September 30, 2019
Ambassador Wendy Sherman has been at the table for some of the most challenging negotiations in recent history. She’s held talks with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il and sparred with Iranian officials to hammer out the 2015 nuclear weapons deal. Now she’s brought what she’s learned about authentic leadership, diplomacy, and succeeding as a woman in a male-dominated field to a new book, which is titled “Not for the Faint of Heart: Lessons in Courage, Power and Persistence”
September 16, 2019
Harvard Kennedy School Lecturer Mark Fagan is spearheading the Autonomous Vehicles Policy Initiative at the Taubman Center for State and Local Government, helping to ensure government officials can successfully navigate the impending robot car revolution. Mark talks with host Thoko Moyo about how AVs could have disruptive impacts on traffic safety and congestion, public transit, jobs, and even data privacy.
September 14, 2019
Harvard Kennedy School's PolicyCast is back! Enjoy this preview of our relaunch with host Thoko Moyo of upcoming episodes featuring autonomous vehicles expert Mark Fagan, Center for Public Leadership Director Ambassador Wendy Sherman, and Professor Erica Chenoweth, who has conducted groundbreaking research on the effectiveness of nonviolent civil movements.
May 30, 2018
Professor Ricardo Hausmann, director of the Kennedy School’s Center for International Development, and Tim Cheston, a research fellow with the center’s Growth Lab, explain how they leveraged data from the Atlas of Economic Complexity to assess the knowhow of more than 130 countries and predict their economic growth over the next eight years.
May 23, 2018
Robby Mook, co-director of the Defending Digital Democracy Project, discusses the cyber security challenges faced by both political campaigns and election officials, and how they can be addressed.
May 16, 2018
HKS Professor Maya Sen, co-author of the new book “Deep Roots: How Slavery Still Shapes Southern Politics,” explains how she and her colleagues were able to pinpoint the extent to which slavery continues to affect political beliefs to this day.
May 9, 2018
Lecturer John Park, director of the Kennedy School’s Korea Working Group, lays out the stakes for both North and South Korea, as well as China and the United States, as they enter into negotiations over denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
May 2, 2018
In the first part of an ongoing series on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, Dr. Gary Samore, the Belfer Center’s executive director for research, describes the history of North Korea’s nuclear weapons development and subsequent international efforts to dismantle it, including a landmark 1994 agreement which he helped negotiate. He details the negotiating tactics employed by North Korea in the past, expresses skepticism over the possibility of a complete denuclearization, and weighs in on the Trump Administration’s negotiating strategy.
April 18, 2018
Cathryn Clüver-Ashbrook, executive director of both the Future of Diplomacy Project and the Project on Trans-Atlantic and European Relations out of the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center, describes the changing nature of relations between Europe and Russia, providing historical context, examining contemporary factors such as the Syrian civil war and Russian election meddling, and describing how the new Project on Trans-Atlantic and European Relations, chaired by HKS Professor Nicholas Burns, seeks to find solutions to the emerging challenges.
April 11, 2018
Hamilton Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda discusses his advocacy for Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, how he thinks about using his celebrity to effect change, and the falling barriers to minority representation in film and television.
April 4, 2018
Economist Thomas Piketty details the policies he believes will be key to overcoming the wealth inequality illustrated in his seminal 2013 book, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.” He also discusses the 2018 World Inequality Report, which builds on and updates the data sets first featured in “Capital,” except on a global scale thanks to the involvement of more than one hundred economists around the world. Piketty was on campus to deliver the Wiener Center’s inaugural Stone Lecture on Economic Inequality.
March 28, 2018
Shorenstein Fellow Dipayan Ghosh joins us again for part two of our extended interview on data privacy, digital advertising, and their effect on our democracies. In this episode, Ghosh moves beyond the Cambridge Analytica scandal to focus on publically available, data-driven advertising tools and how they can be leveraged by politicians and nefarious agents alike to manipulate voters.
