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CommuniquĂŠ

The Magazine of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation Fall 2015 Volume 17

Experiencing Innovation The Ash Center’s Innovation Field Lab is bringing data to the field


Letter from the Director

Communiqué Fall 2015, Volume 17

Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation Harvard Kennedy School 79 John F. Kennedy Street Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138

Welcome to the 17th issue of the Ash Center’s Communiqué magazine, which highlights the important work of those engaged with the center. For example, we recently announced this year's winners of the Innovation in American Government Award and our special Roy and Lila Ash Innovation Award for Public Engagement in Government, offered in commemoration of the center's 10th anniversary (p. 16). And, this past spring, Mayor Joe Curtatone of Somerville, Massachusetts, and HKS Lecturer Jorrit de Jong, launched one of Harvard Kennedy School’s most ambitious experiential learning programs to date: the Innovation Field Lab (p. 8). This course matched students with Massachusetts cities that were looking for better tools to tackle the scourge of problem properties. We also welcomed many new faculty and fellows to the center this fall, including Wael Ghonim who has been internationally recognized for helping to spur protest in Egypt using social media (p. 5). Finally, our #Tech4Democracy Showcase and Challenge, offered as part of HUBweek, brought together students, civic tech startups, entrepreneurs, and others with a connection to greater Boston to present their idea for a new app, web platform, policy, or program that leverages technology to improve the quality of democratic governance (p. 27). There is much more to be found in this issue and I hope you will enjoy reading about the efforts of our students, alumni, and scholars as they work to make a difference. As always, you can find more information about the work of the Ash Center on our website at ash.harvard.edu.

Tony Saich Director, Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation Daewoo Professor of International Affairs Harvard Kennedy School

617-495-0557 www.ash.harvard.edu Director Tony Saich Associate Director for Communications Daniel Harsha Editor Jessica Engelman Design forminform Photography David Giles Barrtosz Hadyniak, iStock Graham Hancock Dan Harsha Arn Howitt Hoang Tran Minh, iStock Maisie O’Brien Zhang Qingyuan Martha Stewart Ahsen Utku


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In this Issue IN THE NEWS

FEATURES

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Q+A with Tony Saich

Update on Southeast Asia

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Student Focus Student Research Explores Open Government Reform in Tunisia

Ash Center News and Announcements

Event Snapshots

Experiencing Innovation The Ash Center's Innovation Field Lab is developing data-driven strategies to assist cities in improving social conditions

RESEARCH BRIEF

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The Changing Role of Philanthropy in China

IN THE FIELD

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Nine Finalists Vie for Ash Center’s Prestigious Innovations in American Government Awards

Alumni in the Field Charles Data Alemi

Fellows Focus Ash Fellow Georgia Hollister Isman Is Rebuilding Public Engagement with the Democratic Process

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Student Focus Ash Center Supports Experiential and Research Activities for Students

Fellows Focus Meet Our New Fellows

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Ash Center’s 10th Anniversary Series Provides Direction for the Next Ten Years

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IN THE NEWS

Q+A with Tony Saich How badly will China be affected by the reversal of its demography later this century? Funding its social security and health-care system will become more difficult with a majority of senior citizens and fewer young workers to support them. This is one of the biggest challenges for China. It will be the first country to grow old before it grows rich and we really do not know what this means. China is already officially an old country in terms of demographics. Certainly, it will have a major impact on employment with a smaller working population carrying a heavy burden. It will produce in China the familiar guns versus butter debates that we have seen in other countries. China's demographic dividend is passing its peak and this is an advantage that the US will continue to enjoy.

Ash Center Director Tony Saich, Daewoo Professor of International Affairs, recently sat down for a question and answer session on Parlio.com, a new online platform dedicated to fostering curious and civil discourse founded by Ash Center senior fellow Wael Ghonim

China faces severe governance issues related to corruption and environmental contamination at the same time as its growth is slowing. What achievable policies would you recommend to President Xi? The campaign against corruption has been popular but unless it is institutionalized in the next phase and the system opens up to external pressure and observance, the fear is that corruption levels will rise again. The main thing for President Xi to focus on is to ensure that investment gets to where it can be most effective. This means more funding for the private sector, which is developing rapidly, and providing significant returns—and less to those state-owned enterprises that eat up capital ineffectively. Is China poised to become a plutocracy? This is difficult to answer. In theory a dominant single party should be able to adopt policies that could be in the national interest rather than those of the wealthy elite. Therein, no doubt that there are very strong vested interest groups that have benefited from reforms and are frustrating new reforms. However, the political elite still enjoys some insulation. The real problem, I think, is at the local level where economic and political elites are much more closely entwined and are liable to frustrate reforms. If you were to attribute three things to China's rise to the second largest global economy, what would they be? First and foremost abandoning an ineffective version of the Soviet model and moving to practices that have worked well elsewhere in East Asia— export-led growth and state-directed investment, etc. Improving incentives for individuals and enterprises. Opening up to foreign investment, not only bringing in foreign capital but also foreign knowhow. At the same time allowing large numbers of

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people to go abroad for training and bring back ideas that could be used in China. What is the single greatest threat to Xi Jinping and his reform process? That the economic reforms are frustrated by vested interest groups. Although the Party has tried to develop other forms of legitimacy, it is still dependent on improving living standards and growing the economy. In the 1980s it was easy to see who would gain by the reforms and where support would come from. Similarly, in the 1990s, when Deng Xiaoping launched the economy free-for-all, it was clear to see who would benefit: party and military elites. Those who will benefit from Xi's reforms have less power within the system and are confronted by a strong block of vested interests in the state-owned industry and banks and local officials who have benefitted from the close relationship to political power. This may leave the reform program lacking momentum and stuck with some of the downsides of planning and the market. At a certain point in time, Xi will need the local elites to help him push through his reform program and here the anti-corruption program comes into play. Many local officials are sitting waiting to see how far this will go and he may need to lighten up to get them on board with the reform thrust. How satisfied are average Chinese citizens with Xi Jinping's leadership? It seems that on the whole they are pretty satisfied. Our surveys show high levels of satisfaction with the Central government but they decline as government gets closer to the people. This might indicate that people see problems in the system as local aberrations rather than ill intent from the top. With respect to corruption, our previous surveys have shown this as the government line of work where citizens are least satisfied but last year opinion has improved and now they are least satisfied with land management. However, they still see many local officials as corrupt and harbor doubts about whether the campaign can continue effectively. In a survey last year by the Horizon Group and a Japanese company, President Xi emerged as the most popular national leader globally. On the whole, citizens seem satisfied but of course they have few channels through which they can express their dissatisfaction. In fact, the Chinese Communist Party has been successful in instilling the notion that criticism of the Party is unpatriotic and that Party and nation are synonymous. C Questions and responses have been edited for clarity and length.


IN THE NEWS

Ash Center Faculty Appointments The Ash Center is pleased to welcome Dara Kay Cohen, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, to the center. Her research and teaching interests span the field of international relations, including international security, civil war and the dynamics of violence, and gender and conflict. Her forthcoming book, Rape During Civil War (Cornell University Press, 2016), examines the variation in the use of rape during recent civil conflicts; the research for the book draws on extensive fieldwork in Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste, and El Salvador. The Ash Center is pleased to welcome Candelaria Garay, Associate Professor of Public Policy, as a new faculty affiliate in residence at the center. Garay’s research focuses on social policy, collective action, and party politics in Latin America. Her book Social Policy Expansion in Latin America (forthcoming from Cambridge University Press) characterizes and explains the recent expansion of and cross-country variation in social policy programs (income transfers, pensions, and health-care services) to populations historically excluded from social protection in Latin America. The Ash Center is pleased to welcome Ryan Sheely, Associate Professor of Public Policy, as a faculty affiliate in residence at the center. His current research focuses on public goods provision and state capacity in sub-Saharan Africa. He has conducted randomized evaluations and extensive archival and ethnographic fieldwork in Kenya, and has ongoing projects in Kenya and Sierra Leone. Sheely is also the cofounder of the SAFI Project, a nonprofit organization that coordinates waste management and recycling activities in northern Kenya. Odd Arne Westad, the S.T. Lee Professor of U.S.Asia Relations at Harvard University, joined the Ash Center as a senior faculty in residence in September. He is an expert on contemporary international history and the eastern Asian region. Before coming to Harvard, Westad was School Professor of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). While at LSE, he directed LSE IDEAS, a leading center for internation-

al affairs, diplomacy, and strategy. Professor Westad won the Bancroft Prize for The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times, which has been translated into 15 languages.

azine's 100 most influential people, and received the JFK Profile in Courage Award for his use of social media to spur protest in Egypt during President Hosni Mubarak's reign.

Senior Fellow Wael Ghonim

Muhamad Chatib Basri Appointed Senior Fellow

This summer, the Ash Center appointed Egyptian technologist and Internet activist Wael Ghonim as a senior fellow. Ghonim recently cofounded Parlio, a new online community focused on elevating thoughtful discourse. Ghonim’s research during his fellowship will focus on how technology can be harnessed to create space for civic-minded citizens, experts, opinion-makers, academics, and officials to engage each other in discussions of the most pressing social, political, and economic issues facing our communities. Prior to founding Parlio, Ghonim was an Entrepreneur in Residence at Google Ventures. In 2011, Ghonim was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, named one of Time mag-

Dr. Muhamad Chatib Basri recently joined the Ash Center as a Senior Fellow. Basri is Indonesia's former Minister of Finance and previously served as chair of the Investment Coordinating Board of the Republic of Indonesia and vice chair of the National Economic Committee of the President of the Republic of Indonesia. Basri also teaches in the Department of Economics at the University of Indonesia. His research focuses on Indonesia's past macroeconomic responses to monetary easing by the United States and potential future Indonesian responses to anticipated interest rate increases by the United States.

Health Care Project in Indonesia and Tanzania Enters Third Year The Transparency for Development (T4D) project is a five-year, multi-country study on the impact of community-led transparency and accountability initiatives. Using a mixed-methods research design, the project is currently looking at the use of community scorecards to improve maternal and neonatal health (MNH) in Indonesia and Tanzania. A community scorecard is a community-based monitoring tool typically used to provide information on local public services; in the case of the T4D project, the scorecard includes information on the condition of local public health facilities and the utilization of MNH services within the community. The information is used to stimulate discussion, and through a series of facilitated meetings, generate and enact an action plan to improve MNH outcomes in the community. The first two years of the project were devoted to two major activities: 1) fleshing out a detailed research design, which blends a randomized controlled trial with ethnographic case studies; and 2) working with local civil society organizations, PATTIRO in Indonesia and the Clinton Health Access Initiative in Tanzania, to design and pilot the community scorecard intervention. Now in its third year, T4D has completed baseline data collection in a

T4D Program Manager Jessica Creighton with team members Courtney Tolmie and Jenna Juwono, and PATTIRO staff at the intervention training in Indonesia

total of 400 villages across the two countries. In Indonesia, ethnographers have been placed in six villages, and training for the intervention itself is underway. In Tanzania, intervention training is expected to begin in the coming months. The T4D project is led by Archon Fung, acting dean of the Kennedy School and Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Citizenship.

