Study Groups and Workshops

The Ash Center regularly sponsors not-for-credit study groups and workshops for interested HKS and Harvard students to work and learn from practitioners and scholars affiliated with the Center. Interested participants should register for each individual study group session they plan on attending. In order to help foster a stronger sense of community amongst study group attendees, we ask that students commit to attending most if not all sessions of a particular study group. Please note that registration is available only to Harvard ID holders at this time. All fall 2022 study groups will be held in-person only at HKS with no remote or hybrid option available. Individual study group session information and registration can be found below. 

Breakfast Study Group: Challenges and Prospects of Democracy in the Arab World

With the process of democratization in the Arab world at a standstill, former Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki is offering an 8-session fall semester study group for Harvard graduate and undergraduate students examining the challenges and future prospects for democracy in the region. As a political actor, policymaker, and practitioner with more than fifty years of experience working on issues related to human rights and democracy, President Marzouki’s study group is an opportunity for students to delve deep into the discussions on the ongoing democratization process in the region and what it reveals about the strengths and weaknesses of the Arab world and democracy itself.

The study group has three main objectives:

  1. To provide context to the challenges of the democratic transition in the Arab world within the broader global framework of democratic advancement and retrenchment.
  2. To analyze the structures and causes specific to the Arab world that can help explain these difficulties.
  3. To examine, in the light of the analysis, what modifications should be made to both theory and the political practice in order to promote and protect democracy not only in the Arab countries but also in the world.

Democratization in the Arab world is not just an issue for intellectuals or political activists. It is a long, painful process, which is very costly in terms of human suffering. During each session, this dimension will be recalled by an emotional moment dedicated to the memory of poets, singers, thinkers and artists who have defended democracy with their hearts.

In order to help foster a stronger sense of community amongst study group attendees, we ask that students commit to participating in most if not all of the 8 fall semester sessions. Please note that this-in person study group is open to Harvard ID holders only. Breakfast will be provided. Sessions meet on September 8, September 15, September 22, September 29, October 6, October 27, November 3, and November 17.

About the Study Group Convenor
Dr Moncef Marzouki is a senior fellow with the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation’s Democracy in Hard Places Initiative. He is a former professor of public health at the University of Sousse (Tunisia) and Paris (France) as well as the former president of Tunisia.

Lunchtime Study Group: Corruption and Anticorruption 

 

This in-person study group, held on five Mondays 12-1pm ET is designed to engage HKS and Harvard degree students to understand global trends in corruption and anticorruption efforts, mechanics of systemic corruption, and current challenges controlling corruption. Led by Professor Jeeyang Rhee Baum, who has over 30 years of experience working in and with developing democracies, the program will draw on the expertise of a range of HKS Ash Center fellows, practitioners and others from media and policy analysis organizations. The objective is for students to gain and appreciate the complexity of combatting corruption but leave with a set of analytical tools to critically examine and develop interventions in the future. Because the program depends upon interactive discussions and will be capped at 22 students, we particularly encourage those who enjoy active participation and lively debate to sign up. Attendees will be accepted for and notified about each individual session. Students may be accepted for one, multiple or all sessions. You will be notified for acceptance of each session the week prior to that specific discussion. Readings will be assigned.

 

In order to help foster a stronger sense of community amongst study group attendees, we ask that students commit to participating in most if not all of the scheduled study group sessions. Please note that this-in person study group is open to Harvard ID holders only. Lunch will be provided.

 

Sessions meet October 3, October 17, October 24, October 31, November 7.

 

Lunchtime Study Group: Co-Creating Local Government

 

What does good democracy look like in action at the local level? How do you create trust and credibility and build engagement in a community in an era of lack of trust in government? This fall Joe Curtatone, who was Mayor of Somerville for 18 years, and Kristen Stelljes, former Somervile SomerStat Director and COVID Incident Commander, will lead a five session study group that will seek to answer these questions. Drawing on their experiences in Somerville, Joe and Kristen will encourage lively debate and discussion about the role of local governments and residents. From the perspective of an elected official and a public servant, they will also share stories and examples of how the ideals of good government and public participation can be put into action. To foster active engagement, participation will be capped at 20. Sessions will be held on Wednesdays from 12:00-1:00pm from September 21 to October 19.

 

In order to help foster a stronger sense of community amongst study group attendees, we ask that students commit to participating in most if not all of the scheduled study group sessions. Please note that this-in person study group is open to Harvard ID holders only. Lunch will be provided.

