Ash Center Communiqué Fall 2018

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The Magazine of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation Fall 2018 Volume 22

Polling China Tony Saich’s Groundbreaking Survey Examines Public Opinion in China Sparking Community Organizing Ash Alumna Builds Capacity for Grassroots Campaigns in Jordan Ash Tackles Social and Economic Inequality Innovations in American Government Award Finalists Unveiled

Letter from the Director

Communiqué Fall 2018, Volume 22

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

Welcome to the 22nd issue of the Ash Center’s Communiqué magazine. Here, at the Center, we share a mission to meet the profound challenges facing the world’s citizens. In the following pages, you will see a sampling of how our community of faculty, students, fellows, and staff are working to carry out this mission every day through research, teaching, and engagement with practice. In this issue, we highlight the seven finalists of the 2018 Innovation in American Government Awards, all public programs working to better social and economic mobility (p. 12), and Professor Scott Mainwaring’s latest research as he continues to deepen our understanding of the complexity and relevance of party systems in Latin America (p. 4). This issue also introduces my own research on Chinese public opinion, drawing on 13 years of nationwide surveys (p. 10). In our alumni feature, we profile Nisreen Haj Ahmad, MC/MPA ’08 and Ash Center research fellow ’17, and her work developing grassroots organizing capacity in Jordan (p. 18). We are proud to announce Kelly Lugbill Clark MPP ’08 as the winner of the 2018 Martha H. Mauzy Award, and describe her work empowering communities (p 19). We also share the story of Yuheng Wen MPA ’19, a Dalio Scholar from a village of Henan Province, central China, who came to HKS with a deeply held commitment to advance education equality (p. 22). There is much more to be found in this issue. I invite you to explore and hope that you will enjoy learning about our work. As always, you can find more about the Ash Center—including our people, upcoming events, and latest research— on our website at

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

617-495-0557 Director Tony Saich Editor Jessica Engelman Associate Director for Communications Daniel Harsha Communications Coordinator Sarah Grucza Design forminform Photography Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program Cheryl Clegg Ryan Flynn Lorin Granger Sarah Grucza Le Thi Quynh Tram Lou-Foto Chris Mawhorter Martin Puddy Shutterstock SONG1907 Martha Stewart Supervised Release, New York City Vivian Tian Xenia Viragh Works Wonders, State of Rhode Island













In this Issue IN THE NEWS






Q + A with Scott Mainwaring

Taking China’s Pulse: Ash Center Research Team Unveils Findings from 13 Years of Public Opinion Surveys

Getting to 80%: Ash Sets a Challenge for Increased Voter Participation

Fellows Focus Meet Our New Fellows


News and Announcements



Ensuring the Future of the Lower Mekong Basin

Student Focus Ash Center Supports Experiential Learning and Research Activities for Students






Alumni in the Field Ash Alumna Sparks Community Organizing in Jordan

Fellows Spotlight Dalio Scholar’s Campaign for Education Equality in China

16 24


Event Snapshots

Innovations in American Government Award Tackles Social and Economic Inequality

Eric Holder on Gerrymandering and the Future of American Democracy


On the Bookshelf 19

Student Focus Meet the 2018 Martha H Mauzy Award Winner Kelly Lugbill Clark


Q+A with Scott Mainwaring The Ash Center sat down with Scott Mainwaring, the Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor for Brazil Studies and an Ash Center resident faculty affiliate. Mainwaring also serves as faculty co-chair of the Brazil Studies Program at Harvard University’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies. Mainwaring is editor of the recently published Party Systems in Latin America: Institutionalization, Decay, and Collapse (Cambridge University Press, 2018). Please explain the concept of party system institutionalization for someone who may not be familiar with Party Systems in Latin America or your previous book on the subject? Party system institutionalization refers to the stability and predictability of a party system. Who are the main parties? Are they stable or do they change greatly over time? Do they have a stable vote share or does their vote share change radically from one election to the next?

Scott Mainwaring, the Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor of Brazil Studies and Ash Center resident faculty affiliate, is editor of the recently published Party Systems in Latin America: Institutionalization, Decay, and Collapse

The book is focused primarily on Latin America. Why is the region particularly fertile ground for studying party system institutionalization? It's an interesting region because there's so much variance across countries in party system institutionalization, and also great variance in how party systems have changed over time. So, for example, the Chilean and Mexican party systems have been very stable and predictable over a long period of time— since free democratization in Chile in the late 1980s, and since, really, 1988 in Mexico (though that could be changing in Mexico). On the opposite end of the spectrum, you find cases like Guatemala and Peru. They're the obvious cases in which, in Guatemala, no party has won the presidency two times in a row and, in fact, often a party will win the presidency and then almost disappear. That's unfathomable to us in the US or any other advanced industrial democracy. To add just a bit, this has also changed over time in Latin America. Venezuela went from having a pretty stable party system from 1968 to 1988, to a complete collapse of the party system from the 1990s to the mid-2000s. Why are parties central to studying democracies and democratic transitions? In most countries, you get to state power through parties. The only exception would be, of course, if independents can run for office and have a realistic chance of winning, but that's not the norm in democratic politics. The norm is that parties are the vehicles for which candidates win, and so a stable party system means that there's predictability and stability in what kind of actors can win and what kind of policies they're likely to implement. This means that democratic politics becomes more predictable, more stable. Too much predictability and


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stability at the extreme isn't necessarily a great thing because it can lead to stagnation; but on the other hand, where the parameters are highly unpredictable and outsiders easily come into power—this is not good for democracy. And, as a whole, are parties in Latin America today turning more toward the institutionalized or inchoate? Well, over the last decades, slightly more toward the inchoate systems. A few systems became more institutionalized. That would be Brazil, El Salvador, and Panama, but others moved in the opposite direction. That would be some of the old, old party systems in the region, such as Argentina, which had two parties who always won—the same two from 1946 through 2015. Now one of those parties, the Radicals—which were created in 1890—they're a secondary party now. In Colombia, the two parties that always governed in the 18th and 19th centuries are now lesser parties. They haven't won the presidency in recent times—they lost in 2002 and they've really faded since then. So the tendency in Latin America, and this is a gross generalization, has been away from institutionalization, which is very contrary to what people expected three decades ago. C This interview has been edited for clarity and length.


In Appreciation of Lila and Roy Ash The Ash Center community was saddened to learn of the passing of one of its founding donors, Lila Ash, in November of last year. The unwelcome news also does present a welcome opportunity to reflect on Roy and Lila Ash’s legacy of lives dedicated to serving the public good through business and government as well as through volunteer and philanthropic activities. With their generosity and vision, the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation (as it was then named) was established in 2003 with a purpose to “encourage thoughtful and focused attention to the nature, principles, functioning, and continued innovation and adaptations essential to a living and effective democracy.” This ambition continues to guide the Center. Since its founding, the Ash Center has grown to become the largest research center at Harvard Kennedy School and at the forefront of the School’s Making Democracy Count initiative, which strives to connect theory with practice. Now, more than ever, the Ash Center community takes inspiration from Roy and Lila’s prescient insight that our democracy is fragile and that we must fight to preserve it.

Jane Mansbridge Awarded Top Political Science Prize

es into dialogue with one another to cast light on big democratic questions. She has also been a pioneering role model for women in political science.” "I am deeply honored and hope the award will help direct even more attention and intelligence to questions of how to make democracies work better," Mansbridge said.

Community Engagement Through Filmmaking

video editing software. Although workshops often focused on developing technical shooting and editing skills, Tyler also sparked discussions about how storytelling through videographic essays and short films can effect social change and how video can be a tool for connection. The group’s films covered a range of topics from diversity at the School to the benefits of an employee-owned business model and are now being used to raise awareness, educate, and engage various communities.


Jane Mansbridge, Charles F. Adams Professor in Political Leadership and Democratic Values and Ash faculty affiliate, was named winner of the 2018 Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science, an award commonly considered the Nobel Prize for political science. Mansbridge was selected for the prestigious award for her “field-defining contributions to our understanding of the theory and practice of democracy, political representation, and deliberation as well as feminist theory,” the Skytte Foundation said in an announcement. Upon conferring the award, the Skytte Foundation also observed that Mansbridge “… has brought mainstream and feminist approach-

On one day in May, a diverse group of Harvard students and alumni premiered impactful videos to an enthusiastic crowd at the Ash Center. Three months earlier, this group had little to no filmmaking skills. During the spring semester, a new study group led by Cecily Tyler MC/MPA ’16—an Ash Center research fellow, independent filmmaker, and documentary producer—taught Harvard community members how to create compelling three- to fiveminute videos in a “guerrilla-style” format. Through a series of six workshops, hosted by the Ash Center and the HKS Communications Program, participants developed video production and storytelling skills. No prior experience was required, and Tyler encouraged students to use the technology available to them, including smartphones and free

Cecily Tyler, study group leader, introduces films during a screening at the Ash Center

Fall 2018 Communiqué



Pippa Norris and Maya Sen Honored for Contributions to Political Science Two Ash faculty affiliates recently received awards for their notable contributions to their field. Pippa Norris, the Paul F. McGuire Lecturer in Comparative Politics, received two honors for her significant work in the field of political science. This winter, the Political Studies Association awarded Norris the Sir Isaiah Berlin Prize, a major international recognition, for her lifetime contributions to political studies. And, in April, Norris was named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, in the Political Science and International Relations section. The Academy is one of the nation’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers; its members include many of the most accomplished scholars and practitioners worldwide. In March, the Midwest Women’s Caucus for Political Science recognized Maya Sen, Associate Professor of Public Policy, for her research accomplishments and contributions to the discipline with the Early Career Award. The annual award is given to female (pre-tenure) faculty members who have an established publication record and continuing research activity and have shown leadership in the profession.