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IN THE NEWS

New Round of Challenges to Democracy Faculty Research Grants This spring, the Ash Center announced a new Challenges to Democracy grant program providing financial support to Kennedy School professors at the associate level. The purpose of the program was to support these professors at a critical juncture in their career while building a body of research that contributes to the Ash Center’s strategic priorities. To support research that strengthens democratic practices and enhances institutional innovation, the funding sought research projects that would help answer questions such as what causes democratic shifts, for example, and sustains them in countries that are new to democracy or have historical factors that pose challenges to democracy. What laws, politics, and practices can achieve democracy that is more true to its core ideals? What are the most creative and promising local and regional innovations that solve urgent public problems? The research grants, up to $45,000 each, were designed to be flexible enough to support a variety of research-related expenses. The center awarded grants to Candelaria Garay, Moshik Temkin, and Tarek Masoud. Candelaria Garay is an Associate Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. Her research focuses on social policy, collective action, and party politics in Latin America. Her successful proposal for a course buyout will allow her to advance two research and manuscript writing projects addressing critical issues concerning democratic politics, policymaking, redistribution, and welfare in Latin America. One of those projects, Garay explains, will focus on “characterizing and explaining the origins, alliances, policy-related strategies and fate of unexpected cross-sectoral coalitions of powerful social movements and labor unions that emerged as relevant national actors in some countries of Latin America in the new democracies established in the 1980s and 1990s." Moshik Temkin is an Associate Professor of Public Policy at the School who specializes in American international history, with an emphasis on transatlantic politics and policy. Temkin’s grant will be used to advance three ongoing projects that examine policymaking at the nexus of the relationship between citizen and democratic states. The first, Temkin states, is “a book-length project on transnational political activism and travel control

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and surveillance policies in Western democracies during and since the Cold War era.” The second is “an article on the comparative history of the death penalty in the United States and Western Europe and the prospects for abolition in the United States.” Temkin’s final project is “a study of the contemporary and historical relationship between the civil rights movement in the United States and the global human rights movement, particularly in light of African American struggles for justice and relations with American state institutions.” Tarek Masoud is Sultan of Oman Associate Professor of International Relations whose research focuses on the role of religion in the Muslim world's political development. The Ash Center grant allowed Masoud to work on a number of projects this summer, including a proposal for a new book on identity and statehood in the Arab world. The basic question the book will answer, Masoud writes, “is why have political cleavages in the Arab world not progressed beyond the tribal, sectarian, and religious? The answer, I believe, lies in understanding the twin processes of modernization and state-building, both of which are supposed to shape citizen identities beyond the parochial and ascriptive, but for which we see widespread variation in the Arabic-speaking countries.” Another project is the completion of a paper examining authoritarian successor parties in Egypt and Tunisia. The final project is a coauthored paper on the determinants and effects of electoral institutions in post-Arab Spring elections. By tracing how the (new) systems were chosen in each Arab Spring case, the paper develops a typology of how election system choices are made.

In Nepal, a team of PCL researchers led by Howitt was invited by Nepalese civic leaders and the Asia Foundation to meet with Nepalese officials from the national and district governments, army, and local NGOs regarding the April 2015 earthquake that resulted in over 9,000 deaths. Following their interviews, PCL researchers presented a series of recommendations to policymakers and government officials on ways Nepal can better respond to and recover from large-scale disasters. “Although it was a fast visit, we were able to get a strong sense of what happened after the earthquake,” said Howitt. “Nepal is at a turning point because of its brand new constitution, and improving earthquake mitigation and emergency response can be an important way of building capacity and legitimacy in its new federal structure.”

ABOVE Kesennuma City seawall reconstruction site, Japan BELOW Vatsala Temple, originally built in 1696 in Bhaktapur, Nepal, next to the rubble remaining after its collapse in the earthquake

Program on Crisis Leadership Update Affiliates from the Program on Crisis Leadership (PCL) traveled to Japan and Nepal this summer to conduct research and provide technical assistance on disaster response and recovery. In Japan, Ash Center Executive Director and PCL Faculty CoDirector Arnold Howitt, PCL Associate Director David Giles, and PCL Doctoral Fellow Hiromi Akiyama interviewed national and prefectural government officials, town and city mayors, and first responder leaders working in the areas affected by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. This was PCL’s third trip to Japan following the earthquake, and this year’s research focused on the country’s decontamination and rebuilding efforts.


RESEARCH BRIEF

Ash Fellow Georgia Hollister Isman Is Rebuilding Public Engagement with the Democratic Process

For Georgia Hollister Isman (MPA/MC ’15), strengthening public participation in the political process has been a lifelong passion. The recipient of the Roy and Lila Ash Fellowship for the 2014–15 academic year, Hollister Isman came to the Harvard Kennedy School with a decade of experience in electoral politics and state and local advocacy. “From the time I was a little kid, I always wanted to figure out a way to make the world a better place,” she recalled. With a newly minted bachelor's degree from Ohio’s Oberlin College, Hollister Isman set out to make her mark in progressive politics in her home state of Massachusetts. “When I was in college, I worked on a number of political campaigns, and that was a way that made sense to me to foster change. Because I started in local races, I could see tangible results for what I was doing,” said Hollister Isman. At the age of 22, she was managing her first political campaign for Pat Jehlen, who was at the time a Massachusetts state representative from Somerville running for a newly-vacant state senate

seat. Jehlen won in a heated four-way Democratic primary and has been representing a large swath of Middlesex County in the state senate since. Hollister Isman, reflecting on Jehlen’s successful state senate run, said, “I learned a great deal of what I know from that campaign, and met a lot of people who were active in progressive politics in Massachusetts.” A job coordinating volunteers in New Hampshire during the 2004 presidential campaign convinced Hollister Isman that there was a need for a collaborative progressive political organization in Massachusetts. Soon, Mass Alliance, a coalition of 25 advocacy and progressive political organizations was founded and Hollister Isman was hired as its first director. “We had no staff and a battered office with three secondhand desks from the 1970s. There weren’t even phone lines.” From these inauspicious beginnings, Mass Alliance grew to become a force in the world of Massachusetts progressive politics. “When we started off, people thought we were naive, but we built

our reputation around winning elections with people the establishment said could never win.” It was this experience building political coalitions at Mass Alliance that ultimately led Hollister Isman to the Kennedy School. “I was good at explaining tough political issues to the public, but I wanted to learn more about how people think about public policy and make decisions based on that knowledge.” Looking back on her experience in Cambridge, Hollister Isman reflects that her time at the School “was a really great year for me. Everybody is in the same boat and most students have similar professional accomplishments. It’s thinking about where we can most contribute, not just advancing our careers. It’s amazing to see people do really remarkable things all over the world.” At the Kennedy School, Hollister Isman was an active participant in the intellectual life of the Ash Center and took a number of courses taught by faculty affiliated with the center. Through Lecturer Jorrit de Jong’s Innovation Field Lab, she worked with the city of Chelsea to develop an analytical tool to help the city better predict the emergence of distressed properties. “It was really wonderful to do a project in Chelsea and think about how practically you can build something that a city will actually use. It’s not a one size fits all solution that will fit all cities; it has to actually make sense for them.” Hollister Isman also had much praise for Assistant Professor Quinton Mayne’s Urban Politics of Planning and Development Course, observing that Mayne "has this way of thinking about politics which I appreciate. It is unsurprisingly very political—why did this project get built? What are the politics that allows something to happen in a city? It changes the way you view the cityscape, especially in a city like Boston.” With her MPA in hand, Hollister Isman finds herself again back in Ohio, this time helping to run a program in Akron called Text, Talk, Vote, which aims to engage young people in civic discussions and voting through text messages. The project, led by the National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD) and funded by the Knight Foundation, uses texting to help young voters highlight their voices and concerns during the run up to the city’s mayoral election. She first met NICD’s executive director, Carolyn Lukensmeyer, during a conference at the Kennedy School featuring the finalist presentations for the 2015 Innovations in American Government Award. For Hollister Isman, this latest project is another step in a career devoted to strengthening the public’s engagement with the democratic process. Though her work at Text, Talk, Vote will conclude after the city’s November mayoral election, Hollister Isman is a firm believer in using technology to create new points to entry for public debate. “By building new avenues for young people to engage in ways that are comfortable for them, we can have a big impact on their participation in the democratic process and in government.” C

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Experiencing Innovation The Ash Center's Innovation Field Lab is developing data-driven strategies to assist cities in improving social conditions


TOP Jorrit de Jong introduces student presenters to Innovation Field Lab partner cities BOTTOM Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong, Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera, and Chelsea Acting City Manager Ned Keefe listen as students deliver their presentations during the culmination of the Innovation Field Lab course

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Myrtle Avenue is a ragged, weather-beaten home whose sagging mansard roof and dilapidated carriage house conceal most traces of its once-great Second Empire architectural splendor. Jason Dumaine, a health inspector with the city of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, pulls up to the curb and gazes out towards the home’s broken windows, peeling paint, and unkempt yard. The building, once a symbol of Fitchburg’s industrial-era wealth is now a vacant eyesore and one of several hundred such residential, commercial, and industrial “problem properties” in the city—mostly vacant and magnets for crime and drug use. Dumaine tells a neighbor who notices him examining the exterior of the home that addicts have used the home as a shooting gallery and stripped the building of nearly everything of value including wiring, plumbing, and other fixtures. The neighbor is visibly relieved when Dumaine tells her that the home is on a list for demolition. But, until the city can find the approximately $40,000 need to tear down the building, it will continue to loom over Myrtle Avenue—a tumor slowing investment in the neighborhood. Fitchburg, a city of nearly 40,000 people on the banks of the North Nashua River, is a little over an hour’s drive northwest of Boston and is typical of many small- to medium-sized formerly industrial cities throughout New England. Its mills, which provided steady employment to generations of residents, have largely shuttered, hollowing out the city’s job base. The housing and financial crisis of the late 2000s is still felt acutely here with many homeowners underwater on their mortgages and scores of homes caught in the cycle of foreclosure. These economic scars can be seen in buildings like 31 Myrtle Avenue that are a blight on their neighborhoods. But, Fitchburg and other former industrial cities that are buffeted by harsh economic winds aren’t standing idly by as their housing stock crumbles and their neighborhoods destabilize. They know that to prevent homes from falling victim to abandonment, City Hall has to embrace new and innovative solutions to combating problem properties.

Experiencing the Field Properties like 31 Myrtle Avenue “are very visible in the urban environment: dilapidated buildings, abandoned properties, vacant lots,” said Jorrit de Jong, HKS Lecturer in Public Policy and Academic Director of the Ash Center’s Innovation in

Government Program. De Jong and his colleague, Somerville, Massachusetts, Mayor Joe Curtatone who holds an appointment as senior fellow at the Ash Center, knew that there were a number of cities like Fitchburg in eastern Massachusetts, collectively known as Gateway Cities, who hungered for better tools “Ash, through our work with to tackle the scourge of problem propMayor Curtatone and the erties. Their collaboration helped plant the seeds for what would become one Field Lab, believes deeply of the Kennedy School’s most ambithat students must have tious experiential learning programs to date: the Innovation Field Lab. the opportunity to underExperiential learning has taken on stand how government a greater emphasis at the Kennedy School and Harvard as a whole. From works by learning firstthe university-wide Harvard Initiative hand, both through failure for Learning and Teaching to individand success, what it takes ual projects conceived and funded by schools and research centers, Harvard to help our cities innovate.” is redoubling its efforts to promote Tony Saich hands-on learning for its students. “We’ve taken the university’s message on experiential learning to heart,” reflected Tony Saich, Ash Center director and Daewoo Professor of International Affairs. “Ash, through our work with Mayor Curtatone and the Field Lab, believes deeply that students must have the opportunity to understand how government works by learning firsthand, both through failure and success, what it takes to help our cities innovate.” The Ash Center, because of its decade’s long commitment to documenting and researching government innovation, was well placed to lead this new expe-