March 28, 2018
As the Cambridge Analytica scandal continues to unfold, Joan Shorenstein Fellow Dipayan Ghosh, who recently left Facebook's Privacy and Public Policy team, joins us for a double-header on data privacy, digital advertising, and their effect on our democracies. In this episode, Ghosh walks through the myriad ways companies like Facebook and Google collect and leverage data to target users, increase engagement, and ultimately sell advertising. He then discusses the challenges inherent in any effort to regulate the industry.
March 21, 2018
Professor Jane Mansbridge explains why efforts to pass an Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution have failed in the past, but could now have a real shot at ratification.
March 14, 2018
Bruce Katz explains what makes cities different from state and national governments, and why that difference has allowed them to thrive while populism and partisanship grip state and national governments. Using Boston, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and Copenhagen as examples, Katz illustrates how the unique network effects of cities lead to innovative solutions to public problems. Katz was on campus as a guest of both the Center for Public Leadership and Ash Center.
March 7, 2018
Tufts Professor Michael Klein explains how he’s using to better inform the broader public about economics. The non-partisan publication features easily-digestible briefs on topical economic issues authored by a network of economists around the country, including HKS Professors David Deming, Jeffrey Frankel, and Mark Shepard.
February 28, 2018
Mayor Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans, a Hauser Visiting Leader at the Center for Public Leadership, describes the years-long process involved with removing four confederate monuments in New Orleans, including statues of Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis.
February 21, 2018
HKS Prof. Stephen Goldsmith describes how cities are poised to shed the strict bureaucracies of the 20th century in favor of a distributed governance model where the city acts as a platform and service providers can be evaluated by outcomes.
February 14, 2018
Adam Conner, a spring 2018 fellow at the Institute of Politics, digs into the nuance behind the question many are asking about platforms like Facebook and Twitter, namely: are they good for democracy?
February 7, 2018
Admiral James “Sandy” Winnefeld, a non-resident senior fellow at the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center, knows firsthand the damage inflicted by the ongoing opioid crisis. After losing his son to addiction in late 2017, he has committed himself to finding solutions to the seemingly intractable public health dilemma. He discusses his recently-launched foundation Stop the Addiction Fatality Epidemic (SAFE) and the six strategies they are pursuing from awareness to prevention to treatment.
February 1, 2018
Francisco Marquez Lara MPP 2012 describes his experience as a political prisoner in his home country of Venezuela. He describes what drove him to pursue his political advocacy despite the inherent risks, what his experience was like in captivity, what he learned from the ordeal, and what motivates him to continue his advocacy in exile. Marquez is the Executive Director of Vision Democratica Foundation and a fellow at the Ash Center’s Democracy in Hard Places Initiative.
December 20, 2017
The Shorenstein Center’s Claire Wardle and journalist Hossein Derakhshan explain how information disorder explain how information disorder has taken the world by storm, breaking down how it’s created, produced, and distributed, paying particular attention to the ways in which social media has exacerbated the problem, and making the case that the term F*** News isn’t just inaccurate, but actively harmful to democratic institutions.
December 13, 2017
HKS Lecturer Juliette Kayyem provides context to the endless stream of news regarding Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. In addition to giving a brief on what we now know, Kayyem also discusses the potential ramifications if President Trump were to attempt to fire Mueller in a move reminiscent of Nixon’s infamous Saturday Night Massacre.
December 7, 2017
With tax reform legislation now in conference committee having cleared both the U.S. House and Senate, HKS Professor Jason Furman returns with an update on where things stand.
November 29, 2017
HKS Professor Nicholas Burns sounds the alarm about what he sees as a deliberate attempt to dismantle the US State Department and Foreign Service.
November 22, 2017
HKS Senior Lecturer Jeff Seglin offers advice and strategies on how to handle conversations about politics with family and friends who you may not see eye to eye with. And as an added bonus, he shares his family recipe for turkey stuffing.