Student Trek to Bhutan Explores Happiness and Policymaking


HKS students, alumni, and trek leaders visit the small Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan Last December, 31 Harvard community members, including both current HKS students and alumni, journeyed to the country of Bhutan in South Asia. The trek, led by Kinga Tshering MC/MPA ‘17, a Ford Foundation Mason Fellow and a former member of the Bhutan Parliament, explored the country’s unique policymaking system that uses individual happiness and well-being as key measures for governing success. Trip participants learned about Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness (GNH) index, as well as how

Ash Center Launches New Repository of Government Data Visualizations and Maps

In April, the Ash Center’s Data-Smart City Solutions project launched Solutions Search, a new, searchable database indexing government data visualizations and geospatial solutions to critical urban problems. Solutions Search seeks to help governments and other organizations find leading examples and, ultimately, to help government technology leaders replicate successful models of datasmart governance. Examples span the city, county, state, and federal levels, and feature a wide variety of interventions and initiatives, including maps, data visualizations, and dashboards. Searchable by


Communiqué Fall 2018

GNH is practiced across different sectors, including education, health, and rural governance. Highlights of the weeklong trip included a meeting with the prime minister, visiting a civil society organization, engaging with young entrepreneurs, and talking with villagers in their homes in Rinchengang. Reflecting on the trip, HKS student Meredith Segal ’17 said, “Bhutan inspires us to believe… that happiness and economic growth can harmoniously be achieved and the pursuit of one doesn’t have to be devoid of the other.”

a project's end goal, issue area, and type of intervention, the database is a resource hub for civic leaders seeking models for replication and inspiration about how visual tools can unlock data-driven insights. Solutions Search is supported by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and can be found online at


District Mobility, a performance management program for the Washington, D.C. District Department of Transportation (DDOT) used to better quantify and qualify the state of its transportation system, is one program indexed by the Solutions Search


Ash Center Faculty Recognized with Named Chairs

In May, the School celebrated Ash Center resident affiliated faculty members Candelaria Garay and Marshall Ganz by awarding them named chair positions. Candelaria Garay is the new Ford Foundation Associate Professor of Democracy. The chair aligns with her work on social policy, collective action, and party politics in Latin America. Marshall Ganz is the new Rita E. Hauser Senior Lecturer in Leadership, Organizing, and Civil Society, reflecting his deep experience in working to build capacity for community organizing and strategy in social movements.

Tarek Masoud New Middle East Initiative Faculty Chair

Dara Kay Cohen Awarded Grant to Research Haitian Revolution

Research Explores Electric Vehicles & Air Quality in China

Ash Center resident faculty affiliate Dara Kay Cohen, Ford Foundation Associate Professor of Public Policy, has been awarded a Challenges to Democracy research grant by the Center to support her research on the politics of the Haitian Revolution. Cohen’s research project explores the causes and consequences of this important historical case that has been largely overlooked in the discipline of political science, as well as contributes to testing theories of political violence that have been mainly been applied to cases of civil war in the post-WWII period. In addition, Cohen’s research examines complex issues of gender and race in the context of rebellion, and uses diverse methods of analysis to harness the rich historical record.

A multidisciplinary team of Harvard scholars and their counterparts in China, supported by the Harvard Global Institute and the Ash Center’s Hui Fund for Generating Powerful Ideas, find that incentivizing owners to slowly charge electric vehicles during off-peak hours allows for more effective use of wind-generated power. Quickly charging vehicles in the higher energy “fast mode,” on the other hand, can actually result in higher emissions of CO2. Additionally, as buses and taxis in China are significant producers of harmful emissions, electrifying the bus and taxi fleet is the most effective option for improving air quality. The research, published in the May issue of Nature Energy, was authored by Xinyu Chen, Hongcai Zhang, Zhiwei Xu, Chris P. Nielsen, Michael B. McElroy, and Jiajun Lv.

Governor Martin O’Malley Named Visiting Fellow

track record of policy innovation and a strong understanding of how to make government work,” said Professor Stephen Goldsmith, faculty director of the Innovations in Government Program at the Ash Center. “I look forward to engaging with Harvard Kennedy School students, faculty, staff, fellows, and other elected leaders who are committed to engaging in the real work of governing on the state and local level,” said O’Malley.

Former Maryland governor and Baltimore mayor Martin O’Malley has been named a shared Visiting Fellow for 2018 by the Ash Center, the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, and the Taubman Center for State and Local Government. “Governor O’Malley brings to the Kennedy School a proven

Tarek Masoud, co-director of the Ash Center’s Initiative on Democracy in Hard Places and Sultan of Oman Professor of International Relations, has been appointed faculty chair of the Kennedy School’s Middle East Initiative (MEI). Launched in 1998, MEI integrates research and policy analysis, education, and community engagement to advance public policy and build capacity in the Middle East. “Tarek is a highly respected and thoughtful voice on political developments in the region,” remarked Dean Douglas Elmendorf upon Masoud’s appointment. “We are fortunate that he will guide our efforts in an area in which high-quality research and engagement are so vitally needed.” Masoud affirmed that he is “committed to finding new ways to bring the Kennedy School to the region, and the region to the Kennedy School.” Masoud was also recently named faculty director of the Alwaleed Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University.

Fall 2018 Communiqué



Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative Welcomes Second Cohort

The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative welcomed a new group of mayors and city leaders this summer, kicking off its second year with programming in New York City. This year’s cohort includes a diverse group of 40 mayors and 80 senior leaders representing 40 cities including Tulsa, Oklahoma; Halifax, Nova Scotia; San Diego; Helsinki; and São Paulo. The public officials traveled to New York for intensive classroom sessions taught by Harvard fac-

ulty—including Ash resident faculty affiliates Marshall Ganz and Jorrit de Jong, who serves as faculty director of the initiative, along with Rawi Abdelal and Jan Rivkin from HBS—on key concepts such as experimentation and innovation, collaborating across departments and sectors, and using data and evidence to improve decision-making. Both the Mayors Program and the Senior Leaders Program were the start to yearlong engagements designed to help these officials build key


The newest cohort of mayors met for the first time in New York City in July 2018 for executive education training sessions led by Harvard faculty

leadership and management skills and inform novel research projects and teaching materials that expand the field of city leadership.

Persuading Legislators that Negotiation Isn’t a Dirty Word To say that American politics is suffering from gridlock and polarization today would be an understatement. Yet by teaching the core principles of negotiation, Jane Mansbridge, Adams Professor of Political Leadership and Democratic Values and Ash faculty affiliate, believes she can help break the legislative logjams that have so afflicted Congress and state capitols around the country. Mansbridge received a grant from the Hewlett Foundation to develop teaching materials that elucidate productive legislative negotiation tactics at the state and congressional levels. As editor of the


Communiqué Fall 2018

American Political Science Association’s 2013 report Negotiating Agreement in Politics, Mansbridge is well versed in the intricacies of political negotiations and understanding how ideological opponents can ultimately find common ground around policy solutions. Mansbridge and her research team have spent much of the past year interviewing current and former members of Congress and their staff, as well as state legislators, to better understand the conditions under which bipartisan deal-making can succeed. The team is also developing a series of case

studies and simulations on successful legislative negotiations at the state and federal levels. This summer, Mansbridge and the project team worked with state legislators and their staff to pilot some of the early materials they have developed. They hope to use many of these teaching materials as part of the Institute of Politics’ biennial Bipartisan Program for Newly Elected Members of Congress, to be held later this semester.


Teaching Crisis Leadership from Cambridge to Paris to Morioka, Japan In March and April 2018, Ash faculty affiliates Arnold Howitt and Dutch Leonard, who co-direct the Program on Crisis Leadership (PCL), chaired a series of HKS Executive Education courses. “Crisis Leadership in Higher Education” provided an international cohort of college and university officials with strategies for preparing for and responding to crises affecting their institutions, while “Leadership in Crises: Preparation and Performance” brought together public, private, and nonprofit professionals from 13 countries to develop individual and organizational crisis management skills. Organizations represented included the US Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Los Angeles police and fire departments, Bank of America, and the Australian Border Force. A third course, the “General and Flag Officer Homeland Security Executive Seminar,” which is a custom program for the National Guard’s Homeland Security Institute, brought together generals from

the US National Guard with civilian counterparts from state and local first response agencies. Bernard Cazeneuve, former Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior of France, spoke about the response to the November 2015 Paris terror attacks, and Ash Carter, former US Secretary of Defense, spoke about current trends in the military. Soon after, PCL also organized an international conference on “Landscape-Scale Disasters, Emergency Response, and Regional Recovery” together with the Research Center for Regional Disaster Management at Iwate University and the Center for Crisis Management Research at Tsinghua University. Taking place in July 2018 on Iwate University’s campus in Morioka, Japan, the conference featured an address by the university’s president Akira Iwabuchi on the institution’s reconstruction efforts after the Japan earthquake and tsunami of 2011 and the university’s focus on developing both a global and local response in the disaster’s aftermath.


Program on Crisis Leadership Faculty Co-Director Arnold Howitt leads a session of the HKS Executive Education program Leadership in Crises

China Philanthropy Project Leads Executive Education Programs LEFT

Edward Cunningham, director of the Ash Center’s China Programs, leads a discussion during the Executive Leaders in Philanthropy program at the Kennedy School

Despite historical and cultural differences, philanthropists from a range of sectors and interests in China and the United States often face similar challenges and aspire to similar goals. The China Philanthropy Project, led by Edward Cunningham, director of the Ash Center’s China Programs, and Tony Saich, Ash Center director and Daewoo Professor of International Affairs, hosted two executive education programs in the spring for representatives from China’s philanthropic sector: Executive Leaders in Philanthropy (ELP) and Global Philan-

thropy Leaders (GPL). Both programs aimed to share learnings from philanthropic activities in the US and to help participants develop relevant analytical frameworks and tools. During this second iteration of ELP, participants spent one week in Washington, DC, and two weeks at Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge. Among other activities, participants met with representatives of the National Geographic Society, learned about the role of policy in shaping American philanthropy from the Brookings Institution, and con-

versed with Philip Sharp, former Indiana congressional representative, HKS Institute of Politics director, and president of several leading nonprofits. GPL participants, the program’s third annual cohort, spent four days in Cambridge. Their experience included visits to the Boston Foundation to learn about community foundation models and Boston Harbor Now to learn about successful public-private partnerships in the environmental sector.