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FITCHBURG TOP LEFT A distressed property in Fitchburg, Massachusetts TOP RIGHT Jason Dumaine, a Fitchburg health inspector, makes his rounds through the city’s neighborhoods LEFT Uttara Gharpure, an HKS Field Lab fellow, demonstrates a Google-based data collection system to Mary Jo Bohart and Liz Murphy with the city of Fitchburg

riential learning effort. “We were able to build a curriculum for the Field Lab around much of the Center’s work on data analytics and performance management,” said de Jong. “We were also incredibly fortunate to draw on the support of the Taubman Center and Rappaport Institute to help provide funding for many of our students who worked in the field over the summer.” Curtatone and de Jong, along with HKS Assistant Professor Quinton “Magic happens when you Mayne, were determined to build an pair the creativity and en- ambitious project focused on problem ergy of students with the properties as an outgrowth of the Ash Center’s wider mission: connecting experience of local leaders. research on public-sector innovation with curriculum development and The Field Lab did that in a engagement in the field. “The Field way that has never been Lab is really about making governdone before.” Joe Curtatone ment more collaborative, more datadriven, and more results-oriented,” said de Jong. “Problem properties is an ideal topic to focus on because everyone understands their effect on neighborhoods, but the class is more than just learning about how to ameliorate or prevent this one specific problem. It’s about learning how we can have transformative impact on city government as a whole.” Curtatone, as both a mayor and HKS alum (MPA ’11), was able to bring his unique perspective to the Field Lab and ensure that both students and cities would get the most out of this new partnership. “Mayor Curtatone was the ideal partner for this ambitious endeavor,” observed Saich. “As an HKS alum himself, he knows the powerful human capital our students and faculty represent, and has

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an impressive track record of his own as an innovator in Somerville,” he added. “Somerville is lucky because we are so close to Harvard, but for government officials in farther-flung municipalities, it is not often feasible to partner with universities,” said Curtatone, who has welcomed legions of HKS faculty and students through the doors of Somerville city hall to help his administration implement such innovative governing strategies as performance management and activity-based budgeting. Curtatone, widely recognized as one of Massachusetts' leading government innovators for his use of data-driven management to stabilize city finances and strengthen the quality of municipal services in Somerville, added, “magic happens when you pair the creativity and ener“Fostering innovation in gy of students with the experience of cities is more than just local leaders. The Field Lab did that in a way that has never been done before.” building an app or some Curtatone was critical in identifyother tool — it’s about ing potential partner cities for the building a culture that emField Lab. “I found out about the Ash Center partnership by getting a braces innovation from the phone call from my fellow mayor, Joe top down.” Jorrit de Jong Curtatone,” recalled Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong, whose city was one of three inaugural Field Lab partner cities along with Chelsea and Lawrence. “There’s nothing like getting a phone call from a fellow mayor because we are always trying to steal good ideas from each other,” said Wong. Cities were keen to team up with the Ash Center because the Field Lab was envisioned as more than a short-term internship or consultation project. “The Ash Center provided us with two students, and that was really important,” said Jim Barnes, the director of Community Development for the city of Lawrence. While Lawrence has and continues to work with a variety of student groups from other institutions of higher education, what set the Field Lab apart according to Barnes was the Ash Center’s continued commitment to working with the city. “We’ve worked with student groups in the past, and the students


CHELSEA TOP Field Lab fellows Sarah Allin and Karina Baba work on a predictive tool for the city of Chelsea to help pinpoint problem properties. Chelsea is the smallest geographic city in Massachusetts but the commonwealth’s second-most dense, which means problem properties can have an outsized effect on the city’s neighborhoods

have always been good in presenting ideas, but there have always been challenges with follow-through.” At its heart, the Field Lab presented a unique opportunity for the roughly 30 HKS students enrolled in de Jong’s class to identify challenges relating to data capacity, design, and implementation. “Each student was tasked with thinking intentionally about how those cities could better bring data together, collaborate, and then monitor their progress around problem properties,” said Sarah Allin, a Field Lab summer fellow and Winston-Salem, North Carolina, native who earned her MPP this year from HKS. The challenge that many students faced was that Fitchburg, Chelsea, and Lawrence all capture data related to problem properties, but that they did so with varying degrees of technological sophistication. “What I’ve particularly seen in a lot of cities is they all track data on some level, but they’re on spreadsheets across departments—and those spreadsheets don’t necessarily talk to one another,” said Allin, who worked with de Jong in all three Field Lab partner cities. In addition to understanding how cities harnessed data on problem properties, much of which comes from reports from different municipal agencies such as health or building inspections, 911 calls, or tax filings, students also had to navigate what Allin calls the “human aspects of innovation.” Getting the spreadsheets to talk to one another can be a far less daunting task than convincing city employees to use the spreadsheet or tablet in the first place. “Fostering innovation in cities is more than just building an app or some other tool—it’s about building a culture that embraces innovation from the top down,” said de Jong. “If the mayor or department head isn’t interested in the data, then the inspector examining properties in the field won’t be inclined to adopt new practices. That can often be the hardest part.”

Fitchburg Fitchburg is a long way from Uttara Gharpure’s hometown of Mumbai, India’s booming commercial capital and home to some of the country’s largest and most dynamic companies. Gharpure, an HKS MPA/ID ’15, was a private-sector

consultant before arriving at the Kennedy School. “I was really interested in moving into government work, and this was the perfect opportunity not just to learn, but also to implement as I was learning.” Gharpure chose to spend her summer in Fitchburg largely because of Mayor Lisa’s Wong’s energy and willingness to embrace new solutions to the challenges of governance in the city. “She spoke about Fitchburg and what she’d done there, and it was really “Our work wasn’t just techinspiring,” said Gharpure. “I really nical, it was political. It was wanted to come here and learn, and adaptive. We had to do a lot see how they were dealing with the problems that they had.” of work understanding the Working with Liz Murphy, Fitchstakeholders, thinking about burg’s director of Housing and Development, Gharpure helped implement who we had to convince.” a tool designed by the Field Lab for Uttara Gharpure the city’s Neighborhood Improvement and Code Enforcement Committee, a coordinating body bringing together different city departments all working with problem properties. Students helped build a Google-based collection system to integrate various data streams collected by city departments ranging from Excel spreadsheets to paper forms. “Integrating the different department’s information has been one of the biggest challenges that we’ve had trying to work together. Each of us has different systems, and they were very much separate systems,” said Murphy. Of course, building a tool to better manage and integrate data from city departments is only half the challenge; Gharpure had to convince her colleagues to actually use it. “Our work wasn’t just technical, it was political. It was adaptive. We had to do a lot of work understanding the stakeholders, thinking about who we had to convince,” added Gharpure. That political work seems to be paying off, as inspectors, code enforcers, and others in Fitchburg have

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LAWRENCE The mortgage crisis had a deep impact on Lawrence, which has contributed to the rise of problem properties in the city. While redevelopment projects are transforming some of the city’s fabled mill buildings, combating problem properties remains a priority for Lawrence. Under Mayor Dan Rivera, the city has partnered with the Ash Center to strengthen Lawrence’s capacity to track and share data across departments and offices

embraced the new tool and started carrying tablets as well as their time-tested clipboards and pens when they make the rounds through the city’s neighborhoods. “The tools that the Harvard students have created have been really successful, and we’ve been really glad to have them,” said Murphy. “We’ve already seen how the tools can work, and everyone has had a chance to get comfortable with them now.”

Chelsea For many Boston residents, Chelsea is simply known as a densely packed community of rooftops viewed from above as they pass over the city while crossing the Tobin Bridge. At 1.8 square miles, Chelsea may be the commonwealth’s smallest geographical city, but it is also Massachusetts’ second most dense, with an estimated 35,000 residents and a large and diverse immigrant population calling the city sandwiched between the Chelsea and Mystic Rivers home. “All of our neighborhoods are very compact,” said Bob Boulrice, the Chelsea City Treasurer, who as the city’s tax collector knows that often when a tax payment is missed, it is a sign of a deeper problem with a particular property. “Many of them are fragile. All it would take would be for one property to become difficult to impact the entire neighborhood.” Given its density, improving ways to predict which buildings were at risk of turning into problem properties was a key goal for Chelsea. “I think the strategy has been oftentimes reactive because the way the city works is addressing a problem through complaints or through calls to the police department,” said Karina Baba, HKS MPA/ID ’15, who served as a Field Lab summer fellow in Chelsea. Baba, a native of Brazil, previously worked for the World Bank in Washington, DC, and has a strong interest in understanding how technology and data can tackle public policy problems. “It is a way to see how we can improve public services and help people feel better about their cities.” Baba and her Field Lab colleagues set out to design a predictive tool that would incorporate different sets of data from the city’s various departments. “The city generates tons of data. The problem is it’s housed in a lot of different places and used by departments that have their own separate jurisdictions,” said Boulrice. Integrating this data, Baba worked to build and refine the tool’s

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capacity to “analyze the risk in each property and measure the risk of that property becoming problematic.” Finally, the tool developed by the Field Lab for Chelsea had a performance management component that allows the departmental managers to better monitor key indicators that are linked to the city’s social goals. “The great thing about the relationship with Harvard is that up to now, we would deal with problems post-facto,” Boulrice added. “We would deal with them once they already became a problem: once the police were called for service, once I was unable to collect taxes, once the Inspectional Services Department had an inspection problem with it, once the Public Works Department had a trash problem with it. A problem property became identified once it was a problem. The tremendous thing about the tool we’ve gotten through Harvard is that we can anticipate.”

Lawrence “The mortgage crisis hit Lawrence fast and hard,” said Barnes, the Lawrence community development chief. “One or two of our census tracts had the highest incidence of foreclosure in the commonwealth of Massachusetts.” For Lawrence, a historic mill city endowed with an impressive number of industrial-era mill and factory buildings, but also struggling with underinvestment in residential neighborhoods, problem properties were a priority for the city’s mayor, Dan Rivera. “There are kids that are growing up in neighborhoods where the buildings have been dilapidated or abandoned for decades, and they grew up around these properties. We thought this is one of the things we have to change if we really want to change,” said Rivera. Rivera, Barnes, and their team knew the city’s problems well, but as Rivera put it, “the value we saw [in the Field Lab] is a fresh set of eyes — they’re looking at the problem differently.” That fresh set of eyes would include Emily Jones, a Dedham, Massachusetts native and HKS MPP ’15, who previously


INNOVATION FIELD LAB Jorrit de Jong with students from the inaugural Field Lab course. Students developed data tracking and management tools in partnership with the cities of Fitchburg, Chelsea, and Lawrence to help better monitor and combat problem properties. De Jong plans to expand both the number of students and partner cities involved with the Innovation Field Lab

served with the Peace Corps in Togo, West Africa. Jones, a Field Lab summer fellow working with Barnes in the community development department understood that Lawrence, much like Fitchburg and Chelsea, was hamstrung by overlapping data collection systems that allowed little cross-departmental data-sharing and collaboration. “We “It’s exciting to work in have a lot of city employees who are using data...but they’re siloed, so you Lawrence because people don’t necessarily have people comare thinking outside the municating that data with each other box and really trying to not all the time,” said Jones. For Lawrence, prioritizing responsjust have this bureaucratic es to problem properties was a key mindset. Mayor Rivera likes goal of its collaboration with the Field Lab. “When you’re dealing with 200– to say ‘don’t think like a bu300 properties that are in some level of physical problem status, you really reaucrat.’” Emily Jones need to know where to begin,” Barnes said. The Field Lab team, working to meet this need for the city of Lawrence developed a tool that allowed departments to visualize data spatially. “Looking at the properties within a certain neighborhood that are distressed and mapping them, we created a whole database of priority properties,” Jones chimed in. “It’s exciting to work in Lawrence because people are thinking outside the box and really trying to not just have this bureaucratic mindset,” added Jones. “Mayor Rivera likes to say ‘don’t think like a bureaucrat.’”

Mapping the Future “Forget Washington. Forget Boston. Come work at the local level,” implores Lawrence’s Rivera. “It really is where the rubber meets the road. If you’re really looking at the biggest place where government impacts people’s lives, it is in the local level.”

