Sohaila Noori, 29, owner of a sewing workshop, poses at her workshop in Kabul, Afghanistan January 15, 2022.

Engaging Global Policymakers Working to Support Women in Geographies of Conflict | MLD-236 – Continuing Conflict: Old Challenges and New Debates with Rangita de Silva de Alwis

Rangita de Silva de Alwis speaking into a microphoneThis fall HKS hosts Rangita de Silva de Alwis to teach a special new course, MLD-236 Continuing Conflict: Old Challenges and New Debates.  Rangita, a full-time faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania Law School with an S.J.D. from Harvard Law School, is a globally recognized international women’s rights expert with over 25 years of experience advocating for equal representation of women across the globe. On June 23, 2022 Rangita was elected to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) for the term 2023-2026.  The CEDAW Committee—consisting of 23 experts on women’s rights from around the world—is the body of independent experts that monitors the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Rangita’s new HKS course aims to meld her policymaking and advocacy role with learning in the classroom. MLD-236 will focus on two theaters of continuing conflict: Afghanistan and the Sahel region in Africa, the world’s most conflict heavy region. Collaborating with UN Security Council non-permanent members, this class will examine these recent conflicts, its impact on women, and the role of women as peace builders. From the denial of women’s and girl’s education in the recent Taliban takeover in Afghanistan to Africa’s Sahel region’s climate collapse which has impacted a gathering crisis in food security, access to water, migration, and the feminization of poverty, the class will analyze some of the root causes of recent conflict and provide new policy imperatives through a gender perspective. The confluence of the 3 Cs, conflict, climate change and COVID will continue to have a disproportionate impact on the lives and livelihoods of women.

This course will function as a lab to incubate new ideas and provide an opportunity for students to participate directly with important global changes on policy making. Through case studies in the two regions, students will learn an array of transformative policymaking tools to address the root causes of conflict and explore new approaches to peace building. Students will also engage with recent UN Security Council resolutions and directly connect with an amazing array of current global policymakers working in these geographies of conflict.

Policy makers expected to be guest speakers (virtually) in MLD-236 include:

From Africa’s Sahel Region:

    • E. Michel Biang, Gabon’s Ambassador to the UN (Security Council)
    • E. Cheikh Niang, Senegal’s Ambassador to the UN
    • E. Lang Yabon, The Gambia’s Ambassador to the UN
    • E. Ammo Baroud, Chad’s Ambassador to the UN
    • E. Fanday Turay, Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the UN
    • E. Konfourou, Mali’s Ambassador to the UN
    • Under Secretary General Zainab Bangura, Head of UN Africa
    • David Moininia Senge, Sierra Leone Minister of Education and Innovation; Fellow MIT Media Lab

From Afghanistan:

    • Simar Samar, first woman Vice President of Afghanistan; Fellow at HKS’s Carr Center for Human Rights
    • Shukriya Barakzai, founding Chair of the Parliamentary Commission on Human Rights, Civil Society, and Women’s Rights and former Ambassador to Norway
    • Naheed Fareed, youngest woman parliamentarian and most recent Chair of the Parliamentary Commission on Human Rights, Civil Society, and Women’s Rights
    • Maria Basheer, first woman prosecutor in Afghanistan
    • Fawzia Koofi, member of Afghan delegation to Doha peace talks
Niger_Malian-refugee-sisters
Niger_Malian refugee sisters. Credit: Louise-Donovan

MLD Area chair, Hannah Riley Bowles, who also serves as Co-Director of the Women and Public Policy Program at HKS, commended Rangita’s HKS appointment, stating: “We are honored and delighted that HKS will continue to benefit from Rangita’s intellectual energy and role model. In addition to her scholarship on gender in international law, Rangita brings direct experience working with governments and international institutions to bring a gender lens to peace and security.”

Martha Minow, the 300th Anniversary University Professor at Harvard University and former Dean of Harvard Law School, recently said of Rangita, “I know of no one with more expertise, tenacity, and devotion when it comes to advancing women’s rights . . . Rangita would be a stellar contributor to the efforts to protect against gender-based violence and to make human rights meaningful regardless of an individual’s gender.”

MLD-236 with Rangita de Silva de Alwis be offered at Harvard Kennedy School in the fall semester. This course makes an excellent complement to the following other AY23 HKS courses:

If you have any questions about this course, or any other in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator.