November 15, 2017
Kansas City Mayor Sly James explains why city governments have become models for policy innovation and good governance while federal and state governments continue to be mired in partisan gridlock. He speaks to the value of data-driven decision making, as well as his experience enticing Google to pilot their high speed internet service in Kansas City, and the ongoing attempts to attract Amazon’s 2nd headquarters. James is a Fall 2017 Visiting Fellow at both the Institute of Politics and the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.
November 8, 2017
HKS Professor Ricardo Hausmann, the director of the Kennedy School’s Center for International Development, explains the concept of economic complexity and why it has become a reliable predictor of future economic growth. He also discusses the Atlas of Economic Complexity, an interactive website that could help entrepreneurs and policymakers see where a particular country’s economy is heading. This interview was originally recorded in 2013.
November 1, 2017
HKS Professor Jason Furman speaks with host Matt Cadwallader about the Trump administration’s tax reform proposal, expressing serious doubts about some of the claims made by the Council of Economic Advisors, a White House agency he previously presided over as chairman from 2013 to early 2017. Among the issues he digs into are simplifying the tax code; increasing the standard deduction for the middle class; how cutting the corporate tax would affect workers’ wages; repatriation of money held by foreign subsidiaries of US corporations; why it’s important that tax cuts be revenue neutral; and where he and House Speaker Paul Ryan would agree on tax reform.
October 25, 2017
Former US Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, currently a Fall 2017 Fellow at the Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics, recounts her experiences as a private sector executive and how they shaped her attitude towards environmental stewardship, and ultimately prepared her for her role in President Obama’s cabinet.
October 18, 2017
Former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and former Doctors for America CEO Alice Chen dive into the state of healthcare in the United States, from the Trump administration’s recent moves to end cost-sharing subsidies, to finding ways to cut costs by focusing efforts on prevention. They also discuss the oft-neglected impact of loneliness and stress on health. Dr. Chen and Vice Admiral Murthy were on campus as guests of the Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership.
October 11, 2017
Professor Tony Saich, director of the Kennedy School's Ash Center, lays out the challenges and tensions China faces just before the Communist Party gathers to choose its leadership at the 19th Party Congress, and how President Xi Jinping hopes to overcome them.
September 27, 2017
As Chairman of the FCC, Tom Wheeler reclassified broadband as a public utility to ensure that internet service providers would continue to treat all data equally. Now, his successor is trying to undo those efforts, and he’s not happy about it.
September 20, 2017
As South Africa’s Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela investigated and exposed corruption at the highest levels of government. Now she’s a fellow at the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative and is sharing her experience and insights on what it takes to hold powerful public officials accountable.
September 13, 2017
The bloody events that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia this summer shocked the national conscience, leaving many to wonder how such a thing could take place in modern America. In this week’s roundtable discussion, Professor Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Lecturer Robert Livingston, and IOP Fall 2017 Fellow Karen Finney put Charlottesville into a broader historical, psychological, and economic context.
September 6, 2017
Dr. John Park digs into the domestic and international forces driving North Korea’s recent nuclear provocations.
June 22, 2017
For the last few months, former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has been working with students and faculty at HKS on the deeply complex problems he grappled with during his decade-long tenure as the world's top diplomat. In this episode, Ban discusses the experiences that drove him to pursue public service as a young man - including a high school encounter with John F. Kennedy; the skillset that sets effective world leaders apart; the oft-overlooked connection between climate change and an increase in violent conflict; his reaction to the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement; and his advice for young people who are eager to make the world better and more prosperous.   Ban is currently at HKS as an Angelopolous Global Public Leaders Fellow.
June 7, 2017
Prof. Dani Rodrik has never been shy about bucking conventional wisdom, and many of his insights, often deemed unorthodox at their inception, now seem prescient. Nowhere is that more clear than in his warning, twenty years ago, that unrestricted globalization could have a backlash effect, straining the fundamental ideals that support democratic governance. In this episode, Rodrik explains some of his more notable insights, and discusses his new book, which takes aim at both economists and their detractors, seeking a middle ground where academic rigor can be effectively applied in the real world.