Increasing numbers of Kennedy School students and graduates it seems are heeding Rivera’s exhortations to think local. “So I came to the Kennedy School because...I wanted to make meaningful contributions to the communities where I’ve lived,” said the Field Lab’s Allin. “And so courses like this, that put you directly working with city government and city leaders, and trying to figure out how to bring people together around a common problem or cause, like we have here with problem properties, are an invaluable tool that teaches you how to get in and get your hands dirty.” Allin’s reflections on her time as a Field Lab fellow brings smiles to the faces of the Ash Center’s de Jong and Saich. “This was a big experiment for us,” said Saich. “Ash and our partners throughout the Kennedy School committed “Forget Washington. Forget tremendous resources to making the Boston. Come work at the Field Lab a reality, and I think it has really paid off.” local level. It really is where While de Jong and the Field Lab the rubber meets the road. team continue to work with the original partner cities, sending students If you’re really looking at throughout the academic year back to the biggest place where city halls in Fitchburg, Chelsea, and government impacts peoLawrence to monitor the implementation of each city’s respective tool, ple’s lives, it is in the local there are plans to double the number level.” Daniel Rivera of both partner cities and Kennedy School students enrolled in the class. The next cohort of Field Lab students will build on last year’s work and deepen the project’s engagement with the cities by delving deeper into municipal operations and additional policy innovations, according to de Jong. “There is a tremendous demand from our students for meaningful experiential learning opportunities,” said de Jong. “And there is also a huge appetite from cities throughout the region to harness the potential of our students. I hope we will be able to meet the demands of both.” C

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IN THE FIELD

Alumni in the Field Beyond Oil: Alumnus Works to Increase Tax Revenue in South Sudan Rising from the ashes of decades of war, South Sudan gained independence four years ago and has struggled mightily to build both a modern government and economy. While much of the international community’s attention has been focused on forging a durable peace to the internecine conflict that has racked the country since it broke away from the Sudanese government, Charles Data Alemi MPA/ID ’15 thinks South Sudan’s future can be significantly shaped by something as mundane as its tax code. “On the surface tax collection can be dry, but it can also be interesting,” Alemi said. “It’s all about how much you care about the topic and can see the need for it. Considering the path for South Sudan, taxes are very important.” Despite boasting profitable oil fields and some of the richest agricultural areas in Africa, many South Sudanese live in extreme poverty and the government is struggling to provide basic services amid the ongoing civil war that has displaced over 1.5 million people and resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands. While South Sudan’s economic development has been predicated on its generous reserves of oil, the sale of which accounts for nearly 98 percent of the state’s budget, Alemi recognizes that the country’s long-term economic and political stability depend on the growth of diversified revenue streams. For his second year policy analysis (SYPA), the capstone for his degree, Alemi charted South Sudan’s tax system and developed recommendations for modernizing its collection processes. Alemi has dedicated his professional career to improving conditions in South Sudan—it is where he feels he can make the most difference and it is where his roots lie. He was born in Sudan and fled with his family to Uganda during the Second Sudanese Civil War. He received a scholarship to attend United World College in Norway and went on to study at Colby College and the University for Peace. Prior to enrolling at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), he spent eight years working for various NGOs and development organizations in South Sudan. At HKS, Alemi took courses in taxation, economic theory, and the formation of public institutions in developing countries, which informed his SYPA. He received support from the Ash Center for his field research and Jay Rosengard served as his SYPA faculty advisor. Alemi presented his findings as part of the center’s weekly student speaker series. Analyzing relevant tax law, previous studies, and available data, Alemi found that although oil is almost the only product that South Sudan exports, it imports a substantial and growing quantity of goods. This provides a sizable source of revenue in the form of border taxes, which Alemi estimates could net over $300 million per year. He argues that

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“It’s not just about bringing new resources into the government’s financial basket,” Alemi said. “It’s about changing the way we think about oil and bringing some discipline and accountability into the oil sector.” the government is capturing less than 30 percent of that figure, and he traveled to South Sudan in January of 2015 to get a better sense of the problem. He spoke to relevant stakeholders including customs officers, clearing agents, and import traders in the capital of Juba and the border post in Nimule where the majority of goods enter the country through Uganda. He was not surprised to find that many of the departments were understaffed, lacked formal training, and relied on handwritten ledgers instead of digitized reports, but he was struck by the poor data collection procedures. “In terms of reporting on daily activities, many of the details were missing,” he said. “For example, you couldn’t connect a truck coming in with a certain amount of tomatoes to the value of those tomatoes to the tax levied on them. The data was siloed across departments and could not be aggregated in any meaningful way. So, what does the senior official in Juba get to see? Unusable numbers and no room to question or improve the system.” Based on his field interviews and what he could discern from the available data, Alemi made three policy recommendations to the South Sudan Customs Service: (1) strengthen and streamline collection of comprehensive data for policy analysis; (2) simplify the tax system by reducing the number

of taxes and tax rates; and (3) stop awarding tax exemptions to government contractors and seek to limit the scope of exemptions for the UN and other donors. In the long-term, he hopes increased tax revenue will replace oil as the primary means of footing the government’s everyday bills. “It’s not just about bringing new resources into the government’s financial basket,” Alemi said. “It’s about changing the way we think about oil and bringing some discipline and accountability into the oil sector.” Alemi is passionate about the country’s future and the role of the South Sudanese diaspora in contributing to its development. “People have put their lives on the line for independence, but the struggle doesn’t end there,” he said. “The hard work is now. Proving to the rest of the world that we can actually build a country and move on from conflict will require many of us who were fortunate enough to have received an education to return to South Sudan.” “I believe there is a signaling effect that happens when people come back. I’m not saying that I’m this big shot from Harvard who’s going to fix everything, but when I return it sends a message to the people of South Sudan that there is opportunity here as well—and I truly believe that there is opportunity in South Sudan.” C


IN THE NEWS

The Changing Role of Philanthropy in China The rise of new wealth in China has emerged as one of the most important and fascinating changes in modern times, with economic, social, and potentially political implications. In response, the Ash Center's China Programs has launched a multifaceted approach toward studying and helping to build capacity relating to philanthropy in China. One component of the project's research activities is creating China’s first systematic and rigorous database of the country's top 100 philanthropists. This database, which will live as an interactive website, details such metrics as giving levels, recipient organizations and causes, and from which industries the philanthropists hail. In addition, tracking how philanthropists are giving their money— whether it is by direct donation or through their own foundations—may prove important in identifying a trend towards the latter as these actors seek to emulate patterns of philanthropic giving in the United States. In addition, the database will highlight a novel Generosity Index and Diversity Index, which will serve to identify leading donors in certain areas of giving, as well as the changing weight of the top 100 donors when compared to national levels of giving. The website launches later this year, and will cover the year spanning September 2014 to August 2015. Doing much of the research for this project is Peiran Wei, a current fellow at the Ash Center, recent HKS midcareer MPA graduate, and a former Bloomberg journalist who created and maintained that publication's list of Chinese billionaires. Under the guidance of Ash Center Director Tony Saich and Edward Cunningham, director of the center's China Programs, Wei and colleagues are painstakingly digging through public filings and news reports, as well as other publicly available resources, to determine who should be on the China list. Wei notes that the Ash Center's process differs from that of the few competitors who produce lists of Chinese philanthropists in aspects of methodology, transparency, and the creation of indices meant to measure the evolution of Chinese philanthropy in critical respects. An important question is whether modern Chinese philanthropists have much of a roadmap to follow as they grow into their roles. Following the victory of Mao Zedong's Communist forces in 1949, there followed nearly three decades when there were no private businesses that might produce wealthy citizens. Since the reforms of 1978, when the markets started to open, private business has been encouraged (with some limitations) and a wealthy class has emerged. In this way, the philanthropists in today's China represent a modern-day first, and often feel that there are no precedents for them to learn from regarding how to give away their money. According to Wei, philanthropists in China

can be found doing strange things with their money, like giving away cash to people on the street, because there simply is no established mechanism for proper philanthropic giving. Such behaviors have led many Chinese to perceive that philanthropists are just trying to show off, or worse, giving money to the government in order to secure a more advantageous business relationship. Saich and Cunningham argue that in fact there is a long tradition of philanthropy in China and that this tradition has the potential to positively inform the activities of modern-day donors. They designed a workshop to bring a group of Chinese philanthropists together in the US to share analytic frameworks, historical analogues, and to see what can be learned from some of America's biggest givers and what can be gleaned from their own cultural heritage. The Ash Center partnered with Beijing Normal University’s China Philanthropy Research Institute to organize this senior workshop in May of this year for leading Chinese philanthropists. The objectives of the workshop, which is planned to occur annually, were to equip the participants with critical frameworks and skill sets to lead philanthropic organizations, and then place such concepts in the context of emerging trends and models of global philanthropy. The Harvard-based week was followed by an intensive immersion in New York City organized by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors to interact with members of leading American philanthropic families, including the Rockefeller family itself, and to learn more about how best to instill a lasting philosophy and ethos of giving through the generations of a wealthy family. The workshop importantly drew on the breadth of Harvard University, including senior members of Harvard Business School (HBS) and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS). Prof. Francesca Gino and postdoctoral fellow Julia Lee (a recent Kennedy School graduate) engaged the participants in a lively discussion of the psychology underpinning giving and taking—how and why people choose to give, others choose to take, and how resulting relationships are transformed. They continued the module by linking these behavioral science insights on decision-making to issues of leadership, discussing the art of giving and how psychology can be leveraged to improve efficacy of giving, messaging, and fundraising. FAS Prof. Michael Sandel delivered an address drawing from his globally recognized lecture on justice, laying out his thoughts on “What Money Can’t Buy: Moral Limits of Markets.” In this session, he outlined several scenarios that tested the audience’s understanding of what is morally acceptable, and explained how a market economy often transforms into a market society, with related costs and benefits.

The Ash Center's Prof. Mark Moore continued providing analytic frameworks by defining and then discussing public value. He distinguished between value, capacity, and support as resources that leaders can bring to bear to solve a challenge or transform an organization. FAS Prof. Michael Puett placed current Chinese philanthropy in the context of historical precedents of giving in the imperial dynastic period, explaining how the roots of philanthropy in China have long been present, yet have also long remained in tension with the state. The Ash Center's Jorrit de Jong, a Kennedy School lecturer, and Ash Center Director Tony Saich, maintained a three-session dialogue with the participants to identify and define their organization’s mission, to identify a strategy to execute the mission, and finally discussed how to create an organizational culture around the success of the mission.

Wei and colleagues are painstakingly digging through public filings and news reports, as well as other publicly available resources, to determine who are China’s top philanthropists

The workshop closed with specific topical discussions on models of philanthropy. Prof. Fernando Reimers, of the Graduate School of Education, spoke about educating the next generation of 21stcentury leaders, using local and international examples. Senior Research Fellow Paula Johnson of the Kennedy School surveyed trends in global philanthropy, drawing on her recent work in Latin America, the US, and Europe. And, finally, Prof. Cunningham led an HKS case study discussion on Google.org to highlight the challenges of for-profit philanthropy and the inherent tension between approaches to wealth accumulation and giving. C

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IN THE NEWS

Nine Finalists Vie for Ash Center’s Prestigious Innovations in American Government Awards

On May 20, nine finalists for the Innovations in American Government Awards presented before the Innovations National Selection Committee in the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at Harvard Kennedy School. Presenters made final remarks and responded to questions from the committee, chaired by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, before the committee deliberated to select the winner of the Innovations in American Government Award and the winner of the Roy and Lila Ash Innovations Award in Public Engagement, a special award in honor of the Ash Center's tenth anniversary. Both winners will receive $100,000 and each of the finalists will receive $10,000 for activities to encourage the replication of their programs. A year of innovations Finalists represented innovations from across the country in diverse policy areas such as the environment, prison education, Medicaid reform, and college savings accounts. In honor of this year’s special award, several of the finalists selected have devised creative approaches to engaging citizens in creating public value.