Upcoming Study Group Sessions

2022 Sep 28

Lunchtime Study Group: Co-Creating Local Government Session 2: Lifting up the Hood on Local Government

12:00pm to 1:00pm

Location: 

WexG02 Seminar Room, Harvard Kennedy School

Join us for the second session of the fall semester student study group, Co-Creating Local Government. This session will delve into how to make local government more transparent and accessible including the examples from ResiStat, regular meetings with community members to share data and updates about the workings of the City, and SomerStat, internal meetings with key staff to manage the performance of City departments.

Guest speaker: Stephanie Hirsch, first SomerStat Director and City Manager for Eau Claire, WI.

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2022 Sep 29

Breakfast Study Group — Challenges and Prospects of Democracy in the Arab World (Session 4)

8:45am to 10:15am

Location: 

WexG02 Seminar Room, Harvard Kennedy School

Session four of the Democratization in the Arab World: Challenges and Prospects for the Future Study Group with former Tunisian president Dr. Moncef Marzouki will focus on the most specific obstacle to Arab democratization: Islamism. Discussion will include how has political Islam in its armed version as well as in its civil version been a gift from heaven to dictatorships. Students will also explore why democratic elections have favored Islamist parties, and why they have failed the test of power (the case of Tunisia and Morocco). Participants will then debate the question: “Now that...

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2022 Oct 03

Lunchtime Study Group—Corruption and Anticorruption (Session 1): Politics of Anticorruption Campaigns

12:00pm to 1:00pm

Location: 

Ash Center Conference Room, #226, 124 Mt Auburn Street, Suite 200N

The connections between corruption management and democratic compromise are myriad, complex, and not commonly understood. What starts as an anticorruption campaign can end up as an instrument of cronyism and media control – undermining democracy. The first session will discuss the causes and consequences of anticorruption campaigns in the Philippines, with particular focus on the future of reforms under the new administration of President Marcos Jr.

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2022 Oct 05

Lunchtime Study Group: Co-Creating Local Government Session 3: Lifting up the Hood on Local Government

12:00pm to 1:00pm

Location: 

WexG02 Seminar Room, Harvard Kennedy School

Join us for the third session of the fall semester student study group, Co-Creating Local Government. This session will share strategies for bringing residents and staff together on equal footing to jointly solve issues facing the community including examples from the Open Space Creation Task Force and the Parking Policy Task Force.

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2022 Oct 06

Breakfast Study Group — Challenges and Prospects of Democracy in the Arab World (Session 5)

8:45am to 10:15am

Location: 

WexG02 Seminar Room, Harvard Kennedy School

Session five of the Democratization in the Arab World: Challenges and Prospects for the Future Study Group with former Tunisian president Dr. Moncef Marzouki will focus on the role of the economy in the victory the revolution (2010-2011) and its role in the return to power of the counter revolution (2014-2022). Discussion will also touch on topics related to the challenges of long political transitional stages and the disagreement over priorities between an elite obsessed with freedoms and a majority obsessed with the urgency of improving its standard of living. Participants will then...

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2022 Oct 12

Lunchtime Study Group: Co-Creating Local Government Session 4: Lifting up the Hood on Local Government

12:00pm to 1:00pm

Location: 

WexG02 Seminar Room, Harvard Kennedy School

Join us for the fourth session of the fall semester student study group, Co-Creating Local Government. Cities like Somerville are changing rapidly. To ensure this change meets the needs of the community, residents and local government need to have a shared vision of what they want their community to be. This session will look at the creation of SomerVision 2020 and 2030 as well as Somerville’s zoning overhaul.

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2022 Oct 17

Lunchtime Study Group—Corruption and Anticorruption (Session 2): Corruption Control in Public Service Delivery

12:00pm to 1:00pm

Location: 

Ash Center Conference Room, #226, 124 Mt Auburn Street, Suite 200N

Session two explores the range of anticorruption strategies that can improve public service delivery at different stages of policy. What are the strengths and weaknesses of a sector-by-sector approach to understanding different forms and solutions to corruption in public services? Lessons...

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2022 Oct 19

Lunchtime Study Group: Co-Creating Local Government Session 5: Facing Our Biggest Challenges Together

12:00pm to 1:00pm

Location: 

Rubinstein 414 Democracy Lab, Harvard Kennedy School

Join us for the fifth and final session of the fall semester student study group, Co-Creating Local Government. Cities are ground zero for our greatest challenges- climate change, safe and stable housing, racial equity and justice, opioid crisis, COVID response and so much more. Drawing on the lessons from the previous session, this session will engage participants around how local governments can engage residents to co-create solutions to the challenges we face.

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