Fall 2018 Communiqué


Taking China's Pulse Ash Center Research Team Unveils Findings from 13 Years of Public Opinion Surveys

Scholars and public officials alike have spent years gazing across the Pacific in search of a simple answer to the question: “What does the Chinese public think?” With an economy on track to become soon the world’s largest, an increasingly assertive military presence in the Asia-Pacific region, and as a growing force in international diplomacy, understanding public opinion in China is arguably key to assessing the durability of China’s political system and decoding Beijing’s political priorities at home and abroad. Answering that question, however, has proved a nearly insurmountable challenge for most China watchers. Opinion polling in China is heavily scrutinized by the government, with foreign polling firms prohibited from directly conducting surveys in China. “It is a challenge to get reliable, long term polling data from across the country,” said Ash Center China Programs Director Edward Cunningham. “Rigorous and objective opinion polling is something that we take for granted in the US,” he added. For Tony Saich, Daewoo Professor of International Affairs and director of the Ash Center, the quest to build a firmer understanding of Chinese public opinion has taken the better part of 15 years. And it all started with an attempt to develop curricular materials for an executive education course for Chinese public officials at the What started as an local level. “We had been approached by Chiexercise in building a set nese partners from the Development Research Center of the State Council [China’s of teaching tools for an top state-run think tank] about doing a trainexecutive education class ing program focused on local government officials at the Kennedy School. One of the eventually transformed things that we thought would be useful into the most ambitious would be to get some sense of how citizens in China thought about public service provi- academic survey of sion, because a lot of the focus of the proChinese public opinion gram was on how to improve the quality of service delivery by local government offi- conducted by a research cials,” recalled Saich. institution outside Learning how to improve the delivery of local government services can be a challenge of China if you don’t know what the local population thinks of the quality of those services or of how government is being run. “We thought it would be helpful to know how satisfied citizens were with different levels of government, and in particular how satisfied they were with different


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kinds of government services,” said Saich. What started as an exercise in building a set of teaching tools for an executive education class eventually transformed into the most ambitious academic survey of Chinese public opinion conducted by a research institution outside of China. Working with a local partner in China that was permitted by the government to collect public opinion data directly from respondents, Saich, starting in 2003, developed a series of questionnaires for local pollsters. The surveys themselves were conducted in eight waves through 2016, and ultimately captured opinion data from 32,000 individual respondents. “There’s nothing comparable done on this scale, over such a long period of time, and over a large geographic area,” remarked Jesse Turiel, a doctoral candidate at Boston University working closely with Saich and Cunningham on the China survey project. The survey team set out to assess overall satisfaction levels with government among respondents from across the socioeconomic and geographic strata of China. “It is always a challenge getting a representative sample from interior provinces, but given the sheer breadth of the survey project, we’re confident that our sample size is representative of the country as a whole—not just the coastal elites or large urban areas, but that it also includes traditionally poorer and less developed inland provinces,” added Turiel.

Levels of Government and Public Opinion The survey team found that compared to public opinion in the United States, in China there was very high satisfaction with the central government. “Why criticize that government when it is so far away from you? In addition, all people ever hear is very positive news about the central government,” said Saich. In 2016, the last year the survey was conducted, 95.5 percent of respondents were either “relatively satisfied” or “highly satisfied” with Beijing. In contrast to these findings is Gallup’s latest polling on US satisfaction with the federal government, which in January of this year reported that only 38 percent of respondents were satisfied with the federal government. For the survey team, there are a number of possible explanations for why Chinese respondents view the central government in Beijing so favorably. “I think citizens may often hear that, ‘oh, the central government has introduced all these wonderful new policies,’ but they get frustrated because they don't see them happening, and they think it must because of malfeasance or blockage by the local governments,” surmises Saich. Compared to the relatively high satisfaction rates with Beijing, respondents held considerably less favorable views towards local government. At the town

level, the most local level of government surveyed, only 11.3 percent of respondents reported they were “very satisfied.” In contrast, “in the United States, when you run these types of trust surveys, you end up seeing that there's a very clear belief and faith in local government,” observed Cunningham. This dichotomy is highlighted by a 2017 Gallup poll, where 70 percent of US respondents had a “great” or “fair” amount of trust in local government. Saich contends that the lack of trust in local governments in China is due in large part to the fact that they provide the vast majority of services to the Chinese people, administering much of the country’s health, education, and infrastructure spending, and that these services are generally perceived as being of poor quality. This trust deficit was compounded by the 1994 tax reforms, which garnered a substantially larger share of total national tax revenues for the central government. Local governments, despite being faced with declining revenues, were still on the hook for providing the bulk of public services throughout China. “So, they got pushed between a rock and a hard place,” Cunningham observed. “What they ended up doing was using a lot of extra budgetary fees to close the budget gap, which meant that they flew in the face of a lot of these concepts of good governance from the citizen perspective. I think that has consistently undermined trust at the local level.”

Regional Disparities The Ash research team was also keen to examine disparities in the responses of wealthy, predominantly urban and coastal areas of China and those of less developed interior provinces. “It didn't surprise us that the wealthy coastal citizens who were the winners of globalization in many ways, and the winners of reform, had a very high favorability rate overall, regardless of level of government,” said Cunningham. Survey participants from rural areas, however, provided a number of unexpected responses. “What surprised us was how quickly both low-income and later-developing regions in China closed the gap in satisfaction,” Cunningham added. Remarkably, the surveys found that rural residents, generally poorer than those in cities, had more optimistic attitudes about inequality than their wealthier urban counterparts. These findings undermine the notion that rising inequality, and dissatisfaction with corruption and local government, have created a potential volcano of unrest in China’s interior regions. While most respondents (72 percent) reported that they thought inequality was excessive in China as a whole, only 40 percent of those expressed concerns about excessive inequality in their own neighborhood or workplace.

“What we see over time is that the strategies and policies of national government and provincial governments have ameliorated those challenges,” said Saich. “Far from being increasingly critical, increasingly dissatisfied with what they're getting from government, those in the rural areas and those with lower levels of income and those in the inland areas, have had increasing levels of satisfaction, which is important because it runs against the general idea that these people are marginalized and disfavored by policies.” Observers have predicted that China’s slowing economic growth coupled with a complacent, stultified government bureaucracy could ultimately lead to the crumbling of Beijing’s political authority. Jackson Diehl, writing in World Affairs Journal in 2012, argued, China has “exhausted [its] current political and economic system.” The survey results show, instead, that while citizens from China’s periph- While there may be eral regions do in fact have legitimate gripes with their local governments and Beijing, frustration with the “whatever it is they're getting is making them quality of public services more satisfied than they were in the past, and so maybe kind of dissipates this idea that at the local level, and there's a social volcano waiting out there to anger with corruption, erupt,” Saich concluded. While there may be frustration with the the Ash research team’s quality of public services at the local level, and work has shown that the anger with corruption, the Ash research team’s work has shown that the current political sys- current political system tem in China appears remarkably resilient. “Ris- in China appears ing tides lift all boats,” Cunningham is quick to argue. Certainly, inequality remains a key con- remarkably resilient cern for policymakers and citizens alike in China, but the survey project found little to support the argument that those concerns among ordinary Chinese are translating into broader dissatisfaction with government. For Cunningham, it’s important not to forget that many in China are only a generation removed from an era of chronic food shortages and widespread social and economic instability. “Context is key, because China is still a developing country,” he noted. “What we have found is that because their needs are being met in an absolute sense—and for most of them, each day is better than the next—many in China seem to be much more satisfied towards government performance despite the fact that inequality is increasing in many ways.” C


As can be seen from the graph to the right, there is a there is a large gap in the dissatisfaction rates between the central and local levels of government in China. Since the first surveys were taken in 2003, respondents have consistently shown higher levels of dissatisfaction with local government. Saich, Cunningham, and Turiel attribute this to the fact that most public services in China, a source of much dissatisfaction, are provided by town and county-level governments.


Measuring Dissatisfaction

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4.4 2009




4.5 2015


Fall 2018 Communiqué


Innovations in American Government Award Tackles Social and Economic Inequality

“Our goal was to profile programs and approaches that had a demonstrated impact in improving opportunity and wealthcreation for groups that had historically been left behind”


Communiqué Fall 2018

As the disparity between the haves and the have-nots reaches levels not seen since before the Great Depression, its impact on social and economic mobility is of increasing concern to scholars, advocates, and public officials. “Inequality is one of the defining issues of our time,” said Tony Saich, Ash Center director and Daewoo Professor of International Affairs. “For much of its history, America has been an engine of mobility as successive generations have risen up the economic and social ladder, and that promise is in peril.” In response to this troubling trend, policymakers are grappling with how to combat the forces fueling this growing imbalance. To shore up this effort, the Ash Center’s Innovations in American Government Award Program has spent the past year identifying solutions that make government more efficient, more creative, and more effective at addressing the challenges created by economic and social inequity and at providing services to the public. Under the leadership of Stephen Goldsmith, Daniel Paul Professor of the Practice of Government and director of the Innovations in American Government Program, the Award Program set out to shift from its historical model of conducting a broad survey of the landscape of policy innovation to a more narrowed focus on a different, single overarching social problem each award cycle. By recognizing the most innovative people and policies in government working on that issue, the Innovations Program hopes to help grease the wheels of the engine of progress and social change. “Our goal was to profile programs and approaches that had a demonstrated impact in improving opportunity and wealth-creation for groups that had historically been left behind,” said Goldsmith. “This year's finalists prove that government at all levels can have a profoundly positive effect on social and economic mobility.”