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Two of this year’s finalists focused on environmental issues. The Massachusetts Clean Energy Partnership for Wastewater and Drinking Water Facilities started as an experiment to gauge the potential for significant energy improvements in the water sector and resulted in a cross-jurisdictional partnership that reduced energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, generated renewable energy, and produced clean water. The effort has now been successfully implemented in all six New England states as well as 15 other states and US territories. In New York City, the Vacant Land Cleanup & Revitalization Initiative addresses social inequality by facilitating cleanup and redevelopment of thousands of chronically vacant and abandoned contaminated properties (brownfields) in historically disadvantaged low- and moderate-income areas. With 310 cleanup projects on 560 tax lots complete or in progress, the city has produced over 30 million square-feet of new building space, 4,600 new units of affordable housing, hundreds of small businesses, and over 8,000 permanent new jobs, and fostered over $8 billion in new private investment and $1 billion in long-term tax revenue.

Two of this year’s finalists hail from San Francisco. With an unprecedented charter from the San Francisco Unified School District, the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department launched the Five Keys Charter School—a high school for adult inmates inside the county’s jails. The school was modeled around a unique mission, inspired by serving a population that had previously been unsuccessful in traditional education environments: run a school that inspires inmates to become students and sheriff's deputies to foster learning, and reduce recidivism through education. The model has reduced inmate violence and recidivism, interrupted cycles of intergenerational incarceration, and now serves 8,000 students annually across California. San Francisco is also the first city to automatically and universally enroll every public school kindergartner in their own college savings account, with a $50 seed deposit and incentives to start saving for college early and often through the Kindergarten to College Program. The program is designed to increase college enrollment for students from low-income families, reduce the exclusion of low-income families from financial products


IN THE NEWS

that produce wealth, and leverage private investment through matching donations. Over 18,000 students have received accounts, and savings participation rates are four times the national average of savings in 529 and Coverdell accounts. The Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) is a systemic transformation that utilized an intensive stakeholder engagement process to reduce costs in the state of New York’s Medicaid program while focusing on improving quality and implementing reforms. The MRT changed the political environment by bringing key stakeholders together to develop a multiyear plan for reform. Over 230 separate initiatives have been or are still being implemented. Over its first five years, the MRT will save the state and federal governments a combined $34 billion. A focus on participation Participatory budgeting is a community-level democratic approach to public spending in which local residents decide how to allocate public funds. Participatory Budgeting in New York City (PBNYC) is the largest and the fastest-growing participatory budgeting process in the United States. PBNYC’s cycle lasts eight months, and starts with thousands of people attending hundreds of neighborhood assemblies to brainstorm spending ideas that could improve their communities. Hundreds of residents become “budget delegates” and work with their neighbors, elected officials, city agencies, and community organizations to create project proposals. Winning proposals are then funded and implemented by the city. This year, more than 40,000 people voted on the projects they want to see in their communities. In response to the Sandy Hook tragedy, President Barack Obama issued a January 2013 directive to the secretaries of the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Education to launch a national dialogue on mental health. Creating Community Solutions is a partnership of leading organizations in the field of deliberative democracy that convened a national participation process aimed at helping communities learn more about mental health issues; assess how mental health problems affect their communities and younger populations; and decide what actions to take to improve mental health in their families, schools, and communities. In 2007, the greater Eau Claire, Wisconsin area confronted major fiscal and public-service decisions about funding for over $400 million in community facilities. Partnering with the National Civic League, the city embarked on an inclusive, citizencentered community visioning and strategic planning process. The process engaged over 500 diverse stakeholders as participants in the kickoff for Clear Vision Eau Claire, with a mission “to engage our community for the common good.” In addition to the creation of a number of community facilities, the effort created a model for civic engagement and public problem-solving that

FAR LEFT The Five Keys Charter School presents to the National Selection Committee ABOVE, TOP LEFT THEN CLOCKWISE Creating Community Solutions (US Dept. of Health and Human Services), Participatory Budgeting New York City, Participatory Budgeting New York City, Vacant Land Cleanup and Revitalization Initiative (New York City), Engaging Citizens and Problem Solving Initiative (City of Eau Claire, WI), Medicaid Redesign Team (State of New York)

brings together everyday people and public leaders in collaborative work. Oregon’s Kitchen Table helps connect elected officials and the public in Oregon in joint projects at nearly every scale (state, regional, local, and even individual) through public consultations, in-person events, civic crowdfunding, and Oregonian-to-Oregonian micro-lending. The program was founded in 2010 at Portland State University by a group of nonprofit community leaders and former elected officials

in order to create a permanent civic infrastructure through which Oregonians can access a suite of different opportunities for civic engagement. In September, the Ash Center announced San Francisco’s Five Keys Charter School as the winner of the Innovations in American Government Award and Participatory Budgeting in New York City as the winner of the Roy and Lila Ash Innovations Award in Public Engagement. C

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IN THE NEWS

Ash Center’s 10th Anniversary Series Provides Direction for the Next Ten Years In May, the Ash Center concluded its Challenges to Democracy public dialogue series with presentations by the 2015 Innovations in American Government Award finalists. Local government officials, students, and scholars gathered with the Innovation Award finalists for a nuts and bolts conversation on fostering innovation in government. This model of conversation—one that brings together people and ideas unlikely to otherwise connect, in an environment that encourages candid conversation on important yet difficult issues, with an emphasis on finding a way forward—was a true reflection of the Challenges to Democracy series. The Ash Center launched Challenges to Democracy two years prior with a standing room-only JFK Jr. Forum event featuring a panel discussion moderated by radio host Tom Ashbrook on the threat economic inequality poses to the health of American democracy. Other notable events over the two years included a screening and discussion with Errol Morris of his documentary on Donald Rumsfeld, The Unknown Known; another Forum discussion featuring founders of MoveOn.org and the Tea Party Patriots on whether (and how) we as a country might engage in more civil conversations and find common ground between the political left and right; Darryl Pinckney’s personal and insightful discussion with Alex Keyssar on his book Blackballed: The Black Vote and U.S. Democracy; and a post-performance discussion of the American Repertory Theater’s world-premiere production of Eve Ensler’s play O.P.C. (Obsessive Political Correctness), featuring Harvard undergrad Aisha Bhoori alongside Adams Professor of Political Leadership and Democratic Values Jane Mansbridge. The thread connecting these and other events in the series was an effort to broaden and deepen public

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dialogue around what Ash Center founder Roy Ash called the “fragile institution of democracy.” The Ash Center launched the ambitious public dialogue series to commemorate its tenth anniversary in a creative and productive way that would reach beyond traditional academic audiences. Over two years, the center welcomed over 2,600 people to 40 events both on the HKS campus and in communities from Lawrence, Massachusetts, to San Francisco. Through a Challenges to Democracy web presence that included a blog, newsletter, multiple social media platforms, and extensive media coverage, we were able to engage thousands of others in discussion. Yet beyond the numbers, Ash Center Director Tony Saich always envisioned Challenges to Democracy as a unique series that would not simply name the greatest threats facing democracy today, but would also put forward and give due attention to the promising solutions we need. To that end, of the many challenges that the series explored, three themes will continue to guide the research, teaching, and outreach efforts of the Ash Center. The Promise and Peril of Digital Technology Does technology make our society and our major institutions more or less democratic? What are the promise and practicalities of digital media and technology to transform political participation and mobilization? Does technology improve our ability to solve big problems like climate change or obesity? The center hosted a number of technology-related events that explored these and other questions with leaders in both thought and practice. The Ash Center engaged HKS students, who have expressed a great demand for more technology offerings at the School, in a Cities, Technology

and Democracy study group, two student-led hackathons, a panel discussion featuring Harvard students and alumni who are running civic tech startups, and a bipartisan panel taking a critical look at digital technology’s influence on the US political landscape. A highlight of the year was our #Hack4Congress series of hackathons in Cambridge, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, to encourage the development of much-needed tech platforms to improve lawmaking, deliberation, and representation in legislatures. Winning teams from the three hackathons demonstrated their ideas before members of Congress and senior staffers on Capitol Hill in May. Over the duration of #Hack4Congress, the Center connected to over 40 civic tech-related institutions and companies, plus 23 tech and Congress experts as judges, and 16 current or former members of Congress. In all, 230 ‘hackers’ submitted 33 project ideas. The insights of these and other technologyfocused events in the Challenges to Democracy series are guiding the Ash Center as it increases its investment in exploring technology’s role in improving democratic governance—making it more modern, effective, and efficient as well as more responsive, transparent, and participatory. The center will help students learn crucial technology skills, provide opportunities to develop those skills in applied learning environments, and connect the Kennedy School to technologists working to improve democracy. Current initiatives include an Innovation Field Lab for students and the DataSmart City Solutions platform for practitioners. Realizing the Democratic Potential of Cities Cities and metropolitan regions are often places where people with different backgrounds come together to achieve a just and fair society. However, all too often cities reveal our inability to use the democratic process to affirm and bridge differences for the common good. The Challenges to Democracy series included a number of events exploring


IN THE NEWS

cities as political systems—taking the temperature of the health of local democracy. A book talk with the Ash Center’s Steve Goldsmith and coauthor Susan Crawford examined their new title The Responsive City: Engaging Communities through Data-Smart Governance. Quinton Mayne moderated a panel discussion and screening of new documentary films about urban politics and life featuring King Williams, director of The Atlanta Way, and Andrew Padilla, director of El Barrio Tours: Gentrification USA. The center also cohosted a JFK Jr. Forum event on promising solutions for how to build more democratic police forces that are seen as effective and legitimate by their communities, featuring Professor Phillip Goff, UCLA; Mayor Annise D. Parker, City of Houston; and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, who also chairs President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. These and related events reveal one of the major distinctions of the Ash Center’s work: the extent to which "sense of place" is encouraged in research, training, and conferences relating to local governance. In US cities and beyond, Ash scholars are investing significant time and effort to understand dynamics at the local and regional level. They are identifying, analyzing, and disseminating best practices, then working hard to find ways in which such practices can be expanded to the national level. Much of the center’s work in this capacity relates to sustainable and equitable development. Examples of such work span from political reconciliation in Myanmar to Mekong River Delta water governance, and from US municipal governance innovation competitions to Chinese electric grid reform and renewable energy promotion. Participation and Engagement A number of challenges from the series focused on participation and engagement in the political process: the future of social movements, the 50year anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, and the integration of immigrants into a community’s civic

FAR LEFT 50 Years after the Voting Rights Act discussion with Professor Alex Keyssar, Harvard Kennedy School; Penda D. Hair, Co-founder and Co-Director, Advancement Project; and Congressman Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (D-VA) LEFT Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN), Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), and Steve Dwyer of the Office of the House Democratic Whip listen to presentations at the final #Hack4Congress event held in Washington, DC, on May 12, 2015

Democracy Reinvented: Participatory Budgeting and Civic Innovation in America By Hollie Russon Gilman Brookings Institution and the Ash Center, 2016 Democracy Reinvented: Participatory Budgeting and Civic Innovation in America is the first academic study of the American experiment with participatory budgeting, a practice that allows citizens to offer proposals for and ultimately to vote on the allocation of public funds. Last year in New York City alone, residents allocated $32 million dollars in public funds through participatory budgeting. Diverse cities across the country are also implementing the practice. Using scores of interviews, field observations, process tracing, survey research, and a difference-in-difference approach, the book offers a rigorous assessment of the promise and perils of this wave of civic innovation in American cities. It also provides a new analytic framework for assessing whether these new experiments in democracy actually achieve their aims of civic engagement, government accountability, and the political engagement of racial minorities and other traditionally marginalized groups. The book draws on the author's experience as a policy advisor in the White House incorporating participatory budgeting and other civic innovations into open government policy. In addition to participatory budgeting, the book discusses pilot programs in transparency for government data, peer-to-peer microlending, and crowdfunding for public works policies, policies that have been tried in cities as different as Seattle and Buffalo. Civic innovations like these, designed to engage citizens in governance, will continue to grow as a prominent topic in urban governance and American politics.

