Discussion Series

The Ash Center regularly hosts a number of public discussion series aimed at presenting scholarly research and public analysis and commentary on pressing issues related to democratic governance. Most events are open to the broader community and provide a unique opportunity to engage with visiting scholars and practitioners. 

The Ash Center’s Comparative Democracy Seminar Series brings innovative scholars in the field of comparative democracy to the Kennedy School to present their research.  Seminars have focused on topics as diverse as compulsory voting, the influence of Christian churches on public policy, the crisis of representation in Latin America, and the oil curse in the Middle East.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the democracy and civic engagement landscape. Through the Ash Center's Democracy and Justice Today series, led by Archon Fung, Winthrop Laflin McCormack Professor of Citizenship and Self-Government, experts, practitioners and academics, will explore the novel challenges that the pandemic poses for justice, democracy, and the 2020 election.

Race and American Politics is a multidisciplinary series of seminars and roundtable conversations led by Leah Wright Rigueur, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and cosponsored by the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research and the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy. The series will feature academic, practitioner, and journalistic perspectives from across the nation on the most pressing political and social issues related to race in the United States: state-sanctioned violence, protest and social movements, voting rights, political representation, and more.

The Ash Center’s Initiative on Democracy in Hard Places hosts a speaker series that brings to campus distinguished scholars and practitioners to analyze the conditions, institutions, and behaviors that enable democracy to survey in hard places. 

Upcoming events

2020 Sep 22

A Conversation with Valerie Jarrett on National Voter Registration Day

3:30pm to 4:00pm


Virtual event, registration required

Join Harvard Votes Challenge in celebrating National Voter Registration Day with Valerie Jarrett, businesswoman, senior advisor to President Barack Obama, a board member at When We All Vote, and advocate for equality & justice. David Wilkins, the Lester Kissel Professor of Law, Vice Dean for Global Initiatives on the Legal Profession, will moderate. This event, supported by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation and the Institute of Politics, will feature a discussion of the state of voter participation in the US as...

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