2013 Nov 02

America’s Datafest with Tech4Change

8:30am to 7:00pm


Weil Town Hall and Starr Auditorium, Belfer Building, 79 JFK St, Cambridge, MA

Tech for Change logoHosted by Tech for Change, a student group at Harvard Kennedy School

About the Event
The Ash Center is delighted to co-sponsor Harvard Kennedy School’s first hackathon, America’s Datafest. The event will convene policy wonks, computer programmers, immigrant advocates, data scientists and business experts for a one-day event committed to helping solve some of the biggest challenges related to immigration. Over the course of the day, participants will form teams, brainstorm ideas, design prototypes, and present solutions – a mobile app, business plan, new product, data insight, or something completely different. The winning two teams, selected by a panel of local experts, will compete for the global prize.... Read more about America’s Datafest with Tech4Change

2013 Nov 02

Abenomics and Japan-U.S. Relations

2:00pm to 3:30pm


Malkin Penthouse, Littauer Building (4th Floor), Harvard Kennedy School

Speaker: The Honorable Yasutoshi Nishimura, Senior Vice-Minister of the Cabinet Office, the Government of Japan

Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, and the Japan Caucus, Harvard Kennedy School; Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University; and Japan Society Boston

Mr. Nishimura will discuss the true intention and expected evolution of Abenomics. As a member of the Abe administration since December 2012, Mr. Nishimura has been involved in Abenomics policymaking, with particular focus on growth strategies. He will also give his thoughts on future Japan-U.S. relations and his reflections on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) negotiations.

2013 Oct 30

Leading a Nation of Devils: How to Get Things Done in a Democracy

4:10pm to 5:30pm


124 Mount Auburn Street, Suite 200-North, Cambridge, MA

Nation of Devils coverStein Ringen, University of Oxford

Cosponsored by the Center for Public Leadership

About the Seminar
Are presidents and prime ministers – whether Thatcher, Blair, Reagan or Obama – responsible for the dysfunctions of democratic governance today? In this seminar, Stein Ringen argues that they are. The role of the chief executive in ensuring good governance is to “maintain order in a nation of devils,” a concept Ringen borrows from Immanuel Kant. They inevitably face opposition from those seeking to frustrate their plan – whether in moving a giant bureaucracy or in ensuring citizen compliance.... Read more about Leading a Nation of Devils: How to Get Things Done in a Democracy

2013 Oct 22

The Solution Revolution

7:00pm to 8:30pm


Starr Auditorium, Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Building, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA


Please join us at Harvard Kennedy School on October 22 for a highly interactive and engaging seminar, “The Solution Revolution: How Business, Government and Social Enterprises Are Teaming Up to Solve Society’s Toughest Problems.” In this session, best-selling author William D. Eggers, a Research Director at Deloitte, will discuss the findings from his new book coauthored with Paul Macmillan (published by Harvard Business Press). The Solution Revolution brings hope to those tackling towering social problems, revealing a burgeoning new economy where players from across the spectrum of business, government, philanthropy, and social enterprise converge to solve big problems and create public value.... Read more about The Solution Revolution

2013 Oct 17

Disaster Management and Risk Reduction: An Israeli Perspective

2:00pm to 3:00pm


WAPPP Cason Conference Room, Taubman 102, Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, MA


The Program on Crisis Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School welcomes Brigadier General (ret.) Meir Elran, Senior Research Fellow and Director of the Homeland Security Program at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv, Israel. In this seminar, Brig. Gen. Elran will discuss a range of hazards – both natural and manmade – that threaten the Israeli homefront and explore how the country approaches risk reduction and disaster management.... Read more about Disaster Management and Risk Reduction: An Israeli Perspective

2013 Oct 16

Shaping Tax Policy – The Global Landscape

Wed Oct 16 (All day) to Fri Oct 18 (All day)


Dublin, Ireland

conference posterThe Ash Center and the Irish Tax Institute Global Tax Policy Conference 2013

About the Conference
International leaders in tax policy and administration will address this landmark conference which will be a “must attend” event for tax advisers, tax policymakers, officials from Treasury and Revenue authorities, academics, fiscal economists, and corporate heads of tax/policy.

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s visit to Ireland, this conference will provide attendees with expert perspectives on the challenges to be addressed across the world by tax policymakers and administrators. Speakers and delegates at the conference – entitled “Shaping Tax Policy – The Global Landscape” – will explore how tax policy can deliver on economic and social change; what drivers determine tax policy around the world and the challenges currently facing senior tax policy makers and administrators.... Read more about Shaping Tax Policy – The Global Landscape

2013 Oct 08

Selling Deng Xiaoping in China and Japan

12:30pm to 2:00pm


Bowie-Vernon Room (K262), 2nd floor, CGIS Knafel Building, 1737 Cambridge Street

Seminar by Ezra F. Vogel, Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences Emeritus, Harvard University

2013 Oct 07

From Here to There: Economic Transition in Emerging Markets

12:00pm to 1:30pm

Dr. Prasarn Trairatvorakul, Governor of the Bank of Thailand
Nye A & B
Co-sponsored by the Harvard University Asia Center

About the Seminar
Dr. Prasarn Trairatvorakul, Governor of the Bank of Thailand, will discuss challenges of transitioning to the next phase of growth in Asian emerging markets emphasizing the importance of institutional building and how this happens on the ground. A combination of domestic reforms and external shocks has dramatically altered the Asian market environment, and the capacity of Asian economies to evolve and adapt will be key factors determining their success in future efforts to achieve robust, sustainable, and inclusive growth.... Read more about From Here to There: Economic Transition in Emerging Markets

2013 Oct 06

Robert Schenkkan’s All the Way



American Repertory Theater, 64 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA

Bryan CranstonFeaturing Bryan Cranston as Lyndon Baines Johnson
Followed by a discussion on the play, LBJ, and civil rights with Alex Keyssar

Listen to an Audio Recording of the Event

Read the Challenges to Democracy blog post about this event.