About feature photo above: Sohaila Noori, 29, owner of a sewing workshop, poses at her workshop in Kabul, Afghanistan January 15, 2022.
Source: REUTERS/Ali Khara  (https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/afghan-women-losing-jobs-fast-economy-shrinks-rights-curtailed-2022-01-20/ )

Training for a New Generation of Leaders: MLD-322 The Art and Adventures of Public Leadership with David Gergen

Having spent an extraordinary lifetime advising and observing top leaders in politics, diplomacy, the military, business, higher education, and philanthropy, Public Service Professor of Public Leadership David Gergen is uniquely positioned to guide Harvard students aspiring to the highest levels of leadership.

Watch: David Gergen on what is necessary for leadership. CBS Sunday Morning profile video. May 2022 (Click to view)

In his course MLD-322 The Art and Adventures of Public Leadership, Gergen aims to help prepare rising members of a new generation for lives of service and public leadership. In an intimate seminar setting – smaller than past enrollments of this course – Gergen and students will explore together some of the key questions that confront those who seek to make a difference in an increasingly turbulent world.

Questions explored range from the personal to the political.  For instance, as you leave the Kennedy School and build a career, what are the personal qualities, values, and skills that one needs have or develop to lead successfully? When and how can one successfully jump into the public arena and still manage a balanced life at home? When facing a serious setback – a “crucible moment,” as Gergen calls them — how do you, as a young leader, find the resilience to recover and push yourself forward?  When is it the right time for you to enter the public arena? How do you find your voice and mobilize others? How do you build and nurture a strong team? How do you build and sustain a social movement?

For answers, Gergen draws on life journeys of leaders from different points in history, seeking out parallels and differences that can help students in their own leadership development. The leaders studied reflect the diversity of those who have struggled to create a more just and open world. The coursework includes biographical readings, leadership literature, films, classroom discussions, and also guest appearances by a diverse set of leaders who have wisdom to impart.

Cover of "Hearts Touched with Fire" a book by David GergenThis past Spring Gergen published an inspiring playbook for emerging change-makers called Hearts Touched with Fire. In the book Gergen has collected many of the stories and lessons learned from his years closely studying leaders, and he issues a call to the younger generations around the world to step up and lead through the array of challenges we are facing today. Both Gergen’s new book, and his previously published classic Eyewitness to Power are excellent companion readings to MLD-322 and other leadership development courses at Harvard Kennedy School like the courses in adaptive leadership, moral leadership, public narrative, and, also, American presidential leadership.

MLD-322 will be offered at Harvard Kennedy School in the fall semester. If you have any questions about this course, or any other in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator.

Female doctor attending to male patient

MLD-636: Managing Transformations in Healthcare with Thomas Glynn

Learning from practice is a hallmark of the Harvard Kennedy School, and our faculty includes numerous talented individuals who have spent significant portions of their careers in public service.  Perhaps the best example is adjunct lecturer Thomas Glynn.

Glynn’s long and distinguished career has spanned across the public-, private- and non-profit sectors, and covered an array of public policy domains, including public health, labor, transportation, and urban development. From 1983 to 1988 Glynn served as Deputy Commissioner of Public Welfare in Massachusetts which included oversight of the Commonwealth’s Medicaid program. From 1989 to 1991, Glynn was the General Manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority which includes subway, trolley, bus, paratransit and commuter rail services for Greater Boston. In 1991 the Mayor of Boston, Raymond Flynn, tapped Glynn to chair the Mayor’s Healthcare Commission with a focus on improving the performance of neighborhood health centers. Then, in 1993, Glynn was nominated by President Bill Clinton to be U.S.  Deputy Secretary of Labor. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent and served through April 15, 1996. HKS adjunct lecturer Tom Glynn

Subsequently, from 1996 to 2010 he served as COO of Partners Healthcare (now called “Mass General Brigham | Integrated Health Care System”), a network of Harvard hospitals, clinicians, and neighborhood health centers. Stepping down from Partners in 2010, Glynn joined the Harvard Kennedy School for the first time, teaching MLD-101, then the introductory public management course in the MPP core, and serving as the faculty chair of an executive program for new State Commissioners for Public Health.  Called into public service again, Glynn left HKS to serve from 2012-2018 as CEO of the Massachusetts Port Authority which includes Boston’s Logan International Airport, four maritime businesses in the Port of Boston and significant real estate portfolios in the South Boston Seaport and East Boston Waterfront. In 2018 Glynn returned to Harvard, becoming Chief Executive Officer of the Harvard Allston Land Company, overseeing the University’s non-institutional development of its Enterprise Research Campus in Allston, MA. In Fall of 2019, Glynn stepped back into the HKS classroom as an adjunct lecturer teaching courses in on strategic management for public service organizations.  Glynn continues to serve on the Board of Directors of the Pine Street Inn, an agency that serves the homeless, the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute for Health Professions, and several other non-profit healthcare organizations.  For his exceptional service, Glynn was named a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.