For the 2018 Innovations Award, a panel of expert evaluators chose the seven finalists below from an impressive pool of applicants to present before the Innovation Award’s National Selection Committee in Cambridge this September, where they will compete for the $50,000 top prize to be used in dissemination and replication of the winning innovation. In addition, while on the Kennedy School campus, the finalists will convene with local and national actors from the public and private sectors who are also working to address issues of inequality. This day of discussion is intended to foster the exchange of ideas, identify best practices, and build the relationships needed to inspire the next generation of innovations improving social and economic opportunity. LEFT In New York City’s Supervised Release program, individuals are referred to services that can help prevent future contact with the

Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program State of Alaska

criminal justice system

Alaska natives, more than any other demographic in the state, have historically been less likely to pass standardized tests and more likely to drop out of school. In 2014, only five percent of Alaska native graduating seniors met all four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks. As a result, a majority of Alaska natives are unable to pursue careers reliant on a college education and, specifically, are underrepresented in the science and engineering professions. The Alaskan Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP) works with indigenous youth in some of the most remote areas of the country to encourage the development of STEM skills to prepare them for future job opportunities. The program starts working with students as early as kindergarten and engages with them every year all the way through PhD programs. Program components include a residential science and engineering experience for middle school students and a full-time ANSEP Acceleration High School where students learn from university faculty and STEM practitioners to earn high school and university credits simultaneously.

A young person participates in

Arches Transformative Mentoring City of New York, New York A criminal conviction can have a crippling effect on an individual’s economic mobility. To facilitate the economic advancement of young adult probation clients and reduce recidivism, the New York City Department of Probation, Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity, and Young Men’s Initiative launched the Arches Transformative Mentoring program in 2011. The program, targeted to youths aged 16– 24 with low education levels and minimal employment histories who live in communities that offer limited access to economic advancement opportunities, is centered on community-based mentoring, job training, and social skills development. Arches Transformative Mentoring works with young people in their own neighborhoods, connecting them with “credible messenger” mentors—individuals who have backgrounds similar to the participants, including prior involvement with the justice system. Each mentor works with a maximum of four program participants and leads small group meetings guided by a 48-session evidence-based curriculum that employs cognitive behavioral interventions. Mentors are available around the clock for support outside of sessions and, alongside probation officers, help these youths make better and safer decisions, pursue their goals, and connect to educational and employment opportunities.

ABOVE the State of Rhode Island’s Works Wonders program

Army Career Skills Program United States Army In 2013, the Army paid $432 million in unemployment compensation to veterans. Soldiers are known for their work ethic and soft skills, but upon leaving the Army many were entering the civilian sector without the expertise needed to obtain in-demand jobs like those in the skilled trades or in technical services. To close this skills gaps and help soldiers land rewarding jobs, the Department of Defense and the United States Army launched the Army Career Skills Program. Through the program, up to 180 days prior to separation from the Army, soldiers are able to participate in apprenticeships, on-the-job training, job shadowing, internships, and employment-skills training. By participating in various sub-programs, soldiers can earn industry-recognized credentials, and corporate partners guarantee interviews for future job opportunities to soldiers that complete specialized training.

Crisis Intervention Response Unit City of Denver, Colorado In 2015, Denver city leaders from key health and public safety departments recognized that law enforcement officers were increasingly being dispatched to respond to individuals with mental health issues or in crisis, and that the criminal justice system is not designed to adequately address their needs. To address this critical gap, the Denver Police Department created the Crisis Intervention Response Unit (CIRU). CIRU pairs licensed clinicians with police officers responding to calls for service involving individuals with suspected or known mental health needs. Since the program’s inception, clinicians have also been deployed to support Denver’s Downtown Detention Center and Harm Reduction Action Center, assist at-risk adult and intellectually/developmentally delayed victims involved in Special Victims Unit investigations, and aid the Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Team.

Fall 2018 Communiqué


ABOVE Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program students

Supervised Release City of New York, New York

build STEM skills through hands-on activities

San Francisco Financial Justice Project City and County of San Francisco, California Local fines and fees are common tools to disincentivize behavior and supplement public budgets. However, in 2016, the city and county of San Francisco realized that leveraging these tools had unintended consequences: pushing residents into, or further into, poverty. In response, the city launched the San Francisco Financial Justice Project, and from it convened the San Francisco Fines and Fees Task Force, to assess and reform how fines and fees impact its most vulnerable residents. In 2017, the task force released over 30 recommended reforms across six policy areas, including reforms targeting traffic and criminal justice fines and fees, and child support debt owed to the government. Today, the project has successfully launched and implemented policy and administrative changes across the city and county of San Francisco that hold people accountable but do not push them into financial distress. For example, San Francisco is eliminating all locally controlled administrative fees charged to people exiting the criminal justice system. The project has also worked with the San Francisco courts to base fines and fees on people’s ability to pay.


Communiqué Fall 2018

The money-bail system was originally created to enable the accused to return to their families and continue working while awaiting trial. Yet today, the inability to pay bail has become the sole reason many individuals remain in jail. To remove this financial burden while ensuring individuals return to court, New York City created an alternative: Supervised Release. A tool developed specifically for the city analyzes individuals awaiting criminal court arraignment and identifies, based on criminal history, warrant history, and other data, those who have a low or medium risk of reoffending or fleeing before trial. Judges can then choose to release these individuals into the Supervised Release program where they will be monitored in their community using evidence-driven tactics, ranging from text message and phone call reminders in advance of court days to in-person meetings with a social worker. While awaiting trial, released individuals are referred to services that can help prevent future contact with the criminal justice system.

Works Wonders State of Rhode Island An increasing amount of data shows that youth in, and aging out of, the foster care system are at greater risk for incarceration, unemployment, low educational attainment, poverty, mental health problems, and homelessness. Key stakeholders in the Rhode Island foster care system, from both the public and nonprofit sectors, worked together to create Works Wonders, a program that enables foster-care youth to attain job skills and training. Works Wonders’ youth, age 16–24, are connected to a network of employers; training, certification, and education programs; and laddering opportunities, and are met where they are in terms of their skill level, needs, and life circumstances. Works Wonders does not simply place these foster-care youths in jobs, but works to help them connect with a career, building the social competencies that are necessary for positive, productive relationships. C


Eric Holder on Gerrymandering and Future of American Democracy

LEFT Former US Attorney General Eric Holder speaks in JFK Jr. Forum on April 30 about his efforts to end partisan legislative redistricting

For former US Attorney General Eric Holder, gerrymandering is at the root of many of the most prominent political debates unfolding across the United States today. A fairer voting system, Holder contends, would not favor one political party, but would level the playing field both for political parties and their constituents. Reforming the way that legislative lines are drawn has been an increasingly central part of Holder’s work since leaving public office in 2015.

Getting to 80%: Ash Sets a Challenge for Increased Voter Participation

Speaking at the JFK Jr. Forum at the School on April 30 to deliver the Edwin Godkin Lecture, Holder spoke forcefully about the need to reform legislative redistricting. “If you want to have a fair voting system that has the ability to shape the direction of the country, it seems to me that we should have a redistricting effort done in 2021 that makes the battle [be] between conservative, Republican ideas, [and] Democratic, progressive ideas, and let's see who wins,” intoned the former attorney general. Joining Holder onstage was Archon Fung, Winthrop Laflin McCormack Professor of Citizenship and Self-Government and director of the Ash Center’s Democratic Governance Program, who moderated a wide-ranging discussion on voter participation and assessing the strength of our democratic institutions in the US today. When pressed by

Fung on whether Democrats should exact maximum partisan political advantage when they control the line-drawing process, Holder argued that Democrats should resist the temptation to gerrymander in their favor: “That would be inconsistent with who I hope I am and what my work has stood for. This is not an attempt to gerrymander on behalf of Democrats.” Fung asked who ultimately should be entrusted to draw legislative maps to ensure that the redistricting process is not driven by partisan politics. “I think the ideal mechanism is what you see in California, Arizona,” said Holder, referring to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission (winner of the Ash Center’s 2017 Innovation Award for Public Engagement in Government) and the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. Voters in both states removed the responsibility for redistricting from the hands of state legislators, instead forming independent panels to take on the decennial mapmaking process. Assessing the current state of redistricting in much of the US, Holder observed that “the reality now is that we have politicians picking their voters as opposed to citizens choosing who their representatives are going to be.” In agreement, Fung added, “A bedrock principle of democracy [is] that the citizens should pick their representatives, not vice versa.” C

RIGHT Archon Fung, Winthrop Laflin McCormack Professor of Citizenship and SelfGovernment and director of the Ash Center’s Democratic Governance Program, opens

“Our democracy depends on voting,” said Archon Fung, Winthrop Laflin McCormack Professor of Citizenship and Self-Government and director of the Ash Center’s Democratic Governance Program, at the opening of an all-day symposium on increasing voter participation sponsored by the Ash Center; the Institute of Politics; and the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. The event, “Getting to 80%: A Symposium Advancing Voter Participation,” convened on May 3 at Harvard Kennedy School and brought together journalists, technologists, business leaders, elected officials, scholars, and grassroots advocates and organizers to discuss how best to spark cultural and policy shifts needed to increase voter participation in the United States. The US ranks 26th out 32 OECD countries in voting turnout for nationwide elections, with just 55 percent of the voting age population going to the polls in 2016. “That is not a proud statistic for a coun-

the symposium with a discussion about why it is critical to increase voter participation

try that has been for some time in the business of trying export democracy,” said Fung during opening remarks. The event was an opportunity to discuss strategies for increasing voter participation rates to 80 percent of all eligible voters in the US, a figure reached by only a handful other countries. Nearly 140 participants spent the day examining issues such as how to create a culture of voting, the roles of technology and social media in encouraging voter participation, strategies for engaging with

younger voters, innovations in voter participation at the state level, mobilizing non-voters, and advancing universal registration and voting. “We heard a lot of very powerful ideas about how to turn these numbers around from simple policy fixes such as automatic voter registration and universal vote-by-mail to how best to elevate the way voting is perceived across all sectors of society,” reflected Miles Rapoport, the Ash Center’s Senior Practice Fellow in American Democracy and an organizer of the conference. C

Fall 2018 Communiqué



Ensuring the Future of the Lower Mekong Basin Ash Center Researchers Working to Identify Solutions to Sustainably Manage Region’s Natural Resources