May 24, 2017
Former EPA Chief Gina McCarthy explains how she was able to get utility companies, the largest source of carbon emissions in the United States, on board with regulations to fight global climate change. The resulting Clean Power Plan has helped bring emissions from US electricity production to their lowest level since 1993. She also discusses the EPA’s future under Scott Pruitt, her successor in the Trump administration, and the risks of disregarding science as a means for formulating policy.
May 17, 2017
HKS and HGSE Professor David Deming delves into the complicated causes and consequences of inequality, discusses why jobs lost from traditional sectors like manufacturing aren’t likely to return, and explains his belief in education as an important piece of the solution.
May 10, 2017
Farai Chideya has covered every presidential election since 1996, but after last year’s raucous campaign, she wondered how how political campaign coverage is influenced by the gender and racial makeup of our political press. This spring she joined the Shorenstein Center as a Joan Shorenstein Fellow to take a closer look at the question, but was surprised by the number of newsrooms that were deeply reluctant to engage on the subject.
May 3, 2017
After a series of upset victories for right-wing populist movements around the globe, the French presidential election has been subject to close international scrutiny. But the narratives that animate that scrutiny often reflect international uncertainty over the stability of the post-war liberal world order, rather than the complicated politics that have driven France over the last few years. As Tip O’Neill famously said, all politics is local. In this episode, our three experts discuss the shifting political landscape in France and Europe, and give context to anyone watching from abroad. The roundtable features HKS Adjunct Professor Muriel Rouyer, Ash Center Senior Visiting Fellow Yves Sintomer, and Future of Diplomacy Project Executive Director Cathryn Cluver.
April 24, 2017
Former New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, a visiting fellow at both the Kennedy School's Belfer Center and Institute of Politics, takes us behind the scenes of Justice Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, reflects on the value of the U.S. Senate and its infamous filibuster, and discusses the challenges facing Republicans as they try to turn their control of Congress and the White House into meaningful legislative victories.
April 14, 2017
Senior Lecturer Marshall Ganz describes the essential role of storytelling in leadership and organizing. He explains how skilled campaigners leverage the public narrative to their advantage by appealing first to the heart, and then the mind, and cites recent examples from both sides of the aisle.
April 4, 2017
HKS Professor David Keith describes both the promise and peril involved with using geo-engineering to mitigate the effects of climate change. Solar radiation management (SRM) could conceivably cool the earth by placing particles in the upper atmosphere that reflect sunlight away. It's an idea that goes back as far as the Johnson administration, but has long been seen as too risky to be worth serious study. But Professor Keith says that's now changing. The study of SRM evokes a tremendous number of questions - scientific, moral, and even psychological - all of which we touch on in this episode.
March 22, 2017
Former Time Managing Editor Rick Stengel, who recently stepped down as U.S. Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, emphasizes the value of the State Department’s public diplomacy efforts, despite signs that the Trump Administration could soon curtail them. He also discusses how journalism needs to adapt to a crowded marketplace of ideas where facts aren't always regarded as necessary. Stengel is currently the Walter Shorenstein Media and Democracy Fellow at the Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center.
March 15, 2017
Josh Earnest, former White House Press Secretary during the Obama administration, offers his assessment of the Trump administration’s handling of the press, and gives a behind the scenes look at several key moments in Obama’s second term, including when ISIS overtook the Iraqi city of Mosul, the accidental killing of an American hostage in a US counterterrorism operation, and Hillary Clinton’s surprise loss on election night in 2016. Earnest was on campus for a JFK Jr. Forum event cosponsored by the Center for Public Leadership.
March 8, 2017
How do you turn protest into policy? Three HKS experts discuss the aftermath of the historic Women’s March on Washington this past January, and explain what needs to happen next in order to translate that activism into real policy changes. Featuring HKS Assistant Professor Leah Wright Rigueur, Women and Public Policy Program Executive Director Victoria Budson, and HKS Adjunct Lecturer Tim McCarthy.