Bringing his wealth of experience into his course MLD-636: Managing Transformations in Healthcare Glynn focuses on how to successfully manage transformations in the U.S. healthcare system. Transformations in healthcare include changing reimbursement models, initiatives to improve quality, and projects to redesign the care delivery system. Unsurprisingly, given his experience, this course will work across sectors – non-profit, private, and public sectors, including federal, state and local levels.  Using primarily the case-method pedagogy, this course will begin with a focus on diagnosing specific contextual, organizational, and cultural challenges faced by organizations delivering healthcare.  Then the course will turn to management tools that can transform the healthcare delivery system. These tools include: 1) managing silos, 2) enhancing the role of clinicians, 3) goal setting and monitoring, and 4) public health campaigns. Glynn also plans to bring into his class several distinguished guest lecturers who are in the heart of current practice.

MLD-636 will be offered at Harvard Kennedy School in the fall semester. If you have any questions about this course, or any other in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator.

MLD-601: Operations Management with Mark Fagan

Operations are at the heart of public service delivery. Considering essential service providers currently in the spotlight like the U.S. Postal Service, state-level providers of unemployment insurance, and public health agencies throughout the world charged with distributing the COVID-19 vaccines to populations across the globes, we see that optimal operations management can be critical to people’s lives.  What, then, does it take for leaders of organizations like these to optimize for both effectiveness and efficiency, delivering for the public, and satisfying those to whom they are accountable?  MLD-601: Operations Management taught by versatile Lecturer in Public Policy Mark Fagan explores how operations management is critical to value creation in the public sector. Featuring experiential learning through consulting projects with local government agencies and non-profit organizations, Fagan’s course helps students tackle real operations management issues. Past clients have included the City of Boston, Boston Public Schools, Children’s Hospital, Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, Massachusetts Department of Youth Services, Massachusetts Department of Revenue, and Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy.  One recent notable student project was on “Improving Data Operations at Pine Street Inn’s Workforce Development Unit,” which aimed to help this major Boston organization understand and manage its job training program for homeless people.

At the end of this rigorous but fun course students will be able to:

  1. See opportunities to improve operations.
  2. Diagnose the problems and barriers to creating value.
  3. Design effective and efficient solutions.
  4. Apply concepts to solve client issues.

In addition to Operations Management, Fagan also teaches MLD-605: Systems Thinking and Supply Chain Management (Spring) and a  section of the MPP core course API-501 Policy Design and Delivery I.

Learn more about the work of Fagan and his students in these courses by exploring the Autonomous Vehicles Policy Initiative at the Taubman Center for State and Local Government,
Listen to Fagan discuss how policymakers can navigate the robot car revolution on this HKS PolicyCast podcast.

Read how students in the Spring 2020 Supply Chain Management course went to work to help when the COVID-19 struck

Harvard Kennedy School course helps COVID-19 front lines

For questions about any of Mark Fagan’s courses, or any other in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator.

MLD-208 Moral Practice for Public Leadership with Chris Robichaud

For Chris Robichaud, HKS Senior Lecturer in Ethics and Public Policy, it’s not enough to teach interesting ethical principles: “I want students to see ethics all around them, not just as something we talk about in a classroom.” With HKS students aspiring to a wide variety of leadership positions, Robichaud’s new course, MLD-208: Moral Practice for Public Leadership explores how moral practice can inform, complement, and most importantly improve all sorts of good public leadership. This new course does not simply offer another theory of leadership—“moral leadership”—but instead Robichaud aims to foster “moral practice,” specifically, a set of exercises, activities, and methods, to teach students to cultivate their moral perception, moral imagination, and moral character, all of which are directed towards improved moral action in the public sphere.

Students will come away with insight into their own ethos, strategies on how to continue to develop it (a lifelong pursuit), and models on how to have it deeply inform their own public leadership practice.

Students in MLD-208 will explore cross-cultural philosophical traditions, ancient as well as contemporary, to learn about this conception of ethics, understood not merely as a set of intellectual doctrines—not merely as a kind of thinking or reasoning—but as an entire ethos—as a way of life. As a bonus, students will come to learn how several of the most popular notions in leadership studies—purpose, character, authenticity, happiness and more—have their roots in philosophy, roots worth examining. MLD-208 is therefore a valuable complement to other HKS leadership courses, such as MLD-201, -202, -204, -215, -340, 355 and -617M.