About the Speaker
Alex Keyssar is the Stirling Professor of History and Social Policy at the Kennedy School. His books include The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States (2000 and 2009), which was named the best book in U.S. history by the American Historical Association and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in history. Keyssar is also the author of an award-winning history of unemployment in the United States. In addition to his scholarly publications, he writes frequently for newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times and Folha de Sao Paulo.... Read more about Robert Schenkkan’s All the Way

2013 Oct 03

Challenges to Democracy Launch Event: Inequality vs. Democracy with WBUR and NPR’s On Point



JFK Jr. Forum, Harvard Kennedy School, 79 JFK St., Cambridge, MA

Tom AshbrookModerated by Tom Ashbrook, host of On Point.


Chrystia Freeland
Liberal Party Candidate for Canadian Parliament, Journalist and Author of Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else

Martin Gilens
Professor of Politics, Princeton University, Author, Affluence & Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America

Alex Keyssar
Matthew W. Stirling Jr. Professor of History and Social Policy, HKS Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy

Watch a Video Recording of the Event

Listen to an Audio Recording of the Event

Read the Challenges to Democracy blog post about this event.

View Photos from the Event:

About the Event
The subject of growing wealth and income gaps between the wealthiest and the rest is particularly salient to the health of our democracy – testing our sense of fairness, social mobility and equal opportunity. Economic inequality also threatens to undermine the principle of political equality upon which our country is founded.

This discussion, moderated by Mr. Ashbrook and to be broadcast on WBUR and NPR’s On Point soon after, will examine economic inequality and its relationship with political inequality – in particular how and why life looks so different for the richest and the poorest Americans. How do the very poor view their opportunities to get ahead?... Read more about Challenges to Democracy Launch Event: Inequality vs. Democracy with WBUR and NPR’s On Point

2013 Oct 01

Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex Is Destroying America

4:10pm to 5:30pm


124 Mt. Auburn Street, Suite 200-North, Cambridge, MA

Dollarocracy coverRobert McChesney, University of Illinois and John Nichols, The Nation

About the Seminar
In this seminar, two leading media experts – journalist John Nichols and academic Robert McChesney – examine the forces that have sapped elections of their meaning and stolen America’s democratic potential: the pay-to-play billionaires and the politicians who do their bidding, the corporations that have been freed to buy elections and the activist judges who advance their agenda, and the media conglomerates that blow off journalism while raking in billions airing intellectually and morally reprehensible political advertising. The determination of media companies to cash in on that mockery, especially by selling ad time at a premium to the campaigns – when they should instead be exposing and opposing it – completes a vicious circle.

Nichols and McChesney argue that what has emerged is a “money-and-media election complex.” This complex is built on a set of commercial and institutional relationships connecting wealthy donors, corporations, lobbyists, politicians, coin-operated “think tanks,” beltway pundits, and now super-PACS.... Read more about Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex Is Destroying America

2013 Sep 15

General and Flag Officer Homeland Security Executive Seminar

Sun Sep 15 (All day) to Wed Sep 18 (All day)

The United States faces a continuing necessity to be prepared for and capable of responding to a major disaster – be it a massive seismic event, a major hurricane, a pandemic outbreak, or a terrorist event. Much of the thinking about how to organize a response to such an event imagines a highly centralized operation. However, much of our recent history with major events suggests an alternative approach to crisis response.

Instead of hierarchical command from a single location, we need to prepare for a response involving operations by many different organizations and agencies, including federal, state, and local government, nonprofit organizations like the Red Cross and Salvation Army, and private sector organizations like Wal-Mart and Home Depot, as well as community groups. Such a response is inherently decentralized. It will involve engagement without control, and coordination instead of command. The major determinant of the effectiveness of such a response will be the ability of the decentralized organizations to coordinate with one another and be effective in carrying out their own actions.

The General and Flag Officer Homeland Security Executive Seminar is designed by Harvard Kennedy School’s Program on Crisis Leadership specifically for the National Guard and the United States Coast Guard.... Read more about General and Flag Officer Homeland Security Executive Seminar

2013 Sep 12

Resilience in the Face of Catastrophe: Rikuzentakata’s Ongoing Recovery from Japan’s 3.11 Triple Disaster



Weil Town Hall, Belfer Building (B-L-1), Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, MA

Join us for a presentation by Kiyoshi Murakami, Goodwill Ambassador of Rikuzentakata, Japan, who will speak about the progress his town has made in recovering from the March 11, 2011 tsunami, which caused extensive devastation along the country’s Tohoku coast. Rikuzentakata was particularly hard-hit, and in this talk, Mr. Murakami will explore the extensive effort the community has made to rebuild – and discuss where recovery stands today.... Read more about Resilience in the Face of Catastrophe: Rikuzentakata’s Ongoing Recovery from Japan’s 3.11 Triple Disaster