A small, intensely blue, frozen pool sits isolated in a sparsely populated area of the Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai, China. It is hard to imagine, but this bit of ice, the Lasagongma Spring, is the start of a river that serves as the lifeblood to 60 million people. With spring’s arrival, the ice melts and the pool is awash as mountain snows turn to water and flood the valley. Ultimately, the water will flow through China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, entering Vietnam’s Mekong Delta and then emptying into the South China Sea (or the East Sea to the Vietnamese). In total, the waters of the Greater Mekong Basin help feed an estimated 300 million people a year. Though Lasagongma Spring appears pristine, as the water flows down 4,350 kilometers (2,703 miles) to the delta, it will become increasingly muddied,


Communiqué Fall 2018

polluted, and salinized. “Today,” says Malcolm McPherson, Senior Fellow in Development for the Ash Center’s Vietnam Program, “not only is the Lower Mekong region one of the most highly productive agricultural areas, but it is also becoming one of the most polluted.” Understanding the Problem In response to these growing concerns, the Ash Center and the predecessor to Fulbright University Vietnam (FUV) jointly launched the Lower Mekong Public Policy Initiative (LMPPI) in 2013. At the start of 2018, FUV assumed primary responsibility for LMPPI’s research activities and continues to generate and share knowledge, and stimulate dialogue about public policies that could support environmentally sustainable economic development and

Today, not only is the Lower Mekong region one of the most highly productive agricultural areas, but it is also becoming one of the most polluted


improve livelihoods in the five countries that share the Lower Mekong. Since its inception, the initiative has drawn attention to the many policy decisions that have contributed to the region’s profound environmental degradation. “Unbridled extractive activities are putting severe stress on the Mekong Delta’s ecosystems,” says Thomas Vallely, Senior Advisor for Mainland Southeast Asia at the Ash Center. Large areas in the Lower Mekong Basin have been deforested, wetlands have been drained, mangroves have disappeared, and habitat destruction has diminished the basin’s biodiversity. Agriculture has a large part to play in this environmental destruction, according to LMPPI researchers. The overuse of fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides has significantly contributed to water pollution in the Mekong. As a result, reports McPherson, “halfway down the delta, the water is too poisonous to use for horticulture, fishing, or aquaculture.” The consequences of the Mekong's rapid deterioration are exacerbated by the crop choices made by farmers that further strain the economic livelihoods of the many people living along its banks. “Large areas of the Mekong Delta’s former wetlands are now triple-cropped with rice,” says Vallely. “This creates a surplus of cheap, low-quality rice, undermining farmers’ welfare on top of diminishing ecological resources.” LMPPI has recommended several important changes to Vietnam’s agricultural policy to help address this issue, such as encouraging farmers to focus more on high-value horticulture products and fish. A significant challenge, however, has been transferring knowledge about using environmentally sustainable farming techniques to produce higher-value crops to the farmers themselves. Disproportionately older and undereducated, many farmers in the Lower Mekong region have little firsthand experience with alternative crops and modern farming techniques. “Farmers are locked into an unprofitable activity, with few alternatives—they're old, and they don't have much help,” says McPherson. In response, LMPPI has developed and disseminated policy recommendations, such as calling for targeted communications tailored to these older farmers in order to enhance their reach and efficacy.

The countries in the Lower Mekong Basin need to figure out how to manage the whole basin as a single system, otherwise the deterioration will continue

LMPPI has further expanded the working knowledge of regional actors through training and education opportunities. Responding to a gap in technical capacity, which has emerged as Lower Mekong Basin governments progressively devolve responsibility for public investment decisions to regional and local administrative levels, the initiative pioneered the first regional technical training program in public project appraisal. Additionally, LMPPI is involved in academic programs for faculty and students at FUV, such as the “Sustainable Development and Environmental Policy” course, which help ensure future regional leaders understand the importance of caring for the area’s natural resources. The Future There is plenty of work for the Lower Mekong Public Policy Initiative and others to do. The water-foodenergy nexus is perilously tethered and the Lower Mekong Basin is headed for catastrophe if the region does not receive the holistic and urgent attention it

requires to remain environmentally viable. With recent funding from the Harvard Global Institute, McPherson, along with Tony Saich, director of the Ash Center and Daewoo Professor of International Affairs, and Edward Cunningham, director of the Center’s China Programs, are investigating what policies and international efforts might be required to sustainably manage the natural resources of the Greater Mekong Basin as well as how to ensure their successful implementation. “The countries in the Lower Mekong Basin need to figure out how to manage the whole basin as a single system, otherwise the deterioration will continue,” says McPherson. C

BELOW Le Thi Quynh Tram, Director of the Lower Mekong Public Policy Initiative, discusses the Lower Mekong River Basin with John Kerry, Former US Secretary of State

Research in Action LMPPI also strives to ensure that its research reaches regional actors and is put to practical use. The initiative hosted the inaugural Lower Mekong Policy Forum on Environment, Agriculture, and Livelihoods in Siem Reap, Cambodia, in August 2016, which was followed by a second forum in December 2017. The forums brought together, for the first time, senior government officials, researchers, practitioners, civil society representatives, and members of the business community to discuss rural household resilience, resource management and sustainable agricultural systems, and water management strategies.

Fall 2018 Communiqué



Alumni in the Field Ash Alumna Sparks Community Organizing in Jordan

Nisreen Haj Ahmad MC/MPA ’08, a former visiting research fellow at the Ash Center, spent the first seven years of her professional career enmeshed in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks as a legal adviser to the Palestinian negotiating team. By the end of her tenure as a Palestinian negotiator, “I was depressed,” she recalls. “I studied law to defend the rights of oppressed people.” However, the minutiae and grinding pace of negotiations led Haj Ahmad to question whether the power of law was sufficient to impact the lives of ordinary Palestinians. In 2007, wanting to gain new perspective, she seized an opportunity to attend Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) as a mid-career student. Finding Community Organizing At HKS, Haj Ahmad met Ash Center resident faculty affiliate Marshall Ganz, the Rita E. Hauser Senior Lecturer in Leadership, Organizing, and Civil Society. Through his courses on public narrative and community organizing, she began to see that community advancement is not solely propelled by legal negotiations or incremental progress hammered out on the sidelines of major international donor meetings. While she was a student at Harvard, Haj Ahmad led a campaign with her colleague Sa’ed Atshan in support of the rights of Palestinians, and it sparked a passion for community organizing. “We need the law,” Haj Ahmad says, “but we also need more power on the ground.” “I decided to return to Jordan and focus on organizing, helping people organize campaigns based on their stories, and rooted in their values,” she says. This venture was not without its own unique challenges. In Jordan, she remarks, “there is not a strong culture of organized activism for demanding your rights.” Ahel (‫)أهل‬, a center offering training and coaching to develop leadership and support grassroots campaigns in Palestine, Lebanon, and Jordan. Using organizing methodology taught in Ganz’s courses, Ahel has trained more than 3,000 activists over the past 10 years. “More importantly,” Haj Ahmad notes, “we've coached and trained 17 campaigns in the region.” Standing with Teachers An important tenet of Ahel’s mission is to foster collaborative leadership. In 2015, the organization’s success with this grassroots model attracted the attention of the International Labor Organization (ILO), a United Nations agency focused on labor standards and social protections. The ILO had recently concluded studies on pay equity in Jordan and knew that women, especially teachers in private-sector education, were receiving significantly less than men—often less than the minimum wage.


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“I decided to return to Jordan and focus on organizing, helping people organize campaigns based on their stories, and rooted in their values”

Nisreen Haj Ahmad MC/MPA ’08

Ahel took up the charge to help the teachers organize and advocate for better pay and benefits. Ahel met with as many teachers as possible, beginning with a one-on-one listening campaign to build relationships—an organizing practice that Haj Ahmad learned from Ganz’s teaching—and recruited, trained, and developed a core leadership team of 10 teachers. From there, Ahel was with the teachers for every step of the campaign. First, the organization provided training on crafting a public narrative, showing teachers how to tell their own story, engage others in a shared story, and offer sources of hope for urgent action. Ahel then partnered with teachers to develop a campaign strategy as well as the campaign’s organizational structure. Ahel did not try to guide or otherwise influence the teachers’ thinking on the issues, but simply developed their capacity for deliberation, sustained motivation, and action. Along the way, Ahel adapted to the challenges that inevitably cropped up, adding legal education for the teachers and hosting popular education circles, designed to enable the teachers to discuss their preconceived notions about agency, authority, accountability, and collective decision-making. The campaign saw incremental but significant successes with the teachers playing a crucial role in increasing pay, making it stable year-round, and introducing important enforcement mechanisms.

From Campaign to Movement As important as individual campaign work is, Haj Ahmad has taken Ganz's teachings about building a network of community organizing cultures to heart. “We, so far, have trained 24 community organizing coaches in Jordan, Palestine, and Lebanon,” she says. Haj Ahmad is herself part of international community organizing culture as a member of the Leading Change Network, a collaborative of organizers around the world. "Nisreen has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in engaging others developing their own capacity to translate values—dignity, respect, equality, compassion, solidarity—into effective collective action, the craft of organizing," says Ganz. "At the core of her own leadership practice is development of the leadership of others as coaches, trainers, and organizers." Haj Ahmad hopes that the existing community organizing culture they helped cultivate in the region will allow Ahel to expand its efforts, thereby helping more people organize for the issues they care about. Ahel and Haj Ahmad are now driven by the slogan, “from campaigns to movements,” she says. “We don't want to become a large team as an organization, but we do want to grow in number so that we have more impact. Now is the time to take it to scale.” C


Student Focus Meet the 2018 Martha H. Mauzy Award Winner From Kinshasa to Richmond, Kelly Lugbill Clark Works to Empower Community

