Ash Features

Teachers protest for higher wages

Ash Alumna Sparks Community Organizing in Jordan

July 16, 2018

Nisreen Haj Ahmad MC/MPA ’08, a former visiting research fellow at the Ash Center, spent the first seven years of her professional career enmeshed in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks as a legal adviser to the Palestinian negotiating team. By the end of her tenure as a Palestinian negotiator, “I was depressed,” she recalls. “I studied law to defend the rights of oppressed people.” However, the minutiae and grinding pace of negotiations led Haj Ahmad to question whether the power of law was sufficient to impact the lives of ordinary Palestinians.

In 2007, wanting to gain new perspective, she seized an opportunity to attend Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) as a mid-career student... Read more about Ash Alumna Sparks Community Organizing in Jordan

Yuheng Wen

Fellows Focus: Dalio Scholar’s Campaign for Education Equality in China

July 16, 2018
Born and raised in a rural village in central China’s Henan Province, Yuheng Wen MPA ’19, dropped out of middle school at age 13. Now, two decades later, he is at Harvard exploring ways to promote education equality in China in part with the support of the Ash Center’s Dalio Scholars program, which provides scholarships to graduate students from China who are proven leaders in philanthropy or who demonstrate clear philanthropy sector leadership potential... Read more about Fellows Focus: Dalio Scholar’s Campaign for Education Equality in China
Dr. Tu Anh

Vietnam Executive Leadership Program Celebrates 10th Anniversary

June 28, 2018
The Ash Center sat down with Dr. Vu Thanh Tu Anh, Dean of the Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management, the first academic unit of Fulbright University of Vietnam. Dr. Tu Anh, also a non-resident fellow at the Ash Center, was in Cambridge for the 10th anniversary of the Vietnam Executive Leadership Program (VELP), an executive education program run by the Ash Center, which provides public policy training to senior Vietnamese government officials.... Read more about Vietnam Executive Leadership Program Celebrates 10th Anniversary
SCOTUS

Maya Sen on Anthony Kennedy's Retirement

June 27, 2018

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the country’s top court Wednesday (June 27). Kennedy has long been a crucial swing vote on key Supreme Court decisions, and his replacement has the opportunity to significantly change the ideological makeup of the court. Maya Sen, associate professor of public policy at Harvard Kennedy School, has researched the political leaning of courts and is an expert Supreme Court watcher. We asked her about the impact Kennedy’s retirement will have on the court and the country... Read more about Maya Sen on Anthony Kennedy's Retirement

Archon Getting to 80

Getting to 80%, Ash Sets a Challenge for Increased Voter Participation

June 1, 2018
“Our democracy depends on voting,” said Archon Fung, Winthrop Laflin McCormack Professor of Citizenship and Self-Government and director of the Ash Center’s Democratic Governance Program, at the opening of an all-day symposium on increasing voter participation sponsored by the Ash Center; the Institute of Politics; and the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. The event, “Getting to 80%: A Symposium Advancing Voter Participation,” convened on May 3 at Harvard Kennedy School and brought together journalists, technologists, business leaders, elected officials, scholars...
Read more about Getting to 80%, Ash Sets a Challenge for Increased Voter Participation
Eric Holder

Full Participation: Making Every Voice Count

May 11, 2018

For former US Attorney General Eric Holder, gerrymandering is at the root of many of the most prominent political debates unfolding across the country today. A fairer voting system, Holder believes, wouldn’t tilt the balance towards one political party, but would level the playing field for both voters and political parties.

Tom Perez Dunlop Forum

Former Labor Secretary Perez Says Everyone Should Have a Seat at the Table

February 15, 2018

It took decades to lay the foundations for the social compact that flourished in post-war America and created enormous, shared wealth. It could take far less to roll back all the gains that were made, warned Tom Perez MPP/JD 1987, former Secretary of Labor under President Obama and the current chair of the Democratic National Committee.... Read more about Former Labor Secretary Perez Says Everyone Should Have a Seat at the Table

Protesting in Times Square

The Fight for a Working Democracy

February 7, 2018

This article was originaly published on the OnLabor blog

Written by Miles Rapoport, Senior Practice Fellow in American Democracy, the Ash Center at Harvard Kennedy School and Wendy Fields, Executive Director, Democracy Initiative

For the last forty years, a determined attack on our democracy has been funded by a small cadre of right-wing billionaires. The leaders of this effort are determined to ensure that the decisions of government benefit the corporations and the wealthy, and they have recognized that in order to win on the substance — taxation, deregulation, shrinking government, preventing redistribution — they have to undercut the very structures of our democracy.

