Fall 2020 Communiqué Magazine

The Communiqué, the Ash Center’s bi-annual magazine, is a chronicle of the Center’s latest research and news.

Dear friends and colleagues,

Welcome to the first-ever digital-only issue of the Ash Center magazine The Communiqué.

With the election just days away, we at the Ash Center have been busy as never before working to understand this extraordinarily unique and consequential presidential vote with a series of riveting discussions, commentary, and analysis on what the election portends for the future of democracy in America. Of course, the elections are being held this fall as the specter of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to loom over nearly all aspects of public life throughout much of the country.

As you’ll see below, throughout the year, we have pivoted to react and reflect upon these unprecedented times. An example of this is the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative’s work to bring resources on crisis leadership and public health to hundreds of mayors and city leaders around the world struggling to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the country was grappling with the effects of the pandemic this summer, the killing of George Floyd laid bare for all of us to see the continued injustices faced by communities of color more than half a century after Martin Luther King, Jr.’s March on Washington. The Ash community responded with a series of deeply impactful discussions on the history of policing in the United States, Black protest movements, and the future of Black Lives Matter. Finally, as the pandemic has upended nearly everything about our elections, Ash has been at the forefront of efforts at Harvard to ensure the entire University community can safely access the polls.

I invite you to explore below the various features, profiles, and news briefs about the Center’s activities over what has truly been a year unlike any other.


Tony Saich
Director, Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
Daewoo Professor of International Affairs
Harvard Kennedy School

Student Profiles

A Win for Democracy


A Win for Democracy

Mauzy Award-Winner Demarquin Johnson sees democratic action as the path to overcoming injustice and protecting voting rights

A New Story for Nigeria
City at night lagoon waterfront Lagos


A New Story for Nigeria

Recent Kennedy School Graduate Uche Pedro is leveraging her popular media brand to increase voter participation and advocate for social justice issues in Nigeria.

Alumni Profiles

Moving Municipal Tech Out of the Typewriter Era

Communique Magazine

Moving Municipal Tech Out of the Typewriter Era

In Boston, Alex Lawrence MPP 2014 is ensuring that data and tech have a front-row seat at the policymaking table


In Conversation With

Convincing Congress to Remove its Tech Policy Blinders


Convincing Congress to Remove its Tech Policy Blinders

The Ash Center sat down with Zach Graves, a 2019 Technology and Democracy Fellow, head of policy at the Lincoln Network, and author of “Science, Technology, and Democracy: Building a Modern Congressional Technology Assessment Office,” a new paper offering recommendations and a road map for resurrecting a technology assessment capability in Congress

Editorial Team


Tony Saich

Executive Editor

Jessica Engelman

Associate Editor

Sarah Grucza

Associate Director for Communications

Daniel Harsha


Melissa Axelrod