Kelly Lugbill Clark MPP 2018 was driving along the streets of Kinshasa in April 2015 when the news came over the radio that the death of a young African American man in police custody named Freddie Gray had touched off days of rioting in Baltimore. Clark, winner of the Ash Center’s 2018 Martha H. Mauzy Award for the Advancement of Democratic Governance, was in the Democratic Republic of the Congo helping to oversee human rights and democracy programming for the Carter Center of Atlanta. She was pressed by her Congolese colleagues on why she had traveled thousands of miles to work when America was plainly grappling with human rights issues of its own. Clark, who hails from just a few hours south of Baltimore in Richmond, Virginia, began to reflect on whether she should shift her focus homeward. “Working internationally doesn't mean you don’t think about how many of these same issues also play out in America,” said Clark. Clark’s decision to translate her overseas experiences to the world of domestic politics and policy ultimately brought her to the Kennedy School. At HKS, she concentrated in Political and Economic Development and took a number of classes taught by Ash Center faculty affiliates. “I got lucky coming here right when Professors Scott Mainwaring and Khalil Muhammad both arrived,” remarked Clark. In Professor Mainwaring’s “Building Better Democracies” course, Clark found herself exploring why democracy has been more successful in some contexts than in others. She recalled that “everyone was from a different country, everyone with different experience, and we had all worked either in politics or elections or in some broader sense, democracy-strengthening. Our discussions really made everything come to life.” Clark also took Associate Professor Quinton Mayne’s highly regarded urban politics course, which examines how race, ethnicity, and class shape group conflict and cooperation at the local level. “Reading these cases about how minority voters in cities like Atlanta were able to gain a voice, that all of a sudden their issues mattered and were on the table, served as a really strong parallel to the intersections between race, class, and political power in Richmond,” said Clark. Clark’s passion for her hometown was evident to Mayne. “Kelly is a passionate advocate for social justice, and her reflections on Richmond underscored how pursuing equality and justice through our cities requires asking difficult questions with troubling answers about how race and racism have intersected

with class and market economics to shape our cities for the worse,” recalled Mayne. In both Mayne’s course and Professor Khalil Muhammad’s course on “Race, Inequality, and American Democracy,” Richmond was never far from Clark’s mind. “Being able to see the external perception of Richmond from my classmates—that really challenged my own view of the city and view of my home. It was really helpful for thinking about how we can make things better,” Clark reflected. Clark and her husband hope to move back to Richmond soon, where she plans to start a nonprofit focused on expanding the political organizing power of residents in the city’s East End, an area of entrenched poverty and political disenfranchisement. “In some of the lower-income neighborhoods, or districts, where most of the public housing is located, there's really no opportunity outside of electing your

own councilor to have your voice heard in city politics,” said Clark. “This lack of economic power translates directly to lack of political power,” she continued. Clark is hoping that she can reverse this political equation and help give voice and political power to those in Richmond who need it most. C

“In some of the lowerincome neighborhoods, or districts, where most of the public housing is located, there's really no opportunity outside of electing your own councilor to have your voice heard in city politics”

Fall 2018 Communiqué



Harvard students, staff, and the public. This year’s teaching fellow is: Rahmawati, from Aceh, Indonesia

Fellows Focus Meet Our New Fellows

Ford Foundation Mason Fellows The Ford Foundation Mason Fellowships are awarded to meritorious midcareer students from developing and transitioning countries with a demonstrated interest in the overarching issues of concern to the Ash Center to study at HKS. The Center is sponsoring the following students: Jesmul Hasan, MC/MPA ’19, from Bangladesh Sai Htet Aung, MC/MPA ’19, from Myanmar Emilia Reyes, MC/MPA ’19, from Mexico Ricardo Sanchez, MC/MPA ’19, from Nicaragua Roy and Lila Ash Fellow The Roy and Lila Ash Fellowship in Democracy supports meritorious midcareer students with a demonstrated interest in the broad questions of democratic governance. This year’s Roy and Lila Ash Fellow is: Ryan Swann, MC/MPA ’19, from the United States Dalio Scholars The Dalio Scholarship is awarded to Chinese students who are proven leaders in philanthropy or demonstrate clear philanthropy sector leadership potential. This year’s Dalio Scholar is: Jing Zeng, MC/MPA Mason Fellow ’19 China Public Policy Postdoctoral Fellows The China Programs offer two postdoctoral fellowships in the field of contemporary Chinese public policy to recent PhDs of exceptional promise. The China Programs welcomes the following two new postdoctoral fellows: Ning Leng, PhD in Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison Elizabeth Plantan, PhD in Government, Cornell University Asia Fellows The Asia Fellows Program allows academics and practitioners the freedom to pursue independent research projects on public policy issues related to Asia, with the support of the Ash Cen-


Communiqué Fall 2018

ter’s Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia and other Harvard resources. The Center welcomes the following new Asia Fellows: Fen Cheng, Director, Philanthropy Research Center, China Global Philanthropy Institute, Beijing Normal University Jiangqin Du, Assistant Professor, School of International and Public Affairs, Shanghai Jiao Tong University Ziteng Fan, PhD Candidate, School of Public Policy and Management, Tsinghua University Yunxia Gao, Director, Senior Care Research Center, China Philanthropy Research Institute, Beijing Normal University Yixiong Huang, PhD Candidate, School of International and Public Affairs, Shanghai Jiao Tong University Gang Li, Deputy Director, General Office, China Securities Regulatory Commission Jie Li, Director, Child Welfare Research Center, China Philanthropy Research Institute, Beijing Normal University Min Li, Director and Professor, Urban Governance and Crisis Management Center, China Executive Leadership Academy Pudong Tao Liu, Division Chief, Institute of Market Economy, Development Research Center of the State Council, China Xiangyu Liu, PhD Candidate, Renmin University of China Yan Liu, Consultant, Department of High-tech Development and Industrialization, Ministry of Science and Technology, China Zhiqiang Lu, Executive Director & CEO, Hong Kong Life Sciences and Technologies Group Limited; Deputy Secretary General, Shenzhen Lions Club Jing Ning, PhD Candidate, School of Government, Peking University Yu Pang, Associate Professor, Beijing Administration Institute Weitong Shi, PhD Candidate, School of International Studies, Peking University Yu Shi, Senior Economist, Department of Policy and Regulations, Ministry of Science and Technology, China

Jinsong Song, Professor, National Institute of Emergency Management, Chinese Academy of Governance Sirui Sun, PhD Candidate, School of International and Public Affairs, Shanghai Jiao Tong University Hongming Wang, PhD Candidate, Renmin University of China Yuming Wei, PhD Candidate, Tsinghua University Anbo Xiang, Director, SOE Division, Enterprise Research Institute, Development Research Center of the State Council, China Yuzhao Xie, PhD Candidate, School of Government, Peking University Jun Yang, Associate Professor, China University of Political Science and Law Jiantuo Yu, Assistant Secretary-General, Director, Research Department, China Development Research Foundation Chao Yuan, Assistant Professor, Shanghai Administration Institute Meiling Zhang, Chief Economist & Chapter President, CEO Clubs of America Dandan Zhu, Associate Professor, China Foreign Affairs University Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia Non-Resident Fellows The Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia on occasion welcomes and hosts practitioners, scholars, and recent Harvard students whose research agenda aligns with the Rajawali Institute’s areas of research. This summer the Rajawali Institute welcomed the following three fellows: Paul Clifford, President, Paul G. Clifford & Associates Kate Hathirat, MPA ’17, Harvard Kennedy School Jundai Liu, PhD in Sociology ’18, Harvard University Fulbright Indonesian Language Teaching Fellow The Ash Center hosts a teacher of the Indonesian language through the Fulbright’s Foreign Language Teaching Assistant initiative, in which the teaching fellow conducts non-credit classes that are open and free of charge to all

Democracy Fellows The Democracy Fellowships welcomes doctoral candidates as well as postdoctoral and senior scholars in research areas related to democratic governance. This year, the following new Democracy Fellows will join the Center: Jonathan Collins, PhD in Political Science, University of California-Los Angeles Jonathan Gould, PhD Candidate, Government, Harvard University Petra Guasti, PhD in Political Science, Bremen University, Germany Peter Johannessen, PhD in Politics and Social Policy, Princeton University Evan Lieberman, Total Professor of Political Science and Contemporary Africa, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Abigail Modaff, PhD Candidate, History, Harvard University Kristin Strømsnes, Professor, Department of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen, Norway Democracy in Hard Places Fellows The Ash Center’s Initiative on Democracy in Hard Places aims to foster social science research on democratic experiments—both successful and failed—throughout the developing world to learn how democracy can be built and maintained in a variety of terrains. This year the initiative welcomes the following two fellows: Sophie Lemière, PhD in Comparative Politics, Sciences Po, France Ashutosh Varshney, Professor of Political Science, Brown University Democratic Governance Program Visiting Fellows The Ash Center occasionally hosts scholars and professionals from the government, academia, and nonprofit sectors to address issues related to democratization, public participation, and social movements. The Center welcomes the following fellows: Victoria Alsina, PhD in Political and Social Sciences, Pompeu Fabra University, Spain Mariana Batista, Assistant Professor of


Political Science, Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil Sanderijn Cels, PhD in Social Sciences, Loughborough University, England Shabbir Cheema, Director, Asian Governance and Democracy Initiative, EastWest Center Lucas Azevedo Paulino, PhD Candidate in Constitutional Law & Political Philosophy, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil Laura Quinn, CEO, Catalist Camila Silva Rezende, PhD Candidate in Political Science, University of Brasilia Felipe Bortoncello Zorzi, PhD Candidate in Political Science, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil Technology and Democracy Fellows The Technology and Democracy Fellowship is part of an Ash Center initiative to explore technology’s role in improving democratic governance— with a focus on connecting to practice and on helping HKS students develop crucial technology skills. The Center will welcome six new fellows this fall: Deepti Doshi, Community Partnerships Director, Facebook Zach Graves, Senior Fellow, R Street Institute Sofia Gross, Political & Non-Profit Partnerships, Snap Inc. Victoria McCullough, Director of Social Impact, Tumblr Devin Murphy, Media Strategist, Priorities USA Jess Morales Rocketto, Political Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance

Innovations in Government Program Visiting Fellows The Ash Center occasionally hosts scholars and professionals from the government, academia, and business to address issues pertaining to innovations in government. This year, the Center welcomes: Abdul Mohsen Z. Al Husseini, MPA ’18, Harvard Kennedy School Program on Crisis Leadership Fellows The Program on Crisis Leadership offers fellows appointments to academics and senior practitioners conducting research on issues relating to emergency preparedness, crisis response, and disaster recovery. This fall, the program will welcome: Miwa Hirono, Associate Professor, Graduate School of International Relations, Ritsumeikan University, Japan Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative Visiting Fellow The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative hosts research fellows working with the guidance of faculty on research and curriculum development projects in the fields of leadership, management, and innovation in cities. This year, the Initiative welcomes: Carlos Paiva, MC/MPA Mason Fellow ’18, Harvard Kennedy School