March 2, 2017
Mary Graham, Co-Director of the Transparency Policy Project at the Kennedy School’s Ash Center, discusses her book Presidents’ Secrets: The Use and Abuse of Hidden Power, which traces the evolution of secrecy in the executive branch, beginning with George Washington’s remarkably open administration, through the communist scares of the 20th century, all the way to the current president, Donald Trump.
February 15, 2017
Gil Kerlikowske, the recently retired commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and current Institute of Politics fellow, discusses the breakdowns in the rollout of the Trump administration’s executive order limiting travel by citizens of seven Middle Eastern nations into the United States. Kerlikowske details the complexity involved in implementing a major policy across the country’s largest law enforcement agency, and how a lack of planning and communication ended up creating chaos after the executive order was signed.
February 13, 2017
HKS Professor Matthew Bunn, co-principal investigator for the Belfer Center’s Project on Managing the Atom, explains how the US nuclear arsenal is managed, what the outgoing Obama administration’s $1 trillion commitment to modernization will entail, and what, if any, changes can be expected under President Trump. He also discusses the state of non-proliferation and the greatest nuclear threats the world faces today.
February 1, 2017
HKS Professor Kathryn Sikkink shows how human rights efforts over the last century have largely succeeded in improving the living conditions for the vast majority of the world, and that even though the work is far from over and setbacks are inevitable, there is reason to have hope for things to continue to improve.
January 18, 2017
Three faculty members discuss the history of presidential leadership, how Donald Trump’s business experience will translate to the federal government, and how his relationship with a republican congress could play out. Guests include Senior Lecturer David King, chair of the Kennedy School’s Masters of Public Administration programs, Lecturer Barbara Kellerman, Founding Executive Director of the School’s Center for Public Leadership, and Professor Roger Porter, who served for more than a decade in senior economic policy positions in the White House.
January 11, 2017
Three HKS faculty members discuss the broad economic challenges facing President Donald Trump as he takes office, including the cumulative effects of decades of wage stagnation, rising healthcare costs, and declining economic mobility, as well as the growing challenges posed by automation and the gig economy. Featuring Dean Douglas Elmendorf, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, Professor Brigitte Madrian, a behavioral economist focused on household savings and investment behavior, and Professor David Ellwood, director of the Wiener Center for Social Policy, where he is currently focused on inequality and mobility. This is the second in a three-part series of roundtable discussions, produced in collaboration with HKS Magazine, on the challenges facing President-elect Trump in foreign policy, economics, and leadership.
January 4, 2017
As Donald Trump prepares to take office, three HKS faculty members discuss the challenges he’ll face in pursuing his unique brand of politics on the world stage. Featuring former US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, former Department of Homeland Security Official Juliette Kayyem and Foreign Policy Columnist Stephen Walt.
December 21, 2016
Sushma Raman, executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights and adjunct lecturer at Harvard Kennedy School, digs into the challenges facing human rights organizations on both the international and local levels and how they are rising up to meet the challenge.
December 14, 2016
HKS Professor Sheila Jasanoff urges us to closely consider the ways technologies have come to govern our lives, and question if unbridled technological innovation is inherently a good thing, or if it’s worth taking a step back before we make the next giant leap.
December 7, 2016
US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy discusses the challenges posed by the growing crisis of opioid addiction in the United States, how to combat the over-prescription of painkillers, and the importance of eliminating the stigma that often surrounds addiction. He also discusses how his advocacy on public health issues will continue during the Trump administration. Murthy was on campus thanks to the Center for Public Leadership, the Wiener Center, and the HKS Healthcare Policy Program to deliver the Seymour E. and Ruth B. Harris Lecture at the JFK Jr. Forum.
November 30, 2016
Nancy Lindborg, President of the U.S. Institute of Peace, discusses the development of practical tools that empower communities around the world to avoid violent conflict before it starts, and de-escalate where violence has already erupted.