and political life. The Challenges to Democracy series included a number of events exploring questions such as whether new restrictions on voting rights spell the end of longstanding efforts to expand the right to vote. And how far should we extend civil and political rights to immigrants, whether they are here with or without authorization, and what responsibilities should we expect in return? Notable events included a book talk with Hahrie Han of Wellesley University on her new book How Organizations Develop Activists: Civic Associations and Leadership in the 21st Century, and two JFK Jr. Forum events featuring nationally recognized political and civil rights leaders—one on what has and has not changed over the 50 years since the passing of the Voting Rights Act and another on the timely and complicated question of policing in the 21st century and the role it plays in the health of local democracy. The center partnered with local community groups and the Office of the Mayor of Lawrence, Massachusetts, to host a town hall-type discussion on immigrant integration that attracted 250 community members. A key feature of the series was a special Innovations in American Government Award designed specifically to recognize government-led innovations that demonstrate enhanced public engagement and participation in the governance of towns, cities, states, and the nation. The winner, Participatory Budgeting in New York City from the New York City Council’s office,

will receive a $100,000 grant to support dissemination activities. As these events suggest, the Ash Center is home to multiple research and programmatic efforts related to political participation in its many forms, from understanding political parties in Latin America and the Arab Spring in the Middle East to helping to strengthen social movements and local civic engagement. The center will deepen its involvement with Participedia, an online opensource clearinghouse for new forms of participatory politics and governance around the world. The Transparency for Development project is a fiveyear, multi-country study led by Professor and Acting Dean Archon Fung on the impact of community-led transparency and accountability initiatives on health outcomes. With October’s #Tech4Democracy Showcase and Challenge, the center is also deepening its local ties among students, entrepreneurs, community leaders, and citizens using their creativity and knowledge of digital technology to engage their communities and elected officials. The Challenges to Democracy series has been a rewarding effort to broaden and deepen dialogue on the health of American democracy among a number of new audiences. We look forward to continuing these conversations on some the most salient and complex issues facing governance in the United C States and beyond. We hope you will join us!

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IN THE NEWS

Update on Southeast Asia

The Lower Mekong Public Policy Initiative Do Vietnam’s current policies that encourage three crops of rice per year boost livelihoods in the Mekong Delta’s flood plains? Are there socioeconomic losers in the communities along the EastWest Economic Corridor that links Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam? What is the appropriate mix of energy sources in Laos? The Lower Mekong Public Policy Initiative (LMPPI) will be investigating these and related questions that explore the interconnections between the environment, agriculture, and livelihoods over the next 12 months. In the summer of 2015, LMPPI, housed at the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program (managed by the Ash Center) in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, formed five research partnerships with universities and think tanks in the countries of the Lower Mekong region (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar) and in the US. The research projects underway involve studies of the sustainability of shrimp/rice rotations in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam in the face of environmental and economic pressures; the sustainable livelihood generation strategies for population groups along the East-West Corridor in Myanmar, Lao PDR, and Vietnam; the rehabilitation of floating rice/upland crop farming systems in the upper Mekong Delta to conserve water, boost farmers’ incomes, and reverse the environmental damage associated with intensive triple rice cropping; the impact of changes in Vietnam’s rice policies on the production responses of rice farmers in Cambodia; and alternative energy generation strategies involving the waters of the mainstream of the Mekong River. Each of these studies was selected because it is integral to a critical issue in current public policy and is expected to have a significant impact on pol-

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icy dialogue and debate in the respective countries. They were formulated with the direct engagement of key policymakers from their inception and during their implementation. In addition to regional events to discuss the studies' conclusions with stakeholders and decision-makers, a number of outputs including policy briefs, policy papers, and articles will ensure that findings are broadly disseminated. Three additional research projects are under review and are expected to be launched in the near future.

Myanmar Dialogue and Lessons from Indonesia Over the past several years, Myanmar has made important strides toward moving away from a junta-controlled government. As a result, the country is enjoying renewed—if still modest—linkages with the rest of the world and raising expectations that it could be set for a period of sustained development and unity. But, are the conditions for such a positive transformation really in place? The long period of isolation the country is just emerging from has left all primary stakeholders—including the government, army, opposition, ethnic groups, and civil society—with a partial view of the problems the country faces. At the time of writing, general elections were scheduled for November of 2015. It is expected that they will be fiercely contested and the aftermath could be chaotic. The next president will need 333 votes from both upper and lower houses to be elected and it is uncertain who will win. However, given that the military holds 166 seats by appointment, it is certain that Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing will play an important role as a coalition partner. Any future government will face a daunting set of issues. Civil strife and poorly distributed growth,

aggravated by recent massive land-takings in ethnic areas, have led to the migration of millions of young workers from the country while poor education makes those left behind less productive. Heroin and amphetamine use is rampant, especially in many ethnic areas, and is controlled by semi-official gangs and ethnic armed groups. China’s influence is already very considerable and growing, in spite of popular anger towards many Chinese investments. The virulent Buddhist ideology that has been promoted by rich business executives and other elements of elite society will not easily be turned off after the elections or even reduced, and could lead to extremist groups taking root in the region. These developments, in addition to the challenge of devising a fair mechanism for sharing the revenues of billions of dollars a year from raw materials, will make negotiating a federal system very difficult. Without the sympathetic support of the military for a successful transition, it will be all but impossible. It is against this backdrop that in August 2015, the Harvard Kennedy School Myanmar Program (housed at the Ash Center), together with the Institute for Peace and Democracy and Proximity Designs based respectively in Indonesia and Myanmar, hosted five generals from the Myanmar Army as well as representatives of civil society in Bali, Indonesia. The three-day program—supported by grants from Omidyar Networks, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, and the Royal Norwegian Government—focused on the alternatives and choices facing Myanmar at its current juncture. The attending generals, which were selected by the Commander-in-Chief, had the opportunity to engage in structured discussions with Indonesian generals and other figures who had directed Indonesia’s transition from military to civilian rule and who had helped to settle ethnic strife in Aceh and religious conflict in Maluku. The pro-


IN THE NEWS

LEFT Lt. General Ye Aung, Judge Advocate General of the Myanmar Army, speaks at a structured discussion between the Indonesian and Myanmar militaries in Bali, Indonesia

gram reviewed similarities and differences between Myanmar and Indonesia, and examined the results of military control, directly or indirectly, on the development or deterioration of a country. The working hypothesis was that Myanmar can choose to move towards a successful Indonesia-style solution involving real political negotiation, compromise, and civilian rule. Or, Myanmar can choose to move towards a style of governance more like Pakistan, which is marked by sustained internal conflicts and fewer favorable outcomes. By all accounts, the program was notable for its candid and productive conversations, and provided Myanmar’s military leaders with a greater understanding of their country's current path in relation to broadly comparable other countries in the region. The hope is that with the additional economic and institutional insights they gained, the participants will be able to foster new avenues for key players, including but not limited to the military, to explore alternative policy options available and to pursue an informed and productive dialogue about Myanmar’s future.

Fulbright University Vietnam On the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, in the Saigon High-Tech Park, a massive experiment in higher education is about to take shape. Ground will soon be broken for the campus of Fulbright University Vietnam, an ambitious undertaking to build the country’s first independent, not-for-profit university. The seeds for this new university were planted nearly two decades ago when the Ash Center’s Tommy Vallely helped establish the Fulbright Economics and Teaching Program (FETP), a partnership between the University of Economics, Ho Chi Minh City and Harvard Kennedy School. FETP has

been a leading intellectual force in public policy education in Vietnam. Building on this long track record of academic achievement, Vallely is now working to make a wider mark on the education sector in Vietnam. “Vietnam is a rapidly growing economy, but its growth has not been on par with its neighbor, China,” said Vallely in a recent interview. “Part of that is due to its human capital. It hasn’t built up a university system that can produce the skills the country needs to sustain a high enough growth rate.” The World Bank in a 2014 report ranked the country in the bottom half of rankings of ASEAN countries’ workforce development. “There simply does not yet exist a large enough pool of highly trained workers in Vietnam who are capable of helping the country meet its economic growth targets,” added Vallely. In this educational void, Vallely saw an opportunity to elevate FETP and ensure its sustainability into the future by working to transform the school into a full-fledged university. “What we have built with FETP is the envy of universities across the US who are interested in expanding their work in Vietnam,” said Vallely. “FETP has an unparalleled track record in Vietnam and was the most logical building block for FUV.” Of course building a university from scratch is no easy undertaking. “We expect FUV to grow organically over a number of years after its founding,” said Ben Wilkinson, the executive director of the Trust for University Innovation in Vietnam (TUIV). Prior to assuming his leadership position with TUIV, Wilkinson served as the director of the HKS Vietnam Program and worked to administer the Fulbright School for Harvard. Wilkinson’s new organization, TUIV, is charged with helping to midwife the birth of FUV as an independent institute of higher education. Vallely serves as chair of TUIV’s board.

FETP will become the cornerstone of the new university, but represents only one part of Vallely and Wilkinson’s ambitions for FUV. “FETP has shaped a generation of Vietnamese policymakers,” said Wilkinson, “and we expect that as core component of FUV, it will continue to do so.” The university also intends to build an undergraduate college as well as an engineering school to meet the country’s persistent desire for highly qualified graduates in the STEM fields. Vallely and Wilkinson have made tremendous strides in building political and financial support for FUV. In July, Le Thanh Hai, the Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee, formally provided an investment license for the university following the approval in principle by the prime minister in June. The license is a critical milestone in the creation of FUV, and allows TUIV to begin planning and designing the new university in earnest. FUV also has an important champion in Secretary of State John Kerry. On a trip to Hanoi this summer, Kerry, along with US Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius, publicly hailed the creation of FUV. “Fulbright University will be an incredible asset to Vietnam, because with academic freedom and with the energy and association with Harvard and all of the things that will come from it, they’ll...take its education levels to an even higher level,” Secretary Kerry said in remarks to a group of FETP students. TUIV has also worked to build support for the university on Capitol Hill and managed to break the congressional logjam by securing nearly $17 million from Congress for the university early this year. That funding, in addition to a separate grant of $2.5 million awarded to the Ash Center by the State Department to help transition the operations of FETP to FUV, will allow the university to open its doors to students next year. The Vietnamese government is matching this commitment with its own in-kind contribution. In the Saigon High-Tech Park, the Vietnamese government has provided FUV with 37 acres for its new campus, nestled next to Intel’s Vietnam headquarters and a slew of other multinational corporations on a rent-free basis. For Vallely, the opportunity to break ground on the university is the perfect culmination of a career devoted to building educational links between the US and Vietnam. “There is no doubt in my mind that FUV will bring our two countries closer together and do much to help Vietnam prosper in the 21st century,” Vallely added.