Hands

Democracy in 2018

January 2, 2018

Are democracies in peril? The Harvard Kennedy School started the fall 2017 semester with this question and as we enter January the answer still seems elusive. In the past couple of months we've watched Kenya's roller coaster elections, the transformation of Turkish politics and civil society, protests in Venezuela, continued support for populist parties across the globe, and more. Pundits prophetize both a better future and the deterioration and destruction of democracy.

So, what's going to happen in the new year? We asked some of the Ash Center's democracy experts to share their thoughts. 

... Read more about Democracy in 2018

HKS Dean Elmendorf

Rebuilding Our Democracy Through Redistricting Reform

December 15, 2017

In 2010, disenchantment with the sluggish pace of the country’s economic recovery and concern about President Obama’s signature health care reform law led to Republicans up and down the ballot scoring significant electoral gains across the country. Perhaps nowhere was that landslide victory more powerful than in Wisconsin. Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, a Republican, beat his Democratic opponent to capture the governor’s mansion in Madison. Badger State Republicans also won majorities in the Wisconsin State Assembly and Senate, giving them full control of the state government.... Read more about Rebuilding Our Democracy Through Redistricting Reform

Donald Trump Rally

Christian Zionism, the Religious Right, and Donald Trump: History’s Role in Contemporary Politics

December 4, 2017

“Make America great again,” Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign slogan, might not sound religious to the average political observer. One historian, however, hears a different tune.

 

“Looking at his [Trump’s] language, and particularly even something that most of us would agree is not really religious, like "Make America great again,” you’ll see that it actually has a historical background,” says Dan Hummel, history scholar and Ash Center History and Public Policy Fellow AY 20162017.... Read more about Christian Zionism, the Religious Right, and Donald Trump: History’s Role in Contemporary Politics

Students

Teaching in Technicolor: Alumna Transforms Myanmar Education with Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

December 1, 2017

“I was a misfit, not book smart,” says Hla Hla Win MC/MPA 2016. After completing ninth grade, Win walked out of her school in Myanmar and didn’t return. Fifteen years later, she walked across the stage at Harvard Kennedy School’s 2016 commencement and into her role as founder and CEO of a social enterprise named 360ed.... Read more about Teaching in Technicolor: Alumna Transforms Myanmar Education with Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Sickle

Odd Arne Westad: On the Global Roots of the Cold War

December 1, 2017

Growing up in Norway, Odd Arne Westad lived on the frontier of the Cold War. While the fjords and tundra of this Scandinavian nation may not evoke the iconic images of Berlin’s Checkpoint Charlie or the Korean peninsula’s demilitarized zone, for Westad, the S.T. Lee Professor of US-Asia Relations and Ash Center resident faculty affiliate, the Cold War was an omnipresent fact of life. “Norway was a kind of frontline state with regard to the Cold War,” says Westad.... Read more about Odd Arne Westad: On the Global Roots of the Cold War

Students in Class

2017-18 Course Guide for Harvard Kennedy School Students

August 29, 2017

Picking courses is no easy feat. An array of Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), Harvard University, and other university courses are available for HKS students to choose from. To aid interested students, the Ash Center publishes an annual guide to identify courses offered by the various faculties of Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University, and beyond that are relevant to the study of democratic governance, innovation, and technology.... Read more about 2017-18 Course Guide for Harvard Kennedy School Students

Code

Technology and Democracy Fellows Ignite Civic-Tech Discussion

August 15, 2017

DropCapodern technology has amplified human productivity, created networks of individuals worlds apart, and streamlined our day-to-day lives, bringing the world to our fingertips. From our personal lives to business, we clamor to apply technology to increase efficiency and advance our activities. Should we apply technology to our democracy with the same fervor? How can we meld modern technology with practices and institutions born well before the age of the light bulb, let alone the computer? What are the social and ethical risks of automating tasks typically reserved for humans? During the 2016–2017 academic year, seven Technology and Democracy Fellows at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation embarked on a mission to tackle these profound questions.... Read more about Technology and Democracy Fellows Ignite Civic-Tech Discussion

IAG CT

Connecticut Green Bank Wins Top Prize from Harvard’s Innovations in American Government Awards

July 20, 2017

By Wyatt Cmar, Research Assistant and Writer for the Project on Municipal Innovation Advisory Group

According to a 2014 paper from the Center for American Progress the US needs to invest approximately $200 billion annually in clean energy for the next 20 years to stabilize our climate. Scientists predict that globally we will need to cut our carbon emissions 80 percent by mid-century if we are to prevent irreversible, catastrophic environmental changes.... Read more about Connecticut Green Bank Wins Top Prize from Harvard’s Innovations in American Government Awards