November 23, 2016
Dr. Amanda Sloat, former US State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for Southern Europe and Eastern Mediterranean Affairs, explains the situation in Turkey, just a few months removed from a military coup attempt, as it grapples with stark internal political divisions, violent conflicts in neighboring Syria and Iraq, an influx of millions of refugees and increasingly tense alliances with the United States and European Union.
November 16, 2016
Chuck Hagel, former US secretary of defense, discusses what motivated him to pursue military and public service, and examines how military service is regarded in modern American society. Secretary Hagel is at the Kennedy School as a joint visiting fellow at the Institute of Politics and Belfer Center.
November 9, 2016
HKS Associate Professor Todd Rogers demonstrates the drastic emotional impact electoral wins and losses have on political partisans, influencing their overall happiness even more than national tragedies. He also discusses our tendency to believe in a favorable future and introduces the concept of paltering, which describes the active use of truthful statements to mislead.
November 2, 2016
HKS Professor Alex Keyssar offers an historical perspective to modern worries about rigged elections and weighs the prevention of voter fraud against the risk of voter suppression.
October 26, 2016
Peter Quilter, a non-resident fellow at the Kennedy School’s Ash Center, details the internal state of affairs in Colombia, Venezuela, and Cuba, revealing that despite the unique nature of each country’s problems, their futures are all interconnected.
October 19, 2016
HKS Professor Khalil Gibran Muhammad makes the case that modern hot-button issues surrounding race, policing and mass incarceration are fundamentally rooted in a widespread failure to educate Americans about their country’s racial history.
October 12, 2016
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, recipient of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, discusses his desire to pursue peace despite the concessions it might entail in a 2013 interview on PolicyCast. Santos had been on campus to deliver an address at the JFK Jr. Forum, sponsored by the Institute of Politics.
October 5, 2016
HKS Lecturer Siddharth Kara of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy explains how his research into the tens of millions of girls around the world who have been forced into sexual slavery led him to Hollywood, where he wrote and produced the new feature film “Trafficked.” The film, based on true stories, follows three enslaved teens who end up in a Texas brothel after being trafficked across the globe.
September 28, 2016
Iranian journalist Yeganeh Rezaian, a Fall 2016 Joan Shorenstein Fellow at the Shorenstein Center, discusses the challenges she faced as a reporter in her home country, and describes the common thread that joins her experience with that of journalists, especially women, across the Middle East. She then offers advice to young reporters interested in reporting from the region.
September 21, 2016
HKS Professor Thomas Patterson, author of an ongoing series of reports out of the Shorenstein Center on the media's coverage of the 2016 election cycle, discusses what he sees as troubling consequences of how the press approaches reporting on the campaign.
June 1, 2016
Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright encourages young activists to join established systems in order to learn how to drive change from within; discusses the emerging relevance of non-state actors in the international system; offers her take on a proposed wall along the US/Mexico border; and expresses her hope that Americans will welcome in more Syrian refugees.
May 25, 2016
HKS Lecturer Juliette Kayyem, a national security expert and author of “Security Mom,” digs into the “Goldilocks” problem of security in the United States, analyzing whether the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) is worth the cost and hassle to air travellers; providing historical context to US approaches to safety and security; and explaining why national security is shaping up to become the central theme in the 2016 presidential general election, and what that means for the candidates.
May 18, 2016
US Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James discusses the return of the Air Force's Reserve Officer Training Corps to Harvard; how remotely piloted drones have affected the United States' modern approach to warfare; whether serious issues regarding the command and control of US nuclear weapons have been adequately addressed; why the modernization of the nuclear arsenal is worth the $1 trillion it is expected to cost; and how the Air Force can foster more diversity in its ranks.
May 11, 2016
Ambassador Kristie Kenney, counselor of the US State Department, gives her perspective on leadership in diplomacy, drawing on her experience as US ambassador to Ecuador, Thailand and the Philippines. She discusses what traits are most important, how she assembles her staff, why she became an avid social media user, and how technology will continue to change how the diplomatic corps operates.