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IN THE FIELD

Student Focus Ash Center Supports Experimental and Research Activities for Students The Ash Center is committed to encouraging careers in the public sector, providing opportunities for students to explore in greater depth the topics and questions of most interest to them, and strengthening the connection between students and faculty affiliated with the center. Ash Center Summer Fellowships Since 2008, the center has been placing students in summer fellowships with some of the most creative and effective public officials and policy advisors in the country, not only to learn but also to add value by sharing cutting-edge trends and ideas explored at HKS. This summer, twelve HKS students and one Graduate School of Design (GSD) student were hosted by public-sector agencies: Sarah Allin MPP ’15, Innovation Field Lab, Chelsea, Fitchburg, and Lawrence, MA Karina Baba MPP ’15, Innovation Field Lab, Chelsea, MA Uttara Gharpure MPP ’15, Innovation Field Lab, Fitchburg, MA Glenn Grimshaw MPA-MC ’15, Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation, New York, NY Emily Jones MPP ’15, Innovation Field Lab, Lawrence, MA Adam LaRose MPP ’16, US Department of Education Monica Liu MPP ’16, Mayor’s Office, Los Angeles, CA Norma Torres Mendoza MPP ’16, Office of City Councilor Edward Gonzalez, Houston, TX Courtney Sharpe MUP ’16, GSD, Mayor’s Office, Philadelphia, PA Chris Sommerfeld MPA ’16, US Office of Management and Budget Rachael Stephens MPP ’16, Department of Small Business Services, New York, NY Jiru Xu MPP ’16, Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, Boston, MA Deena Zeplowitz MPP ’16, Mayor’s Office, Portland, OR

Tran Chi Trung, MPP '16, Harvard Kennedy School; Jordan Feri '16, Harvard College; and Nguyen Minh Trang '16, Tufts University, were part of a team that designed materials for and implemented the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) program at FETP in August 2015. Launched in 2013, YSEALI is President Obama’s signature program to strengthen leadership development and networking in Southeast Asia. Over two weeks in August 2015, the Fulbright School hosted 160 Vietnamese students selected for their leadership qualities and passion for voluntary work and community services. Students explored such topics as opportunities and challenges of Vietnam for its integration into the region and the world in a globalization context, leadership and integration, and soft skills for negotiation and debate. Tran Chi Trung and Nguyen Minh Trang focused on creating a negotia-

tion simulation exercise for the participants and providing logistical support throughout the session. Jordan Feri developed a case study and various materials featuring the challenges posed to Vietnam by the ASEAN Economic Community’s regional integration process. Nguyen Trang '17, Clark University; and Dang Tan Duc MPP '16, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, conducted research on the financing of subway systems in megacities in Southeast Asia and around the world, and lessons this holds for Vietnam. China Public Policy Program Student Research Grants The China Public Policy Program financially supports Harvard University students pursuing China-related internships, independent research, and other forms of study conducted in China. Iza Ding, PhD candidate in Government at FAS: Responsiveness over Results—Environmental Governance and Political Approval in Urban China GUAN Yichen, PhD candidate in Political Science at FAS: The Uyghur Challenge—Islamic Insurgency on the Rise in Xinjiang HAO Ruixi MPP '15: Effective Philanthropy: What Private Foundations in China Can Learn from their Western Counterparts?

TOP ROW (left to right) Deena Zeplowitz with Portland Mayor Charlie Hales at the Rose Festival Courtney Sharpe at the Police Youth Summit in Philadelphia

Vietnam Program Internships The Vietnam Program invites firstyear MPP, MPA, or MPA/ID students to intern at the Fulbright School, a center for public policy research in Ho Chi Minh City.

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Adam LaRose with US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan RIGHT Jiru Xu with the Boston Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics civic innovation group

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HUANG Zhenqian MPA/ID '16: Impact of black carbon emissions on climate, public health, and development in cities, especially from the transport sector Jennifer Hurford MPP/MBA '17: Emotional Intelligence Training in China Stephen Leonelli MPP '16: Universal Periodic Review—A New Tool for China’s LGBT Movement? Lance Li MPP '15: Electric Vehicle: Solving Beijing's endemic pollution problem LIU Xi MPP '15: Girls' dream project Reshma Ramachandran MPP '15/MD at Brown '15: China policy tools for increasing access to affordable biologic medicines Austin Strange, PhD candidate at Government at FAS: Elite Power Consolidation and Chinese Foreign Relations TIAN He MPA/ID '15: Industrial upgrade in coastal China Gary Wang MPP '15: The China Development Bank's Strategic Options in Africa XU Jiru MPP '16: Government Innovation program ZHANG Jingyi, PhD student at Graduate School of Design: Consumer City—The Impact of Amenities and Mixed Land Use on Housing Price in Shanghai ZHENG Yinan MPP '15: Accelerating the Implementation of the Upcoming Waste Charging Policy in Hong Kong ZOU Xun MC/MPA '15: Policy on communicable diseases and sex and reproductive health


IN THE FIELD

Student Focus Student Research Explores Open Government Reform in Tunisia The Tunisian revolution that began four years ago was both turbulent and inspiring, helping to catalyze uprisings throughout the region that led to the Arab Spring’s only complete transition to democracy. Tunisia’s path forward, however, is fraught with equally critical challenges to establishing political stability and effective democratic governance. After nearly a half century of authoritarian rule, the country’s new democratically elected government is working to institutionalize citizen participation and promote reforms intended to increase transparency and accountability. Nada Zohdy MPP ’15 focused her Policy Analysis Exercise (PAE) research on Tunisia’s sizeable and vibrant civil society, analyzing how these organizations viewed open government reforms unfolding throughout the country. “There are two basic elements to open government,” Zohdy explained while presenting her research as part of the Ash Center’s weekly student speaker series. “Transparency or opening up information for public scrutiny and analysis is the core element. The second, which was the primary focus of my research, involves increasing opportunities for citizen participation and engagement in the policymaking process.” Supported by the Ash Center and her PAE Advisor Associate Professor Tarek Masoud, Zohdy traveled to Tunisia in January 2015. She conducted over 30 interviews with civil society leaders, local government officials, and political party representatives in the capital of Tunis and the southern city of Sfax. She followed these interviews with an online survey, capturing data on over 100 organizations. Zohdy analyzed civil society leaders’ responses to determine if their answers were correlated to the type of organization they were involved with and its location, capacity (budget, number of staff), and functional role (advocacy, research, or service provision). Though she found great diversity in terms of the organizations’ size and capacity — volunteers ran over half of them — she was surprised to see universal support for open government reforms and transparency measures in particular. “Some of the civil society leaders I spoke with were younger folks who considered themselves watchdogs of the revolution,” said Zohdy. “They were committed to holding the government accountable and seeing Tunisia achieve its full democratic potential. Other people, especially older individuals, identified transparency-related reforms and good governance as vital for encouraging economic investment, which they saw as the most important thing for Tunisia’s future.”

Nada Zohdy MPP ’15 focused her Policy Analysis

“While their motivations may have varied, it was truly inspiring to find such a universal commitment to improving democratic processes,” said Zohdy. “It reflected the general spirit I saw in the country, and the sense that Tunisians had achieved something historic and their actions would have a direct impact on future generations.” Zohdy was also surprised to find that many civil society leaders viewed their relationship to the government as collaborative as opposed to adversarial. They saw their close, on-the-ground connection to everyday citizens as a resource for local government officials who were interested in meeting with them, and they recognized the significant challenges government officials faced—many of whom were holding office for the first time. C

Exercise research on Tunisia’s sizeable and vibrant civil society, analyzing how these organizations viewed open government reforms unfolding throughout the country

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RESEARCH BRIEF

Fellows Focus Meet Our New Fellows

Ford Foundation Mason Fellows The Ford Foundation Mason Fellowships are awarded to meritorious midcareer students with financial need and a demonstrated interest in the overarching issues of concern to the Ash Center to study at HKS for an intensive, one-year master’s degree in public administration. The Center is sponsoring the following students for this academic year: Ana Babović, MC-Mason ’16, from Serbia Paula Brown, MC-Mason ’16, from Jamaica Ivo Correa, MC-Mason ’16, from Brazil Hla Hla Win, MC-Mason ’16, from Myanmar Roy and Lila Ash Fellow The Roy and Lila Ash Fellowship in Democracy supports students with a strong interest in the broad questions of democratic governance, a capacity for leadership, a commitment to search and inquiry, and a dedication to advancements in social justice and service to citizens around the world. This year’s Roy and Lila Ash Fellow is Priscilla Lee, MC-MPA ’16, who has spent the past 24 years as a municipal employee in Cambridge, MA, working as a teacher, program developer, and school administrator, and has been active in the grassroots statewide efforts to achieve legal protections and rights for LGBTQ individuals since 2004. Democracy Fellowships The Ash Center’s Democracy Fellowships support predoctoral and postdoctoral scholars as well as practitioners in research areas related to democratic governance. This year, the following six new Democracy Fellows joined the Center: Simon Beste, PhD candidate, Democracy Studies, University of Lucerne, Switzerland Aditya Dasgupta, PhD candidate, Department of Government, Harvard University Sean Gray, PhD in Political Science, University of British Columbia (arriving spring 2016)

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Chandu Krishnan, CEME Senior Fellow, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University Brian Palmer-Rubin, PhD in Political Science, University of California Berkeley Andrew Pope, PhD candidate, Department of History, Harvard University Tomorrow Educational Foundation Student Fellows The Tomorrow Educational Foundation Fellowship is awarded each year to Mason Fellows from China with financial need. Candidates must demonstrate a strong interest in the areas of domestic politics and social development of China, with a focus on public policy challenges. Qi Tan, MC-Mason ’16 Ke Zheng, MC-Mason ’16 Chun Zhou, MC-Mason ’16 China Public Policy Postdoctoral Fellowships The Ash Center China Programs offer two postdoctoral fellowships in the field of contemporary Chinese public policy to recent PhDs of exceptional promise. The China Programs welcomed the following two new postdoctoral fellows for AY2015–17: Huriong Chen, PhD, University of Hong Kong Sara Newland, PhD in Political Science, University of California-Berkeley

dom to pursue independent research projects on public policy issues related to Asia, with the help of the Ash Center’s Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia and other Harvard resources. The Center welcomed 18 new Rajawali Fellows this fall. For a complete listing of this year’s Rajawali Fellows, please visit the Ash Center website at ash.harvard.edu. Ash Center Senior Fellow The Ash Center occasionally invites distinguished scholars and professionals from the government, academia, and businesses to address issues pertaining to democratic governance and innovation. This fall the Center welcomed Muhamad Chatib Basri, the former Minister of Finance in Indonesia. Program on Crisis Leadership Fellows The Program on Crisis Leadership (PCL) offers fellowships to academics and senior practitioners conducting research and working on issues related to emergency preparedness, crisis response, disaster recovery, and other aspects of disaster risk reduction. For the fall 2015 semester, PCL is pleased to welcome two new fellows to Harvard: Martina (Tina) Comes, PhD, Associate Professor, Centre for Integrated

Emergency Management, Department for ICT, University of Agder (Norway) Bartel Van de Walle, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Information Management, Tilburg School of Economics and Management, Tilburg University (Netherlands) Technology and Democracy Non-resident Fellowship The Technology and Democracy Fellowship is part of a new Ash Center initiative to explore technology’s role in improving democratic governance—with a focus on connecting to practice and on helping Harvard Kennedy School students develop crucial technology skills. The Technology and Democracy Fellowship is intended to support fellows as they design, develop, or refine a substantive project that is salient to their field and seeks to improve the quality of democratic governance. This project could take the form of a new platform, service, or organization, or could entail research, reflection, and writing on issues that most interest the fellow. Tiana Epps-Johnson, Founder and Executive Director, Center for Technology and Civic Life Marci Harris, Founder and CEO, POPVOX Solomon Kahn, Director of Analytics, Paperless Post Seamus Kraft, Executive Director and Co- Founder, OpenGov Foundation Dhrumil Mehta, Database Journalist, 538

China Energy Postdoctoral Fellowship The Ash Center China Programs offer support for postdoctoral scholars working on research relating to the intersection of innovation, energy policy, and technology in China. This year’s China Energy Postdoctoral Fellow is John Liu, who received his PhD in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Rajawali Fellows The Rajawali Fellows Program allows predoctoral and postdoctoral scholars as well as practitioners the free-

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ABOVE Fall 2015 fellows on a tour of Harvard's Widener Library


IN THE NEWS

Event Snapshots General and Flag Officer Homeland Security Executive Seminar April 7–10, 2015 In early April, the Program on Crisis Leadership in conjunction with HKS Executive Education offered a training program sponsored by the US National Guard’s Homeland Security Institute for National Guard generals and Coast Guard admirals, as well as equivalent-level civilian officials from the Department of Homeland Security and the military’s Northern Command. The annual, four-day General and Flag Officer Homeland Security Executive Seminar (GFOS) works to equip participants for response to a large-scale disaster, such as a major hurricane, pandemic outbreak, or terrorist attack, in which military responders would need to work effectively with civilian counterparts and nongovernmental organizations. Chaired by Dutch Leonard and Arnold Howitt, faculty co-directors of the Program on Crisis Leadership, GFOS focuses heavily on interagency coordination and encourages participants to prepare for decentralized emergency response operations. As many of today’s major disasters involve multiple agencies and interests beyond the military, the National Guard and their partners must employ a high level of cooperation and coordination in order to be effective. Using case studies of significant disasters such as the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and Japan’s 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident, participants worked through possible solutions to some of the complex challenges that leaders face in such times of crisis. This year’s program also featured a panel discussion on “Interagency Coordination and Unified Command During a Domestic Emergency” that included speakers from the highest ranks of the military, including General Frank Grass, Chief of the Pentagon’s National Guard Bureau, and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ; Admiral Paul Zukunft, Commandant, US Coast Guard; and Lt. General Michael Dubie, Deputy Commander, US Northern Command, and Vice Commander, US Element, North American Aerospace Defense Command. The event was moderated by Juliette Kayyem, HKS Lecturer and former Assistant Secretary, US Department of Homeland Security.