ABOVE New fellows gather at the Ash Center for orientation

Student Focus Ash Center Supports Experiential Learning and Research Activities for Students The Ash Center provides opportunities for Harvard students to pursue experiences in the public sector and to explore in greater depth the policy questions of most interest to them—while strengthening the connection between students and faculty affiliated with the Center. During the summer of 2018, the Center supported and facilitated a number of opportunities for students. Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative Summer Fellows The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative placed 16 summer fellows in 14 US cities whose mayors participated in a yearlong program to foster their professional growth and the advancement of key capabilities within their city halls. The summer fellows worked in the mayors’ offices on a broad range of projects requiring varying skills, such as research, data, evaluation, and strategic advisement. Hannah Michelle Brower, SM-80 Epidemiology ’19: Driving More Effective Use of Data and Evidence, Louisville, KY Gillian Christie, DrPH ’20: Innovations in Employee Wellness, Denver, CO Alyssa Davis, MPP ’19: Performance Dashboard for Equitable Economic Development, Grand Rapids, MI David Huereca Hawthorne, MPP ’19: Strategic Alignment of Homeless Services, Oakland, CA Natasha Hicks, MUP/Design Studies ’19: Redevelopment of Public Housing, Charleston, SC Matt McCalpin, MPP/MBA ’20: Developing a Theory of Change for the Eat, Play, Learn Initiative, Providence, RI Santiago Mota, MDE ’18: Mapping Poverty in Laredo, TX Steven Olender, MPP ’19: Informing Cradle to K Program Offerings, Baton Rouge, LA Razvan Orasanu, MPP ’18: Alleviating Waste and Illegal Dumping, Long Beach, CA Ori Pleban, MPP ’19: Driving More Effective Use of Data and Evidence, Louisville, KY Justin Rose, MUP ’18: Predictive Analytics for Taskforce Management, Baltimore, MD Firas Suqi, MUP/MPP ’19, Transportation Planning and Heat Island Mitigation, Phoenix, AZ Claire Takhar, EdM ’18: Evaluating Mesa K-Ready Pilot Program, Mesa, AZ

Natalie Triedman, MPA/MBA ’20: Innovations in Employee Wellness, Denver, CO Teuta Turani, MPP ’19: Financial Modeling for the City of Mobile, AL Laura White, MPP ’18: Centralizing Human Resources Processes, Philadelphia, PA China Programs Student Research Grants The China Programs financially support Harvard University students pursuing China-related internships, independent research, and other forms of study conducted in China. Maria Barber, MUP ’19: The Role of Big Tech Companies in China's Municipal Government: An Analysis of Public-Private Partnerships with Alibaba and Tencent in Shenzhen and Hangzhou, and Their Effects on the Urban Ecology Jenna Cook, PhD in Sociology ’23: The Daughter/Sister That Went Away: Understanding Chinese Birth Family Narratives in the Post-One Child Policy Era Anushka Siddiqui, MPP ’19: Public-Private Collaborations for Digital Governance Liang Wang, DDes Candidate: The Chinese Superblockism: Governance, Community and Urban Form in the Post-1950s Xi’an Vietnam Program Internships For summer 2018, the Vietnam Program provided awards for two HKS students to pursue summer internships at the Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management in Ho Chi Minh City at the newly launched Fulbright University Vietnam, the country’s first independent, not-for-profit university. Rodrigo Barajas, MPA/ID ’19: Grand Challenges Facing Vietnam’s Major Cities Joao Gabriel Costa, MPP ’19: Challenges to the Creation of an International Financial Center in Vietnam

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Fellows Spotlight Dalio Scholar’s Campaign for Education Equality in China

Born and raised in a rural village in central China’s Henan Province, Yuheng Wen MPA ’19, dropped out of middle school at age 13. Now, two decades later, he is at Harvard exploring ways to promote education equality in China in part with the support of the Ash Center’s Dalio Scholars program, which provides scholarships to graduate students from China who are proven leaders in philanthropy or who demonstrate clear philanthropy sector leadership potential. At a young age, Wen experienced tremendous hardship at the unlucky end of the inequity spectrum of China’s education system. In middle school, he suffered not only from harsh living conditions and hunger but also from a severe shortage of educational resources. As a result, Wen had little interest in learning. When he first began working to support his family, he had no regrets about leaving school. For five years, Wen held a job at a construction company in the northeastern port city of Tianjin, and worked his way up from wall painter and welder to small project manager. “But without an education, I felt that the ceiling for my career was quite low,” Wen recalls. Thus began his quest for a better education. At 18, Wen enrolled in a new high school near his hometown thanks to a new government policy encouraging the establishment of privately-funded high schools, which effectively expanded secondary education in the country. After completing high school, he successfully tested into a university in Beijing, finishing the four-year finance degree in just three years. Wen came to the United States for graduate school in finance after a year working at Citibank in Beijing. Along the way, Wen never stopped reflecting on his own educational experiences and how he might help to improve those of others. Upon finishing his graduate degree, he joined AMIDEAST, a Washington, DC-based education nonprofit. Wen also participated in the nonprofit Ai Xin China


Communiqué Fall 2018

ABOVE Yuheng Wen MPA ’19

LEFT Chinese primary school students attending class at a village in Shangluo, Shaanxi province, China

“As important as donations are, mentorship is equally crucial. Rural students not only have to pay college tuition but also need guidance on adapting to life in the city and career planning”

where he supported rural students at Chinese universities. Having experienced the difficulties of adapting to life in cities firsthand, he says, “As important as donations are, mentorship is equally crucial. Rural students not only have to pay college tuition but also need guidance on adapting to life in the city and career planning.”

Before coming to Harvard Kennedy School, Wen cofounded Ed Excites, an education startup that provides career development advising and graduate school application support to Chinese students from low-income backgrounds at modest cost. “Such a business approach, in my view, is more sustainable than a nonprofit approach that survives at the mercy of donors,” Wen says. “Similarly sustainable are policy approaches, which can alter the lives of many people, just like the policy that made my high school education possible.” At Harvard, Wen is capitalizing on the abundant resources offered by the Kennedy School, the Graduate School of Education, and the Business School, exploring the intersections among their respective disciplines. As a student fellow here at the Ash Center, Wen has enjoyed guidance and mentoring from its staff and faculty, which has helped him form the outline for fieldwork in rural Chinese schools.

In his view, understanding the specific challenges facing rural Chinese students is crucial to any work addressing education inequality. “I certainly do not want to be didactic,” Wen says. “I just want to hear people’s stories and share my own. I want to use myself as an example to tell those children and parents that spending time in school can be worthwhile.” Currently, Wen is helping to promote the introduction of a General Educational Development model in China, which would allow people, after self-guided study, to test for high school certificates and subsequently be eligible for university entrance examinations. “Even if I don’t get any credit, and even if the program will only help a few thousand people instead of millions, the effort will still be worth it,” Wen says. “I don’t crave for one big leap at a time, but I do want to move a step closer in the right direction every single day.” C


On the Bookshelf

Party Systems in Latin America: Institutionalization, Decay, and Collapse Scott Mainwaring, editor Cambridge University Press, 2018 Based on contributions from leading scholars, this volume edited by Ash Center resident faculty affiliate Scott Mainwaring generates a wealth of new empirical information about Latin American party systems. It also contributes richly to major theoretical and comparative debates about the effects of party systems on democratic politics, and about why some party systems are much more stable and predictable than others. Party Systems in Latin America builds on, challenges, and updates Mainwaring and Timothy Scully's seminal Building Democratic Institutions: Party Systems in Latin America (1995), which reoriented the study of democratic party systems in the developing world. Party Systems in Latin America shows that a stable and predictable party system facilitates important democratic processes and outcomes, but that building and maintaining such a party system has been the exception rather than the norm in contemporary Latin America.

Deep Roots: How Slavery Still Shapes Southern Politics Avidit Acharya, Matthew Blackwell, and Maya Sen Princeton University Press, 2018 Despite dramatic social transformations in the United States during the last 150 years, the South has remained staunchly conservative. Southerners are more likely to support Republican candidates, gun rights, and the death penalty, and southern whites harbor higher levels of racial resentment than whites in other parts of the country. Why haven't these sentiments evolved or changed? Deep Roots shows that the entrenched political and racial views of contemporary white southerners are a direct consequence of the region's slaveholding history, which continues to shape economic, political, and social spheres. Today, southern whites who live in areas once reliant on slavery—compared to areas that were not—are more racially hostile and less amenable to policies that could promote black progress. Highlighting the connection between historical institutions and contemporary political attitudes, the authors explore the period following the Civil War

As Mainwaring explains in the Introduction to Party Systems in Latin America, party systems vary on many attributes. This book focuses on one of the most important: the level of institutionalization. Party systems in democracies vary hugely in how stable and predictable they are, and this variance has important implications for democratic politics. Party Systems in Latin America examines why party system institutionalization (PSI) is important and what explains changes in levels of institutionalization. It addresses these issues by exploring the recent Latin American experience. Because of the extraordinary diversity of outcomes in the region, Latin America provides a fertile ground for the broader theoretical and comparative discussion of PSI, deinstitutionalization, and collapse. Latin American party systems span most of the spectrum among the world's democracies in PSI, from institutionalized to highly inchoate cases. This work aims to advance broader theoretical and comparative knowledge by refining the concept of party system institutionalization, presenting new empirical indicators for it, and contributing to understanding its consequences and causes. Read more in our Q+A with Scott Mainwaring on page 4.

when elite whites in former bastions of slavery had political and economic incentives to encourage the development of anti-black laws and practices. Deep Roots shows that these forces created a local political culture steeped in racial prejudice, and that these viewpoints have been passed down over generations, from parents to children and via communities, through a process called behavioral path dependence. While legislation such as the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act made huge strides in increasing economic opportunity and reducing educational disparities, southern slavery has had a profound, lasting, and self-reinforcing influence on regional and national politics that can still be felt today. A groundbreaking look at the ways institutions of the past continue to sway attitudes of the present, Deep Roots demonstrates how social beliefs persist long after the formal policies that created those beliefs have been eradicated. Associate Professor Maya Sen, who coauthored this work, is a faculty affiliate of the Ash Center.