May 4, 2016
Dr. Howard Koh, former Assistant Secretary for Health at the US Department of Health and Human Services and professor at both the Harvard Chan School of Public Health and the Kennedy School, counters the popular perception that the fight against tobacco has been won, stressing that every day in the United States, thousands more teenagers pick up the habit. He discusses the new frontier opened up by e-cigarettes, recent efforts across the country to raise the smoking age to 21, and new regulations that have banned smokeless tobacco in several major league baseball stadiums.
April 27, 2016
Northeastern Professor Dan Kennedy, a spring 2016 Joan Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center, describes the fates of three newspapers, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe and the Orange County Register, that were bought in recent years by individuals with significant financial means but little background in journalism. He explains the differing approaches each paper has taken to find a sustainable business model, discusses how the models have impacted the quality of reporting, and interprets what other news organizations might learn from their examples.
April 20, 2016
Ambassador Gary Locke, the first Chinese-American to serve as US ambassador to China, reflects on how his personal and family history influenced his approach to diplomacy, both with China and with his own constituents.
April 13, 2016
Jill Abramson, former executive editor of the New York Times and current Harvard lecturer, discusses media coverage of both sides of the 2016 presidential campaign, relating her experiences reporting on presidential races since 1976.
April 6, 2016
BBC Reporter Joanna Jolly, currently a Joan Shorenstein Fellow at the Shorenstein Center, discusses her research into the aftermath of the infamous Delhi gang rape in 2012. She describes the various ways in which news outlets covered the story and how they influenced the Indian society’s response. *Warning: this episode includes graphic language and violent subjects.*
March 30, 2016
HKS Professor Bill Clark describes the rapidly growing field of sustainability science, which combines a variety of disciplines in both the hard and social sciences to find paths towards a sustainable future.
March 23, 2016
HKS Professor Jeffrey Liebman, Director of the Kennedy School’s Government Performance Lab, explains how Pay For Success, also known as Social Impact Bonds, allow governments to test out new social programs without risking taxpayer funds if they fail.
March 16, 2016
Michael Sulmeyer, Director of the Belfer Center’s Cyber Security Project, discusses the US government’s efforts to defend against cyber threats in the context of the legal battle between the FBI and Apple over its encryption methods.
March 9, 2016
HKS Professor Robert Lawrence explains what the Trans-Pacific Partnership is, how it could transform the global economy, what makes it controversial, and why its ratification has sparked a heated political discussion within both parties.
March 2, 2016
HKS Professor Iris Bohnet, Director of the Women and Public Policy Program at HKS, discusses some of the lessons in her new book, “What Works: Gender Equality By Design.” Through both academic studies and anecdotes, she explains how gender equality is often prevented by unconscious biases that can’t be unlearned, but that can be diminished significantly by even small changes in the way we do things. She also details the business case for gender equality, which isn’t as straightforward as you might think.
February 24, 2016
Vera Mironova, a research fellow at the Belfer Center’s International Security Program and the Woman and Public Policy Program, explains the cascading series of choices people face when war descends on their communities. Her surveys of frontline fighters in Syria and Ukraine help paint a picture of not just why they choose to fight, but also whom they fight for.
February 17, 2016
Eve Ensler, the Tony Award-winning author of the Vagina Monologues and a veteran activist, explains how she believes art is always political, and it’s incumbent on everyone to recognize this and stand for causes they support. She discusses her efforts to create and rally the V-Day and One Billion Rising movements, which seek to improve the lives of women around the world. Ensler was on campus for the 2015 Gleitsman International Activist Award ceremony, put on by the Center for Public Leadership.
February 10, 2016
HKS Professor Bruce Western, Chair of the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management, explains how the prison population in the United States has quintupled since the 1970s and advocates for changes to the penal code to better deal with deep-rooted social problems.
February 3, 2016
Chris Nowinski of the Concussion Legacy Foundation makes the case that head trauma in contact sports, and football in particular, is a serious public health issue that requires action by policymakers and parents alike.
