Ash Center Announces 2012 Challenges to Democracy Grantees

May 9, 2012
Ash Center Announces 2012 Challenges to Democracy Grantees

Faculty and Students Awarded $350,000 in Research Support

Cambridge, Mass. – Today the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University announced the recipients of its annual “Challenges to Democracy Grant” program. In its inaugural year, this grant program devotes $350,000 in support of HKS faculty as well as doctoral and post-doctoral student research that explores both the ideals of democracy and its often imperfect practice in the real world. This year, the Ash Center will fund five HKS faculty research projects; four HKS faculty-led seminars; two doctoral fellowships for HKS and other Harvard graduate students; and one post-doctoral fellowship.

“We are pleased to offer such a substantial amount of funding to support research on strengthening democratic practices and the institutional innovation that is necessary to maintain and expand democratic participation and engagement around the world” said Tony Saich, director of the Ash Center. “We hope that this support will engage Harvard’s intellectual community in the exploration of key challenges in these areas and that it will also push ahead not just our thinking, but also our curriculum design.”

The 2012 grant recipients demonstrate a range of diverse interests and topics falling under three broad themes related to the study of democracy: Democracy in Hard Places; Innovations in Democracy; and Public Sector Innovation. From exploring the most creative local and regional innovations that solve urgent social problems to examining the causes and historical challenges that have prevented democracy from taking root in certain world regions, such research promises to further enrich the School’s scholarship around the study of democracy and serve as the basis for many forthcoming Ash Center seminars, research groups, and workshops.

Faculty Research Grantees:

      • Asim Khwaja, Professor of Public Policy, HKS  Trust in State Authority and Non-State Actors
      • Stephen Kosack, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, HKS  Mass Movements and Responsive Governance
      • Tarek Masoud, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, HKS  Political Attitudes and Behavior after the Arab Spring: Beyond Survey Research
      • Ryan Sheely, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, HKS  Participant-Driven Evaluation and Community Empowerment in Rural Kenya
      • Kenneth Winston, Lecturer in Ethics; Faculty Chair, Singapore Program, HKS  Practical Ethics: Case Studies on Moral Competence in Public Life

Faculty Workshop Grantees:

      • Candelaria Garay, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, HKS  Social Mobilization, Electoral Competition, and Social Policy Expansion in Latin America
      • Jane Mansbridge, Adams Professor of Political Leadership and Democratic Values Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy, HKS  Getting to Yes in Politics
      • Pippa Norris, Paul. F. McGuire Lecturer in Comparative Politics, HKS  Innovations Strengthening Electoral Integrity in Campaign Finance and Electoral Malpractice in Hard Places. Read more
      • Muriel Rouyer, Visiting Professor of Public Policy, HKS  How Can Europe Help the U.S. Understand Transnational Democracy? Case Study: Nantes, European Green Capital, 2013

Doctoral Fellowship Recipients:
At press time, only one doctoral fellowship has been finalized. The second fellowship recipient will be announced shortly.

      • Shauna Shames, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Government, Harvard University – The Roots of Political Ambition: Gender, Race, Class, and the Decision to Run for Office

Post-Doctoral Democracy Fellowship Recipient:

      • Lindsay Mayka, Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science, University of California, Berkeley  Bringing the Public Into Policymaking: National Participatory Institutions in Latin America

For more information, contact:
Kate Hoagland
Ash Center

About the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
The Roy and Lila Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence and innovation in governance and public policy through research, education, and public discussion. Three major programs support our mission: the Program on Democratic Governance; the Innovations in Government Program; and the Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia. For more information, visit