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Event Snapshots John T. Dunlop Memorial Forum: Labor Policy As the Defining Issue of Our Time February 6, 2018 Tom Perez MPP/JD 1987, former Secretary of Labor under President Obama and current chair of the Democratic National Committee, delivered the John T. Dunlop Memorial Forum Lecture at Harvard Law School, addressing the future of organized labor and the challenges of income inequality in the United States. Perez described how it took decades to lay the foundations for the social compact that flourished in post-war America and created enormous, shared wealth. He argued that it should be no surprise that during the 20th century, income inequality was at its lowest when labor union density was at its highest, with collective bargaining ensuring the existence of a robust middle class in the US. Productivity and wage growth were not mutually exclusive, and workers had a strong incentive in promoting the viability and prosperity of their employers. Asked what he would have done at the Labor Department with a political carte blanche, Perez said he would pass a workers’ bill of rights guaranteeing a universal minimum wage and paid sick leave, as well as a portable benefits package and the right to organize.

Tom Perez (left), current chair of the Democratic National Committee, speaks with Sharon Block, Executive Director of the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School

This Week in Dystopia: A Film Series February 8–11, 2018 The Ash Center organized a four-day film series with the Brattle Theatre, a local Harvard Square institution, titled This Week in Dystopia, in celebration of the launch of an Ash Center podcast by the same name. The series, which featured a selection of dystopian movies curated by Christopher Robichaud, Ash Center faculty affiliate and podcast creator and host, mirrored one of the podcast’s primary assertions—that pop culture often reflects the core challenges facing democracy and society in the US. The series opened with Idiocracy, which was followed by a live podcast recording. Robichaud was joined on stage by Idiocracy co-screenwriter Etan Cohen, Harvard AB ‘97, to discuss the film and its reflection of modern society. Harvard faculty and fellows introduced subsequent films, providing context for each screening as well as posing questions to the audience. Among the presenters, Ash Center Director Tony Saich introduced A Clockwork Orange, and Muriel Rouyer, Ash Center faculty affiliate, introduced the silent film classic Metropolis. Reflecting on the series, Robichaud said, “The films were meant to spark a dialogue on where we are at with our values, and where we are going.”

Idiocracy co-screenwriter Etan Cohen (left) joins podcast host Christopher Robichaud on stage at the Brattle Theatre for a live podcast recording

The China Paradox: At the Front Line of Economic Transformation March 1, 2018 The Chinese economy has flourished over the past four decades under Chinese Communist Party rule. However, some question if Beijing’s authoritative approach to governing will soon impede the country’s growth. In March, the Ash Center and the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies hosted a discussion about economic transformation in China with Dr. Paul G. Clifford, author of the recently published book, The China Paradox: At the Front Line of Economic Transformation. Ash faculty affiliate Jie Bai served as a respondent while Tony Saich, Daewoo Professor of International Affairs and director of the Ash Center, moderated. The discussion provided an overview of China’s economic emergence and the challenges the country now faces in moving to a knowledge economy. Bai noted that a majority of the country’s economic growth has been driven by private business, but that there are examples where the Chinese government has facilitated this growth. Clifford concluded the conversation, saying that China’s immediate economic growth is not his primary concern—it is China’s future that is at risk due to widespread worry about China’s politics, which he believes may slow investments in the long term.


Communiqué Fall 2018

Ash faculty affiliate Jie Bai (left), Ash director Tony Saich, and Dr. Paul G. Clifford, author of The China Paradox, discuss China’s economic growth


Project on Municipal Innovation: The Future of Work March 22–24, 2018 The Ash Center’s Project on Municipal Innovation held its 19th convening on the Kennedy School’s newly renovated and expanded campus, bringing together nearly two dozen mayoral chiefs of staff from some of America’s largest cities. Participating in three days of roundtable discussions on the theme of “The Future of Work,” moderated by Innovations Program Director Stephen Goldsmith, the city officials exchanged experiences on issues ranging from early childhood development to the economic impacts of automation. MIT professor Andrew McAfee delivered the keynote address, which underscored the need for cities to react quickly to technological disruptions that imperil their workforces. The participants departed Cambridge with a number of takeaways, most notably that city governments have a vital role to play in supporting the gainful employment of their residents by helping to ensure that children of all backgrounds get off to a strong start, that young professionals have equal access to employment opportunities, and that structural inequalities do not inhibit anyone’s long-term growth potential. From Left to Right: Lauren Andersen, Executive Director, NYC Tech Talent Pipeline, City of New York; Stephen Goldsmith, Daniel Paul Professor of the Practice of Government; and Ben Hecht, President and CEO, Living Cities

Lawyer Wang Yongmei (right) and University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor Mark Sidel discuss NGOs in China

The Future of Chinese Civil Society & Foreign NGOs April 3, 2018 The Chinese system for regulating nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), both local and foreign, was traditionally ad hoc and chaotic. In 2016, China adopted two new laws that aimed to create a framework for domestic organizations that addressed the legal uncertainty under which they had been operating and at the same time significantly increase regulations on foreign NGOs. This spring, Tony Saich, director of the Ash Center, sat down with Mark Sidel, Doyle-Bascom Professor of Law and Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Wang Yongmei, a practicing lawyer at Beijing Huayi Law Firm, to discuss these new laws and their impact on Chinese civil society. Discussing the barriers to NGOs operating in China, Sidel pointed to the Chinese government’s constraints on advocacy organizations and encouragement of social service organizations. “Many have trouble figuring out what the blurred, changing lines, are between social service delivery with an element of policy advocacy, which is allowed, and crossing the line into advocacy that leads to serious trouble,” Sidel observed. Wang added that foreign NGOs may now only collaborate with domestic NGOs that have been registered. While this new requirement is already limiting, the process is made even more difficult by the fact that many domestic grassroots organizations are registered as companies or not at all. Members of the audience suggested that these laws could constitute a normal step in China’s development. Although the panel acknowledged that this was possible, they went on to assert that these new restrictions present more challenges than opportunities, and that their full effects remain to be seen.

Islamist Emergence and Mobilization in Central Asia: Muslim Democrats and Militant Jihadis

University of Minnesota Associate Professor Kathleen Collins presents her research during a Democracy in Hard Places seminar

April 19, 2018 What role did religious repression play in politicizing Islamists in Central Asia? Why do not all Islamist movements in the region have equal success in mobilizing, even in the same political context? Associate Professor Kathleen Collins from the University of Minnesota addressed these questions during an event moderated by Scott Mainwaring, Ash resident faculty affiliate, as part of the Center’s Democracy in Hard Places seminar series. Collins’ presentation was based on findings from her ten years of quantitative and qualitative research on Islamist emergence and mobilization in Eurasia. Focused on Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Collins argued that, starting with the Bolshevik revolution, Soviet state policy was at the root of the Islamist emergence in the region. She detailed how sustained religious repression in these Soviet states led later on to mass protests and mobilization in the region. Collins concluded, “Islamism in Eurasia has largely been created by the state. By eliminating the more democratically involved Islamists, the Central Asian

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states have left little alternative to more radical movements.” She added, “So far, support for militant jihad is fairly low, but with ongoing state repression of both religion and democracy, the possibility for that to increase remains.”

The Movement for Black Lives: Justice for Michael Brown 4 Years Later April 23, 2018 This event featured a screening of Stranger Fruit, a documentary about the killing of Michael Brown, followed by a panel discussion in the JFK Jr. Forum. The panel included Lezley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown; Jason Pollock, documentary filmmaker; Benjamin Crump, attorney for families of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and Stephon Clark; Jasmine Rand, attorney for families of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin; Khalil Muhammad (moderator), Professor of History, Race, and Public Policy; and Ashley Spillane MC/MPA 2018 (moderator), Roy and Lila Ash Student Fellow. The Ash Center, the HKS Black Student Union, the HKS Arts & Culture Caucus, and the IOP Politics of Race and Ethnicity program cosponsored the event. The discussion of race in America focused on differential treatment of minorities by law enforcement. “Young white men who have already murdered people get more consideration than a young unarmed black man in America,” said Crump. Lezley McSpadden announced that she was considering a run for the Ferguson city council. If elected, she would have some oversight of the same police department involved in the death of her son.

The Movement for Black Lives panel, including moderators Khalil Gibran Muhammad (center), Professor of History, Race, and Public Policy, HKS; and Ashley Spillane (right), Ash Center Roy and Lila Ash Student Fellow; assembles before the event

Civic Analytics Network: Spring 2018 Convening May 14–15, 2018 For two days in May, the Ash Center’s Civic Analytics Network hosted its fifth semiannual convening at Harvard Kennedy School. The Civic Analytics Network is a peer group of chief data officers (CDOs) from the largest cities in the US working to advance the use of data analytics in municipal government. The Ash Center’s Professor Stephen Goldsmith moderated discussions among the CDOs on topics that included structuring data and innovation in city government, ethics and algorithms, and strategies for tackling platform issues and standardization. The CDOs also heard from guest speakers from across the Harvard community and the federal government who provided an opportunity for the CDOs to consider the many dynamics that can influence key policy issues. The convening revealed a new phase in city-level data-use and governance. Cities are in a period of transition with staffing shifts taking place across the country. While the role of the city-level CDO is still new to many communities, in others it is becoming an established, critical element of the personnel and infrastructure of city hall. As a new wave of leaders is hired into the role, the Civic Analytics Network provides a unique forum for CDOs to collaborate, iterate, and transform city-level data-use.

From Left to Right: Jason Pollock, documentary filmmaker; Lezley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown; and Benjamin Crump, attorney

Chief Data Officers from cities across the US assemble at Harvard Kennedy School and discuss the evolving role of civic data in city hall


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