January 27, 2016
HKS Lecturer Chris Robichaud takes us through a new case study (coauthored with Laura Winig) exploring the question of whether NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was justified in leaking classified materials exposing the breadth of the US government’s surveillance activities. Originally published in May 2014.
January 20, 2016
Professor Michael Ignatieff of the Shorenstein Center for Media, Politics and Public Policy makes the case that increased transparency in government makes it harder for politicians to find compromise by relating his experience as the leader of the opposition in the Canadian Parliament. He also laments the tendency to argue over the standing of those who make arguments on various issues, as opposed to the substance of the issues themselves. This episode originally published in December 2014.
January 13, 2016
HKS Alumna Fadumo Dayib recounts her story growing up as a Somali refugee and explains how her life’s experience has pushed her to mount a 2016 run for president in her homeland. This episode originally posted in March 2015.
January 6, 2016
HKS Lecturer Pippa Norris discusses her work on the Electoral Integrity Project, which assesses the veracity of elections around the globe and gives policy recommendations on how to ensure free and fair voting. This episode was originally published on December 3, 2014.
December 29, 2015
HKS Alumnus Bryan Stevenson spent his career working to address issues of racial and wealth inequality in the United States’ justice system. He believes this inequality stems from a failure of the nation to reconcile its dark history with regard to slavery and Jim Crow. His work as Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative focuses on defending those without the means to properly defend themselves. This episode was originally published on November 19, 2014.
December 22, 2015
Senior Lecturer Hannah Riley Bowles explains her research on gender in negotiations and offers advice to women trying to negotiate higher pay. She also discusses the importance of open information and why the Obama administration’s moves to address the gender wage gap are a positive development. PolicyCast is on winter hiatus and will be back with new episodes in February. This episode was originally published on April 16, 2014.
December 16, 2015
Brent Colburn, a Fall 2015 Fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics, discusses the differences between campaigning and governing, drawing on his experiences at both the US Department of Defense and on President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign to compare and contrast. He goes on to explain how the Department of Defense integrates public affairs into its decision making, how government agencies can adopt some of the more entrepreneurial aspects of campaigns, and how agencies can change to attract the talent required to tackle challenges like cyber threats.
December 9, 2015
David Ensor, former director of Voice of America and current Fall 2015 Joan Shorenstein Fellow at the Shorenstein Center, explains why Voice Of America is a key instrument in the projection of US soft power and how the organization’s commitment to objective journalism, as opposed to being an advocate for US policies, is vital to its success.
December 2, 2015
Professor Robert Stavins, Director of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements out of the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center, explains why the COP21 in Paris is a critical step in addressing anthropogenic global climate change. He discusses the history of past climate summits and lays out both his markers for success and potential impediments to a deal. More from Professor Stavins and other Kennedy School scholars can be found at
November 25, 2015
Marie Sanz, former bureau chief for the AFP in Lima, Peru and a Fall 2015 Joan Shorenstein fellow at the Shorenstein Center, describes how the announcement of normalized relations between the US and Cuba took the world – and the press, in particular – by surprise. She explains how talks between the two countries unfolded with help from Pope Francis, and discusses both the possibilities and obstacles ahead, especially regarding free speech and human rights issues.
November 18, 2015
Professor Jacqueline Bhabha, Research Director at the Harvard FXB Center for Health & Human Rights, discusses the ongoing migrant crisis in Europe and how the recent terrorist attacks in Paris might reshape policy regarding the resettlement of Syrian refugees in both Europe and the United States.
November 11, 2015
Bob Schieffer, former host of CBS News’s Face the Nation and current Walter Shorenstein Media and Democracy Fellow at the Shorenstein Center, explains the enduring popularity of the Sunday morning political talk show, offers his take on what he calls “the most different” presidential campaign in his long memory, and recounts some of his favorite stories from the campaign trail.
November 4, 2015
HKS Adjunct Lecturer Ronald Ferguson emphasizes the importance of looking beyond standardized test results and measuring students’ sense of agency - the belief that they have the capacity to succeed - in order to address lingering achievement gaps.
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