Certificate presentation to General Frank Grass, Chief, US National Guard Bureau, and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, from the HKS General and Flag Officer Homeland Security Executive Seminar. L-R: Lieutenant General Michael Dubie, Deputy Commander, Northcom; Admiral Paul Zukunft, Commandant of the US Coast Guard; Genl. Grass; Major General Scott Rice, Adjutant General, Massachusetts National Guard; and Dr. Arnold Howitt and Professor Dutch Leonard, Program Co-Chairs and Faculty Co-Directors, Program on Crisis Leadzership, Harvard Kennedy School (April 9, 2015)

Conference on Responsible Business Leadership in China and the US August 7, 2015 On August 7, the Ash Center and the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB) hosted a conference on responsible business leadership in the US and China. The event was held as part of the Ash Center and CKGSB’s joint research and executive education initiative exploring how the private sector can contribute to the public good in innovative ways beyond the traditional means of providing employment and goods. Ash Center Director Tony Saich made opening remarks and CKGSB Founder Dean Xiang Bing delivered a keynote speech describing the strikingly similar challenges facing both countries in terms of income inequality, sustainability, generating new perspectives on leadership focused on innovation, and moving past dichotomous thinking related to public/private and East/West differentiations. While it is important for businesses to make a profit, Dean Xiang Bing said, the ability to “compete with compassion and empathy” and consider the well being of communities is crucial to the success of today’s business leaders. Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY) also made remarks, describing the importance of social responsibility and corporations’ role in helping to alleviate global poverty.

Ash Center Director Tony Saich speaking at the Conference on Responsible Business Leadership in China and the US

China's Leaders in Development August 10–September 18, 2015 On August 10, Chinese officials from the central government and local provinces joined Ash Center faculty at Tsinghua University in Beijing for the 13th annual China's Leaders in Development (CLD) program, designed to prepare Chinese officials to more effectively address the ongoing challenges related to the country’s national reforms. Spanning six weeks, the program began with a two-week session in China led by faculty from Harvard Kennedy School and Tsinghua University. In Cambridge, participants took courses on a host of topics, including US policies and institutions, skills-building, innovations in urban design and sustainability, innovations in urban management, innovations in public service delivery, and leadership and strategy. CLD participants supplemented their time in the classroom with a number of site visits designed to increase their understanding of the US government structure and expose them to local organizations promoting civic innovation.

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IN THE NEWS

They visited the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for an interactive session on legislative action and toured the city of Somerville for an overview of the PerformanceStat management method and its implementation in a local government context. While in Somerville, participants also visited Greentown Labs, a facility where entrepreneurs and startups work to solve complex energy and environmental challenges. Before arriving at Harvard, participants visited the headquarters of CLD sponsor Amway Corporation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as well as US government agencies and think tanks in Washington, DC.

Asia Public Policy Forum August 12–13, 2015 The 2015 Asia Public Policy Forum (APPF) was held in August in Jakarta, Indonesia. Over 120 participants attended the event, which helps build networks between government officials, private sector leaders, and academics working in Indonesia and neighboring ASEAN countries. Each annual APPF addresses a specific policy challenge affecting Indonesia and Asia more broadly, with the goal of improving the design, implementation, and evaluation of current public policies. The topic of this year’s APPF was “The Financing and Delivery of Public Health Services in Asia,” a critical policy issue impacting finance and health ministries throughout Asia. The event provided scholars and practitioners with the opportunity to share their insights on improving the coverage and quality of health care, as well as ensuring the financial sustainability of public health services in the region. Over the course of six sessions, the speakers covered a range of subjects including: (1) the financing of national health insurance; (2) the provision of public health services at the local level; (3) the provision of basic health services in rural areas; (4) health challenges related to epidemiological transitions, such as the impact of aging in depopulating countries, the effect of work on obesity, and the provision of mental health services; (5) cross-cutting issues in the financing and delivery of public health; and (6) emerging threats to global public health. “This year’s APPF produced high-level presentations and valuable discourse on a host of issues critical to the economic and physical health of Asian countries,” said Jay Rosengard, academic director for the center's Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia. “We are now working with many of the speakers to publish and disseminate their work as widely as possible.”

Thailand@Harvard Lecture Series September 9, 2015 On September 9, the Ash Center hosted Dr. Veerathai Santiprabhob as part of the annual Thailand@Harvard Lecture series in partnership with the Harvard University Thai Studies program. Addressing a packed audience in Bell Hall, Dr. Veerathai, a Harvard University alum with a PhD in Economics and a career spanning the public and private sectors, offered reflections on what the global community can expect and learn from the country’s reform efforts in the wake of Thailand’s ongoing political upheavals. Michael Herzfeld, the director of Thai Studies Program at the Harvard Asia Center and Jay Rosengard, the academic director of the Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia at the Ash Center, provided opening remarks and introduced Dr. Veerathai. When Dr. Veerathai assumes the post of Governor of the Bank of Thailand in October 2015, he will become the Central Bank’s youngest leader in four decades. Previously, Dr. Veerathai served as the executive vice president of the Stock Exchange of Thailand and an economist for the International Monetary Fund. Dr. Veerathai first described the need for multidimensional reform, and then presented an overview of reform initiatives now being designed and implemented in Thailand in the areas of macroeconomic management, infrastructure development, state-owned enterprise governance and operations, corruption, human trafficking, and the political system. After explaining the objectives and nature of these reform initiatives, Dr. Veerathai also highlighted challenges in moving from the design to the imple-

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Participants from the China's Leaders in Development program gather in the JFK Jr. Forum at Harvard Kennedy School

Lecturer Jay Rosengard (right) moderates a panel discussion at the Asia Public Policy Forum with speakers (from left): Profs. Hasbullah Thabrany, School of Public Health, University of Indonesia; Mukul Asher, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore; and Ramon Paterno, National Institutes of Health, University of the Philippines

Dr. Veerathai Santiprabhob, incoming Governor of the Bank of Thailand, speaking at the fifth annual Thailand@Harvard Lecture


IN THE NEWS

reach efforts of the Boston 2024 bid committee and its supporters. On September 16, the Ash Center hosted a discussion with No Boston Olympics Voluntary Co-chairs Chris Dempsey, Liam Kerr, and Kelley Gossett to better understand how they were able to convince voters in the commonwealth that the Olympics were a bad deal. HKS Lecturer and Ash Center faculty affiliate Jorrit de Jong moderated the conversation, which was also joined by two journalists from Boston Magazine— Garrett Quinn and Kyle Clauss—who covered the bid’s rise and fall, and pointed out critical flaws in Boston 2024’s approach. “The bid organizers didn’t even attempt to get out into the community and ask people what they thought about the bid. Boston 2024 created a cloud of suspicion not only among the public, but among the press,” said Quinn. The panel discussion was followed by a lively question-and-answer session.

Project on Municipal Innovation Advisory Group No Boston Olympics voluntary co-chairs Kelley Gossett, Liam Kerr, and Chris Dempsey; HKS Lecturer Jorrit de Jong; and Boston Magazine journalists Kyle Clauss and Garrett Quinn

Thirty-seven mayoral chiefs of staff from the largest cities across the country gathered for the 14th convening of the Project on Municipal Innovation Advisory Group

mentation stage, especially in the current non-democratic environment and amidst slow economic growth. He also noted the need to increase engagement of all stakeholders in the current reform process, and identified key issues not addressed in the government’s reform program, particularly civil service and education reform, as well as decentralization.

No Boston Olympics September 16, 2015 The debate over whether the Boston area should have played host to the 2024 Summer Olympic Games resulted in a stinging defeat for those in the city’s political and financial establishment who publicly threw their weight behind the Olympic bid. A well-funded local organizing committee backed by prominent members of the Boston business community that operated with the blessing of much of the city’s political leadership failed to convince the majority of Bostonians that hosting the 2024 Summer Games would be a net positive for the city and commonwealth. No Boston Olympics, a small volunteer-led grassroots organization operating on a shoestring budget demonstrated how through the savvy use of social media and creative organizing, they were able to counter the formidable out-

September 24–26, 2015 The Project on Municipal Innovation Advisory Group (PMI-AG) met for the 14th time at Harvard Kennedy School in September. PMI-AG is comprised of chiefs of staff, deputy mayors, and policy directors from 45 of the nation’s largest and most creative cities. In partnership with Living Cities, the Ash Center convenes two PMI-AG in-person meetings per year. At each, representatives discuss important policy challenges and innovative solutions with national policy experts, academic thought leaders, and philanthropic partners. Ash Center staff and Kennedy School students document these conversations to capture and share best practices developed through the network toward replication in other interested cities. The theme of the September meeting was Fighting Inequality: Leveraging Opportunities for Innovation. The PMI-AG members discussed the emerging role of chief data officers as key policy drivers, city hall as a leader in cross-sector initiatives to engage disconnected youth, community policing as a vehicle for community engagement, and implementation of a proactive racial equity framework in government policy and practice. Speakers included Alan Berube, senior fellow and deputy director of Brookings Institute's Metropolitan Policy Program; Jack Dangermond, founder and president of Esri (a GIS technology company); Greg Nickels, former mayor of Seattle; and, Nicholas Turner, president and director of the Vera Institute of Justice.

#Tech4Democracy Showcase and Challenge October 9, 2015 This event brought together the local civic tech community and public officials looking to bring new technology to their work. Students, civic tech startups, entrepreneurs, and others with a connection to greater Boston had the opportunity to showcase their idea for a new app, web platform, policy, or program that leverages technology to improve the quality of democratic governance. Over 350 people attended #Tech4Democracy, and voted for 28 different teams competing to take home a $5,000 People's Choice prize. A second $5,000 Judge's Choice prize was awarded by a team of academics, technologists, and public officials. The People's Choice Award went to DoneGood, an app that makes it easy to find businesses that share one's values by empowering users to "vote with their wallets" to create a financial incentive for more businesses to adopt socially responsible business practices. The Judge's Choice Award went to Agora, an online civic network dedicated to purpose-driven dialogue between decision-makers and busy people concerned about their communities. The Ash Center hosted this event as part of HUBweek — a unique series of events, unexpected experiences, and celebrations of the world-changing work, art, and thinking being imagined and built in greater Boston. HUBweek was a collaboration between Harvard University, MIT, the Boston Globe, and Massachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard Kennedy School hosted a number of timely public discussions during the week on the future of US cities, wage equity, and social innovation.

www.ash.harvard.edu

Fall 2015 Communiqué

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Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation Harvard Kennedy School 79 John F. Kennedy Street Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation strives to make the world a better place by advancing excellence and innovation in governance and public policy through research, education, and public discussion. By training the very best leaders, developing powerful new ideas, and disseminating innovative solutions and institutional reforms, the Center’s goal is to meet the profound challenges facing the world’s citizens.

Ash Center Communiqué Fall 2015  

Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation Harvard Kennedy School

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