ranging from AI and democracy to the future of the Electoral College.

Photo of a microphone against a backdrop of several people at an event

From AI to the Electoral College, this semester the Ash Center’s most popular events tackled some of the most pressing issues facing democracy. Below, you will find a selection of our most popular discussions from the spring. We encourage you to explore the following, and we invite you to join us for future events in the semester to come — posted online here.  

Seminar — The World’s Protracted and Deepening Democratic Recession, and How to Reverse It

February 6, 2024

A Democracy in Hard Places Initiative event featured Larry Diamond, who presented statistical evidence showing that the world has been in a protracted and deepening recession of freedom and democracy since around 2006. 

Defending Parliament: Responses of Mainstream Parties to Parliamentary Erosion

February 28, 2024

During this event, Mares discussed her paper on the political reforms adopted in Third Republic France and Weimar Germany which sought to defend parliamentarism. 

Confronting Dictators: Lessons from Egypt, Russia, and Venezuela

March 19, 2024

Harvard ID holders joined the Nonviolent Action Lab for a discussion featuring student researchers and former nonviolent campaign organizers Shady ElGhazaly Harb, Maria Kuznetsova, and Freddy Guevara, who shared their experiences, lessons learned, and perspectives on their respective struggles.

India’s National Election: The Future of the World’s Largest Democracy

March 21, 2024

As India prepared for general elections that began in April, the world’s largest democracy found itself at an inflection point. During this conversation, speakers Devesh Kapur and Gautam Nair discussed the climate in India. 

El Salvador’s presidential elections and the future of democracy

March 29, 2024

Following the re-election of El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele, experts analyzed the sources of Bukele’s popularity, the human toll of Bukele’s prolonged state of exception, and the threats to democracy in El Salvador. 

An Aspirational Path for American Conservatism

April 3, 2024

The Ash Center hosted a discussion with Ryan Streeter and Steve Goldsmith about the future of American conservatism today as outlined in their recent paper on the topic.

The Future of the Electoral College: A Conversation with Congressman Jamie Raskin and Professor Alex Keyssar

April 4, 2024

The Harvard community joined the Ash Center and Institute of Politics for a conversation with Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) and Alex Keyssar, Matthew W. Stirling Jr. Professor of History and Social Policy, about the future of the Electoral College. 

Nonviolent Action Lab – Interrupting Mass Killings

April 10, 2024

A pressing challenge in humanitarian policy is how to stop mass killings once they start. During this discussion, panelists reviewed lessons from historical and comparative cases in de-escalating mass atrocities.  

A Conversation with Ava DuVernay: Resistance, Storytelling, and Film

April 24, 2024

The Institutional Antiracism and Accountability (IARA) Project hosted a conversation between Oscar-nominated filmmaker and screenwriter Ava DuVernay and Professor Khalil Gibran Muhammad. 

Online Book Talk: How to Steal A Presidential Election

April 30, 2024

Ian Bassin, Lawrence Lessig, and Matt Seligman discussed possible efforts to subvert the 2024 presidential election and how we can stop them.

AI and the 2024 election

May 12, 2024

The GETTING-Plurality Research Network at the Ash Center’s Allen Lab and Connection Science at MIT Media Lab hosted a workshop series event focused on AI and the 2024 Elections featuring speakers Danielle Allen, Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland, and Nate Persily.


This semester in photos

Rep Barbara Lee speaks during an IARA symbosium

Congresswoman Barbara Lee speaks during the Institutional Antiracism and Accountability (IARA) Project’s Global Justice, Truth Telling and Healing Symposium. Read more from her remarks here.

Danielle Allen makes speaks during an Allen Lab event

Professor Danielle Allen delivers introductory remarks during the recent Allen Lab Conference on the Political Economy of Artificial Intelligence. Check out conference takeaways here.

Ava DuVernay speaks with Khalil Gibran Muhammad

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay discusses her approach to filmmaking with Professor Khalil Gibran Muhammad at an Institute of Politics (IOP) forum.

Representative Jamie Raskin speaks at a podium

At an Ash Center symposium on Electoral College reform, Congressman Jamie Raskin makes the case that the US should finally move to a direct popular vote for selecting presidential winners. Read more about his remarks here.

Panelists sit at a table in front of an audience during an event

Three current and former Kennedy School students who have led nonviolent protest movements against dictators in Egypt, Russia, and Venezuela talk about the evolution of their experiences, lessons learned, and perspectives on their respective struggles, nations, and roles.

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Spring Research and Commentary