Chris Robichaud pointing and smiling against a purple background with a diagram behind him
Sr. Lecturer Chris Robichaud

Robichaud who also serves as the Director of Pedagogical Innovation at Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard is consistently one of the school’s most pedagogically innovative instructors. His focus ever since arriving at Harvard has been on developing ways to teach ethics to students through active experiences. “There’s a stickiness that comes out of ethical simulations; students remember the kind of learning they have around them,” he says. Recent HKS alums will always remember the “Zombie Apocalypse” exercise that Robichaud created and fielded during the school’s student orientation.

For more on Robichaud’s pedagogy, including a brief preview and discussion of the Zombie Apocalypse simulation, view his SXSW EDU 2021 conversation “Why Teach Students About Zombies & Superheroes”

See also Robichaud’s 2020 article with Tomer J. Perry in Journal of Political Science Education “Teaching Ethics Using Simulations: Active Learning Exercises in Political Theory” (Vol.16; No.2): 225-242.

In addition, says Robichaud, “I’ve tried to take popular entertainment, with a focus on scary movies and superheroes (things I love), and show that you really can extract some interesting lessons in moral philosophy and ethics from that entertainment.”   See, for example, this discussion with Robichaud courtesy of WIRED magazine, titled “Harvard Professor Explains What the Avengers Can Teach Us About Philosophy.” 

In keeping to form, MLD-208 will employ a variety of tools to accomplish its learning goals, from the “usual suspects”—cases, simulations, film and other forms of fiction—to new experiential exercises. Students will come away with insight into their own ethos, strategies on how to continue to develop it (a lifelong pursuit), and models on how to have it deeply inform their own public leadership practice.

MLD-208 will be offered in the fall semester at the Harvard Kennedy School. For questions about these courses, or any other in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator.

Make a Difference through Government: Data-Driven Public Management with Elizabeth Linos

In this age of deep societal challenges and growing complexity, when government at all levels is tasked with implementing a wide and growing range of policies to ensure and improve the public good, public managers and those working with governments can find it very difficult to move the needle on important programs and policy initiatives.
With her new course MLD-125 Data-Driven Public Management , Professor Elizabeth Linos introduces graduate students to the central elements of public management and policy implementation, with a focus on three core challenges that public managers face: managing programs; managing people; and managing change.  A sampling of the questions explored in this course include:

  • How can governments use data and evidence to improve program performance and what do you do when the data is bad?
  • How do we reduce administrative burdens in government and why does it matter?
  • How can we recruit, retain, and support frontline workers?
  • What are the big dilemmas around algorithmic decision-making, nudging, participatory government, and other innovations that an effective public manager should consider?

Using academic theory from public management, real-world case studies, and a series of guest speakers who work in and with government, students will learn about the barriers and opportunities to make a difference through government.  While most of the cases studied will focus on federal, state, and local government challenges in the U.S., Linos draws on best practices and studies from around the world.

Portrait photo of Elizabeth Linos smiling
Elizabeth Linos

Dr. Elizabeth Linos joined HKS in July 2022 as the Emma Bloomberg Associate Professor for Public Policy and Management.  Linos is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College with majors in Government and Economics. She earned her PhD in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School in 2016, and went on to spend 5 years as Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley
Between college and graduate school, Linos worked directly in government as a policy advisor to the Greek Prime Minister, George Papandreou, focusing on social innovation and public sector reform. While pursuing her doctorate, Linos spent two years as Vice President, Head of Research and Evaluation at the Behavioral Insights Team – North America, working with government agencies in the U.S. and the U.K. to improve programs using behavioral science and to build capacity around rigorous evaluation. In 2021 she was appointed, and now remains, a non-resident Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution.

Linos’ research focuses on how to improve government by focusing on its people and the services they deliver. Specifically, she uses insights from behavioral science and evidence from public management to consider how to recruit, retain, and support the government workforce, how to reduce administrative burdens that low-income households face when they interact with their government, and how to better integrate evidence-based policymaking into government. To those ends, Elizabeth founded and now directs The People Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government with a mission to empower the public sector by producing cutting-edge research on the people of government and the communities they are called to serve. For more information, follow the work of The People Lab on Twitter.

MLD-125 will be offered in the fall semester. For questions about these courses, or any other in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator.