Ash Center Communiqué Spring 2016

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The Magazine of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation Spring 2016 Volume 18

CHINA GIVES: The Ash Center Surveys China’s Philanthropic Landscape

Letter from the Director

Communiqué Spring 2016, Volume 18

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

Welcome to the 18th issue of the Ash Center’s Communiqué magazine, which touches on just some of the important work of those engaged with the Center. In this issue, we explore the findings of our new China Philanthropy Project, which is an attempt to shift the debate away from a focus on absolute wealth and towards bigger questions around generosity (p. 6). In our Q+A this issue (p. 2), we talk with Quinton Mayne, assistant professor of public policy, about his work on the politics of urban areas and the challenge of affordable housing. We are also excited to share our analysis of the first five years of our Democracy Fellowships Program (p. 8), which highlights the unique intellectual community created at the Ash Center. And, on p. 10, you will meet Jayant Kairam MPP 2010 who is working across sectors to combat climate change and strengthen communities. There is much more to be found in this issue and I hope you will enjoy exploring the work of our students, alumni, and scholars as they strive to make a difference. As always, you can find more information about the work of the Ash Center 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 Associate Director for Communications Daniel Harsha Editor Jessica Engelman Design forminform Photography Julien Behal, Maxwell Photography Natalie Behring/World Economic Forum Hung Chung Chih/Shutterstock Ben Danner Environmental Defense Fund Alexander Laws/iStock Rose Lincoln Maisie O’Brien Kinan Al Shaghouri Jonathan Teo Ahsen Utku



2 5 16 13



In this Issue IN THE NEWS








Q+A with Quinton Mayne

Alumni in the Field Jayant Kairam MPP 2010

Fellows Focus Meet Our New Fellows


China Gives: The Ash Center Surveys China’s Philanthropic Landscape

Ash Center News and Announcements



Event Snapshots


Democracy Fellowship Program: Shaping a New Field of Scholars

Student Focus A Lifelong Learner and Traveler: Roy and Lila Ash Fellow Priscilla Lee


Convening on Participatory Budgeting


Student Focus Travel Grants Support Student Research




Student Focus New Ash Center Workshop Connects Students to the Civic Tech Scene

Innovations in Government Convenings

New Papers from the Ash Center


Q+A with Quinton Mayne You teach SUP-601: Urban Politics, Planning, and Development at the Kennedy School. What drew you to the politics of urban areas? I work a lot on how powers are distributed across levels of government with a focus on local government. I'm really interested in understanding the difference in the powers that cities and local governments have and what the consequences of those differences are for how people think and act politically. I’m also interested in how these differences affect the types of goods and services local governments are able to produce. There's a lot of excitement right now, and energy, around cities as the site of participation and engagement and at the level where problems can get solved and challenges can be addressed. I care a lot about trying to figure out the conditions under which cities are able to realize their potential as real problem-solvers and spaces of meaningful participation. You're currently working on a book project, The Satisfied Citizen. How is citizen satisfaction shaped in the countries that you've studied? In the book manuscript I make the argument that the more politically empowered local governments are, the more likely citizens are to be satisfied with the functioning of democracy. In cities where local governments play a key role in shaping meaningful public policies, such as in education or social services— where governments are pretty politically empowered—we find that in those places, citizens are much less likely to be politically disaffected.

Quinton Mayne is Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University

What are some of the differences—that you've noted in your research—between American and European democracies regarding how citizen voices influence government? Just focusing in on cities as spaces for voice and influence, on the surface it might seem as if cities in the United States have a lot of powers at their disposal to shape certain outcomes for citizens, but they're constrained in a number of different ways. Either by the actions of higher levels of government or by a lack of fiscal capacity. In some countries in Western Europe, cities are embedded in regional and national systems of fiscal redistribution that means that, in addition to sometimes having similar powers as those enjoyed by some cities in the US, cities in certain countries also have important fiscal resources at their disposal. The result is that in these contexts, cities then are able to serve as engines of human welfare in a way that isn't always the case or is especially difficult in the United States.


Communiqué Spring 2016

So, it really comes down to that classic dichotomy between the American engine of urban capitalism and the European social welfare state, except boiled down to the municipal level. In a lot of research on cities in the US, there's a focus on cities as growth machines and as engines of economic development. Certainly in Europe, there's an increasing emphasis on cities—and regions also—as productive spaces, spaces of employment, spaces of development; but the role of cities in some countries in designing and delivering key welfare services, rooted in a broader system of fiscal equalization, means that they are able to generate growth as well as provide goods and services that mean most and not just a minority of citizens benefit from that growth. You're currently editing a series of posts on housing affordability for the Ash Center's Democracy Program blog. Do you see the debate over affordability as one of the biggest issues in urban politics today? Affordability has definitely increased in relevance as a political topic in recent years, especially after the Great Recession. That's true on both sides of the Atlantic. I think that the biggest issue facing American cities, and democracy more generally, is the ability and willingness of citizens to find a place at the decision-making table—both individually at the ballot box, but also collectively through social movements and organizing for and outside of elections. In cities in the US there's a long history of low levels of electoral participation. What cities in the US reveal is both politics as the problem and politics as the solution. Currently, we see more of the former, where politics seems to be getting in the way of managing or solving important problems, like affordability. That's in large part related to a long history of citizens and communities not being as empowered or involved in policymaking processes at the level of the city. When you have turnout rates of between 15 and 30 percent, that doesn't signal a citizenry that is being engaged in the political process. It's not surprising, then, that the types of services and goods that city authorities decide to plan or deliver may not be meeting the needs of citizens—be it housing affordability, child care, highquality education, or sustainable infrastructure investments. These problems won’t be fundamentally addressed by avoiding or working around politics; they will only be properly addressed through a renewed engagement with politics. C


New China Programs Fellows Three fellows have joined the Ash Center’s China Programs for AY15–17, including Huirong Chen and Sara Newland, who received the China Public Policy Postdoctoral Fellowship, and John Chung-En Liu, who received a China Energy Policy Postdoctoral Fellowship. Huirong Chen is an associate professor in the School of International and Public Affairs at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and received his PhD in political science from the University of Hong Kong. As a China Public Policy Fellow, he is researching civic engagement in sustaining authoritarianism in China and working on a book manuscript on the political economy of China's land tenure institution. Sara Newland received her PhD in political science from the University of California, Berkeley and has taught in the Expository Writing Program at Harvard. Her book project is on local governance in ethnically diverse parts of China, with a focus on how county govern-

Gift from Dalio Foundation ments and non-state actors provide public health and education services. Her broader research agenda concerns the strategies that the Chinese Communist Party and other authoritarian regimes use to maintain control without resorting to violence, ranging from the regulation of civil society organizations to Internet and media censorship. John Chung-En Liu received his PhD in sociology from the University of WisconsinMadison and is analyzing public understanding of climate change with survey and social media data. “The fellows joining the China Programs bring with them a broad array of experience and an impressive quality of scholarship that will add to the intellectual community of the Ash Center,” said China Programs Director Edward Cunningham. “They are each committed to deepening our understanding of some of the biggest issues impacting China today, and we have enjoyed working with them and look forward to their future work.” Please read about all of our new fellows on page 15.

In January, the Ash Center announced a generous gift from the Dalio Foundation to support the establishment of the Center's new China Philanthropy Project. The project enables a range of activities that support the recently launched China Global Philanthropy Institute (CGPI) in Shenzhen, China, and will build talent within China’s charitable organizations and provide an important platform for international cooperation. The new project at the Center supports students, visiting scholars, training, and research related to China’s emerging philanthropic sector. CGPI was announced in November 2015 and is a collaborative project supported by the Dalio Foundation along with other philanthropists and foundations from the US and China. The Ash Center and CGPI are building a research-based platform between the US and China that will explore models and traditions of giving, definitions of generosity, and related institutional aspects of building an effective and vibrant philanthropic sector. The growing acceptance of charitable organizations in China further supports such development. For more on the China Philanthropy Project, see this issue’s feature article.

Disaster Recovery Conference FAR LEFT Moderator Arnold Howitt, Faculty Co-Director, Program on Crisis Leadership, HKS; and panelists Felipe Kast, Congress of Chile; LU Xiaoli, Assistant Professor and Associate Director, Center for Crisis Management Research, Tsinghua University, China; and Doug Ahlers, Senior Fellow, Program on Crisis Leadership, HKS LEFT Conference participant Shanika Hettige, graduate student, Harvard Graduate School of Design

On January 22, 2016, a broad range of academics and practitioners from across the world traveled to Cambridge for a conference on disaster recovery organized by the Ash Center’s Program on Crisis Leadership and the Belfer Center’s Broadmoor Project. Entitled “Accelerating Disaster Recovery: Strategies, Tensions, and Obstacles,” the event provided a singular opportunity for participants to discuss the complex challenges underlying recovery efforts and to explore ways to more effectively recover from future disasters. “Recovery from major disasters is hugely important and a fundamental part of the human condi-

tion,” said Dutch Leonard, faculty co-director of the Program on Crisis Leadership, in his opening remarks at the conference. “There are massive social costs that exist not only as a result of disasters themselves—but also as a result of our inability to deal with and recover from them as effectively as we would like.” The conference was composed of four panel sessions, each organized around a key theme of disaster recovery, including the tensions and sizeable tradeoffs often associated with recovery, mechanisms to help communities process loss while they begin to move forward and rebuild in the

aftermath of disaster, and disaster recovery governance. During each panel, speakers described their particular expertise and direct experience with disaster situations, and also engaged in interactive dialogue with the audience. Modeled after the Harvard case study method, the final session of the conference analyzed a hypothetical scenario—The San Andreas Earthquake of 2023—to spark discussion of what the disaster could look like, what actions could be taken ahead of time to make the recovery more effective, and what lessons from the previous panels could be applied to this event.

Spring 2016 Communiqué



Peter Quilter Appointed Senior Non-Residential Fellow In February, the Ash Center announced the appointment of Latin America policy expert, Peter Quilter, as senior non-residential fellow. Quilter, who most recently served as the secretary for administration and finance at the Organization of American States (OAS), joins the Center where he will focus on issues surrounding both the growth and retrenchment of democracy in the Western Hemisphere. “Peter’s perspective as a thought leader on Latin America policy will do much to expand the Ash Center’s presence in the region and provide the Kennedy School community with unique insight into the perils and progress of democracy in the Americas today,” said Tony Saich, Daewoo Professor of International Affairs and Ash Center director. Before assuming his post with the OAS, Quilter served as a senior Democratic staff member of the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs with responsibility for the Western Hemisphere. He has held posts in the US State Department, and was a Latin America policy advisor to both Obama presidential campaigns, as well as to the John Kerry campaign. At the Ash Center, Quilter will lead seminars examining the current state of democracy in the Americas as well as the US role in promoting democratic growth in the region. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to reflect on the immense changes gripping Latin America today, as well as working with students who are passionate about the growth of democratic institutions there,” said Quilter.

New Government Innovators Network Blog In October, the Ash Center’s Government Innovators Network launched a new blog. This new feature enhances our marketplace of government innovation by bringing new insights on emerging solutions in innovative government to our global audience. The blog focuses on the latest innovative trends and strategies in the belief that such approaches are needed to confront the toughest challenges public officials face today. Successful innovations are highlighted, and policymakers and practitioners from around the world have the opportunity to share their experiences with innovating, adopting innovations,


Communiqué Spring 2016

and creating a culture of innovation. In addition, the blog addresses many of the challenges that innovators face, and looks at current research on innovation in the public sector and the future of innovation. Bloggers include prominent academics, innovators and innovation experts, and public policy students from across the globe. The Innovators Insights blog can be found at

Fellow Elected Mayor of Curridabat, Costa Rica for Third Term Edgar Mora Altamirano, currently a non-resident research fellow at the Ash Center and former Roy and Lila Ash student fellow, won his third term as mayor of Curridabat, Costa Rica this February. Curridabat, under Mora Altamirano’s leadership, received the Congress for New Urbanism award for Best City Plan in 2014. At the Ash Center, Mora Altamirano’s focuses on relationships between urban design, the responsive capacity of municipal governments, and how best to encourage city dwellers to generate social capital within their communities.

Innovations in American Government Award The Ash Center kicked off the application process for its prestigious Innovations in American Government Award in January and applications were due in April. For the second straight year, the Ash Center is also funding a second innovation award, the Roy and Lila Ash Innovations Award for Public Engagement in Government, to better highlight the work of public engagement and participation programs, policies, and initiatives from around the country. Applicants for both awards will be judged on novelty, effectiveness, significance, and transferability. Programs seeking the Roy and Lila Ash Award will also be judged on their impact on public engagement and participation. The winners of both $100,000 awards will be announced in 2017.

Innovation Field Lab Expands to Two New Cities

The Ash Center’s Innovation Field Lab, an ambitious experiential learning project directed by Ash Center faculty affiliate Jorrit de Jong, is expanding to Salem and Winthrop, Massachusetts this year. “The addition of Winthrop and Salem to the Field Lab will strengthen and expand the Kennedy School’s efforts to help Massachusetts cities develop innovative solutions to tough social problems,” said de Jong after both cities signed agreement with the Center. The Innovation Field Lab pairs medium-sized cities in the Greater Boston region with students and faculty researchers at the Kennedy School to help implement innovative policy solutions in the partner cities. “This is one of the best experiences our students can have to complement the classroom learning," said HKS Academic Dean for Teaching and Curriculum Suzanne Cooper. "There is nothing that can replace the opportunity for students to get their hands dirty in the field." In addition to the new partnerships with Salem and Winthrop, the cities of Fitchburg, Chelsea, and Lawrence, Massachusetts also signed new agreements to continue their collaboration with the Innovation Field Lab that began last year. “We have a community that is aggressive in trying to deliver efficient services,” said Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll at her city’s partnership signing ceremony at the Kennedy School. “Being willing to take that disruptive attitude when it comes to delivering services is exciting.” Central to the Field Lab are teams of graduate students who collaborate with local governments to develop a holistic, data-driven strategy to prioritize and resolve the prevalence of problem properties. The Field Lab is led by de Jong and Somerville, Massachusetts Mayor Joe Curtatone, who also holds an appointment as an Innovations in American Government Senior Fellow at the Ash Center.

Lecturer in Public Policy Jorrit de Jong speaks to students in the Innovation Field Lab


Convening on Participatory Budgeting February 22–23, 2016

The Ash Center, in partnership with the Democracy Fund and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, hosted a two-day convening on participatory budgeting in February in the nation’s capital. In attendance were nearly 75 elected officials and other municipal officials, academics, technologists, community members, and representatives from the federal government all with an interest in expanding and strengthening participatory budgeting programs across the US. Participatory budgeting (PB) is a relatively new model of citizen engagement in which community members directly decide how to allocate public funds. The winner of the Center’s 2015 Roy and Lila Ash Innovations Award for Public Engagement in Government was New York City’s participatory budgeting program, known as PBNYC, the largest such effort in the country. As part of the Center’s efforts to help spread research, case studies, and best practices of winners of its innovations award, the Innovation in Government Program worked with the White House to convene key participatory budgeting stakeholders from around the county to discuss how to expand PB to increasing numbers of cities across the country. “We are placing a renewed emphasis on replication and dissemination with our innovations award winners by taking advantage of our institutional convening power and relationships with practitioners to get these innovations in the hands of policymakers across the country,” said Stephen Goldsmith, the Daniel Paul Professor of the Practice of Government and director of the Innovation in Government Program at the Ash Center. The convening provided attendees the opportunity to strengthen community

decision-making by developing commitments to concrete action for deepening public participation in government in their own communities. At the conference, city councilors and community members active in PBNYC described the successes and challenges in administering PB in America’s largest city. “It really brings out in people a powerful sense of being shared stewards of the public realm,” said New York City Councilmember Brad Lander during an earlier interview when he was pushing to get New York’s then-fledgling PB program off the ground. Lander, who has been a forceful advocate for PB in New York, has worked tirelessly to expand this innovative initiative in civic engagement to offices throughout New York’s 51member large city council. Representatives from other cities interested in starting PB programs of their own took the opportunity to pepper panelists for advice about how to build support for PB in their communities. “There is this growing interest in participatory budgeting across the country, and this conference was a crucial opportunity for cities to connect with academics, foundations, and federal officials to understand the universe of resources targeted towards PB,” said Ash fellow Hollie Russon Gilman, who moderated a panel on community outreach and engagement. Russon Gilman is the author of Democracy Reinvented: Participatory Budgeting and Civic Innovation in America, a groundbreaking academic study of PB published jointly by the Ash Center and the Brookings Institution Press. The White House invited participants to an evening reception in the ornate Indian Treaty Room, where senior administration officials and HKS facul-

LEFT TOP Academic Dean Archon Fung LEFT BOTTOM Director of the Innovations in American Government Program Stephen Goldsmith ABOVE RIGHT Participants of the Participatory Budgeting Convening in the Indian Treaty Room at the White House

ty spoke about the importance of PB as a tool for reengaging the public with government. “When participatory budgeting is at its best, ordinary citizens became creative actors in the process of determining what government should do, government is more knowledgeable about their needs and responsive to them, and justice is served because public action benefits those who need it most, not just the loudest or wealthiest voices,” said Archon Fung, Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Academic Dean of Harvard Kennedy School. Professor Fung gave opening remarks at the White House along with John Holdren, the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy who is on leave from his position as the Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. C

Spring 2016 Communiqué


CHINAGIVES The Ash Center Surveys China’s Philanthropic Landscape

Over a century ago, the Gilded Age tycoons of America realized that getting rich was the easy part. Giving away their fortunes would require an altogether new vision of how they wished to leave their imprint on society—all done without the guiding hands of professional philanthropic advisors or longstanding charitable foundations. Generations later, the totems of that age, the Carnegies and Rockefellers, have left their indelible mark on America through their charitable works. Now a new breed of super-wealthy, this time hailing from China—home to the world’s largest concentration of billionaires—is beginning to grapple with the demands of contemporary philanthropy.


Communiqué Spring 2016

Understanding the state of philanthropy in China and identifying trends in charitable giving among China’s wealthy is the focus of the Ash Center’s China Philanthropy Project, a new research effort established at the Ash Center in 2015 in part by the generous support of the Dalio Foundation. “The world is fixated on China’s growing wealth and economic might. It is evident in the US presidential campaign. It is evident in the development of new regional trade accords, but few people are thinking about China’s future role in global phi“The world is fixated on lanthropy,” said Edward Cunningham, director of the China Programs at the China’s growing wealth and Ash Center, who is leading the project. economic might… but few “The western philanthropic com- people are thinking about munity has been trying to help push China’s future role in global along the development of China’s philanthropy.” Edward philanthropic sector,” said Evan KornCunningham bluh, a joint HKS MPP and HBS MBA ‘18 student, who worked closely with Cunningham on the China Philanthropy Project. In 2010, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet memorably traveled to China to encourage the country’s nascent philanthropists to open their wallets—but were largely rebuffed. Their visit failed to spark a surge in charitable giving at the time but, in the last few years, China’s wealthy have begun increasingly turning towards philanthropy. To help visualize the current philanthropic landscape in China, Cunningham also teamed up with Peiran Wei (MPA/MC 2015), a research fellow at the Ash Center who previously worked as a reporter for Bloomberg where he helped develop the Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index for China. “We took a journalistic

approach to developing the data for the project by examining all publicly available information on these philanthropists and then filling in gaps by independently verifying charitable contributions. By doing that, we were ultimately able to create a model for each individual built from the data we had uncovered.” The project team wanted to create more than just a list of wealthy philanthropists, though, and set their sights on developing a more comprehensive database to identify trends in charitable giving. “Our ‘China’s Most Generous’ list is an attempt to shift the debate away from a focus on absolute wealth and towards bigger questions around generosity,” added Cunningham. The project team began collecting data on major philanthropic donations within China that occurred from September 2014 to August 2015. Specifically, they worked to identify donors through their professional background, type of giving, philanthropic causes supported, vehicle of support (direct donation, donation through another foundation, etc.), origin and destination of giving, and type of recipient organization to which they gave. What they found was more than just a simple list of China’s newly wealthy and their pet charitable causes. “I was most struck by this big imbalance in both geographic locations [of charitable giving] and philanthropic causes supported,” said Wei. “Looking at the data, education is the most supported field, encompassing almost twothirds of philanthropists on our lists. If you closely examine these donations, you'll see a lot of the large scale donations—by that I mean over 100 million yuan, which is about 16 million dollars—going to universities in China.” While the scope of educational giving in China is hardly surprising, given that contributions to educational institutions in the US outpace all others except for giving to religious causes, the project team was surprised that environmental causes received so little support in comparison. Of China’s 100 most generous philanthropists included on the team’s list, only four contributed to environmental causes. “We've been reading reports every day about how bad the air pollution is in Beijing and Shanghai, and I'm very surprised there's so little attention in that field,” said Wei. Further research and analysis also revealed that giving in China was largely confined to wealthier, more industrialized provinces along the country’s east coast. While the state has channeled significant resources towards the country’s less developed areas in the west, charitable contributions have not followed. “I don't think many philanthropists actually know that there's so little attention being paid by the wealthy to places like Xinjiang or Tibet,” said Pei. “When they make donations, we suspect they tend to look at things and places around themselves.” While China’s philanthropy sector has shown remarkable growth in recent years—the China Philanthropy Project’s initial survey included a total of $3.8 billion in donations in 2015—China still lags far behind other countries in total philanthropic giving. Charities Aid Foundation, a British based nonprofit that publishes an annual ranking of global philanthropy, has consistently measured China near the bottom of its list. For a country with the second largest economy in the world, this gap between economic output and annual giving serves as a stark reminder that China’s philanthropic sector has considerable room to grow. On the other hand, Kornbluh, who worked for a small educational nonprofit in China before returning to the US for graduate school has seen how the country’s wealthy have indeed started to turn to philanthropic giving. “The last couple years that I was working in China, we saw a really dramatic sea change in the level of interest from high net worth individuals in China, and a change in the culture starting to emerge in terms of how people in the business world in China were starting to think about philanthropy and social impact.” Though the Chinese billionaire class may grab headlines today, it is important to remember that China’s modern wealth is only about two decades old. “Between 1949 and 1979, everything was essentially planned—all economic activities and all commercial activities are actually regulated by the government. There were essentially no private businesses, no private wealth,” adds Wei. Philanthropy was not the first thing on the minds of China’s emerging industrial and business elite. “After 1979, you see a lot of entrepreneurs emerg-

ABOVE The China Philanthropy Project research team (left to right): Peiran Wei, Yanhan Zhao, Edward Cunningham, Tony Saich, David Li, and Zijia Guo

ing, but when they first become rich, the first thing they want to do is probably not giving away their newly acquired wealth.” China’s elite is now maturing and becoming globally sophisticated, and therefore beginning to turn to philanthropy in greater force. “One of the trends we cited in the research is how China’s philanthropists are starting to professionalize,” said Kornbluh. The wealthy in China are creating foundations and beginning to think more strategically about how they will give in the future. “More people are hiring their own staff, they're setting up websites, they're drafting giving principles, and they're moving away from what was a very adhoc process driven solely by individual interest or public relations Now a new breed of superdemands,” he added. wealthy, this time hailing from The government will also have to China — home to the world’s reassess whether it wants to take steps to encourage philanthropy. “In largest concentration of bilChina, individual giving enjoys very lionaires — is beginning to little effective tax incentive,” said grapple with the demands of Cunningham. China’s Ministry of Civil contemporary philanthropy. Affairs, mindful of the proliferation of nonprofits and other nongovernmental organizations in the country, makes registering philanthropic foundations a difficult task. “As a result the majority of Chinese donors often give directly from a corporation, give to government-affiliated recipients, and they give locally,” added Cunningham. While China’s philanthropy sector continues to mature, Cunningham predicts that wealthy Chinese may become a force in global giving in the not too distant future. “We’ll end up seeing that as their personal experience becomes more global, as their children are educated abroad and they tend to buy and acquire foreign property and therefore live extended periods of time abroad, the social network of these newly wealthy tends to globalize. I think absolutely you will see the globalization of Chinese philanthropy.” As China’s giving develops, Cunningham and his team will be watching to identify the latest philanthropic trends and understand how the country’s wealthy will cement their legacy for generations to come. The China Philanthropy Project’s website and report on its first year of data may be found at C

Spring 2016 Communiqué


Five-Year Retrospective Democracy Fellowship Program Shaping a New Field of Scholars

In 2008, the Ash Center reenvisioned its Democratic Governance Program as an active research community that would fill a void in current scholarship in democratic governance by fostering research that is not only normatively and empirically sophisticated but also problem-driven and actionable. The Ash Center’s Democracy Fellowship Program is the heart of the Democratic Governance Program’s efforts to build a new field of scholarship—and scholars—studying both the challenges to democratic governance and promising solutions. For five years, the Democracy Fellowship Program has welcomed postdoctoral scholars as well as doctoral candidates, senior scholars, and practitioners from a variety of disciplines and perspectives. Ash Center Director Tony Saich and Academic Dean Archon Fung have just published a retrospective celebrating the Democracy Fellowship Program on the occasion of its fifth anniversary. The full report is available on the Ash Center website at Building a Community The retrospective highlights the unique intellectual community created by the Ash Center over the last five years. Democracy Fellows enjoy time and space away from teaching and other commitments that detract from their research and writing. Postdocs prepare a manuscript from their dissertations, write articles for submission to peer-reviewed journals, gather additional data, or develop and collaborate with others on new research projects. Senior scholars on sabbatical work on any number of research and writing projects. Doctoral students are typically refining or completing their dissertations. At the heart of the Democracy Fellows Program and its intellectual com“The best forum out there munity is the weekly seminar led by for debating democracy.” Academic Dean Fung. The weekly seminar is a master class in democratic governance that acts as a forum through which young scholars gain experience discussing world events and democratic theory in an interdisciplinary setting. “Writing a dissertation is a solitary job,” writes Elena Fagotto (Transparency Fellow 2009–2012), Research Director of the Ash Center’s Transparency Policy Project. “So I cherished the seminars because we could all come together and explore deep philosophical questions… The variety of topics we discussed, the


Communiqué Spring 2016

ABOVE TOP Academic Dean Archon Fung (center) leads a recent Democracy Fellows weekly seminar ABOVE BOTTOM Assistant Professor Quinton Mayne (center), who was the Center’s first Democracy Postdoctoral Fellow, still actively contributes to the Democracy Fellows weekly seminar

contribution each fellow brought, and Archon’s skillful way of steering the discussion made the seminars a truly enriching and memorable experience.” Another fellow describes the experience as “The best forum out there for debating democracy.” About the Fellows Each year, the Democracy Fellows comprise an interdisciplinary cohort that draws outstanding scholars conducting research that illuminates aspects of democratic governance. We welcomed 44 Democracy Fellows in the program’s first five years, representing a diversity of institutions, regions, and research interests. One fellow writes, “In my cohort we had scholars from the United States, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Egypt, Northern Ireland, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Finland, and many other places as well. We had economists, lawyers, political scientists, policy analysts, government officials, academics, philosophers, and activists. Our common interests revolve around the promises (and challenges) of democratic governance.” Democracy Fellows have a robust set of research interests including innovations in participation; the mechanics and potential of public deliberation; understanding the influence of digital technology on democratic governance; the provision of public goods and services in a democratic society; the relation-

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Looking Forward The Democratic Governance Program’s ability to have an impact on fellows, imbuing a commitment to real-world solutions in their future career choices and scholarship, relies on meeting three primary objectives: identifying and attracting outstanding scholars committed to practical solutions, providing a unique intellectual environment, and building a global network. The Democracy Fellowship Program will continue to attract the brightest young and established scholars committed to improving the quality of democratic governance—and provide them with a unique, robust intellectual community. Based on feedback from former fellows, we hope to engage more visiting senior scholars and senior faculty from across the University. This involvement would create more opportunities for younger scholars to benefit from individual mentoring in both their research and career development. Another initiative could be to help connect fellows to practitioners in their fields of interest, for example, government and civic leaders launching democratic innovations, for both research and instructional purposes. Fellows have expressed a desire to be able to continue to share recent work, exchange ideas, and perhaps identify new opportunities for collaboration with other Democracy Fellows after their fellowships have ended. In some ways, this fifth anniversary of the Democracy Fellowship Program has offered a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with some former fellows, and to deepen ties with others, in the process of updating the fellows’ current information including publications and other accomplishments. It will serve as a solid foundation for maintaining and strengthening the global network of Democracy Fellows. C

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Impact on Scholarship and Practice The retrospective highlights the impressive contributions that the global network of Democracy Fellows has made in these and other areas through robust scholarship, through instructing the next generation of political and civic leaders, and through practice. Membership in this network affords an academic legitimacy and self-confidence. It also means that former Democracy Fellows are championing outstanding scholarship on democratic governance—with an emphasis on practical solutions—throughout the world’s most prestigious academic institutions. One measure of the contributions of former Democracy Fellows is the volume and variety of their scholarship. Since leaving the Ash Center, this group has produced at least 135 articles, books, chapters, working papers, and policy reports for government and civic organizations. Equally important are the contributions of former Democracy Fellows who are in professional roles on the frontlines of improving democratic governance in legislatures, think tanks, and development organizations across the globe. Cristiano Ferri Soares de Faria (Visiting Fellow 2009–2010) is long-time director of the HackerLab in the Brazilian House of Representatives, where he has championed a number of pioneering and award-winning projects in leveraging digital technology to promote citizen voice and participation. Francisca Rojas (Transparency Fellow 2010–2013) is a Housing and Urban Development Specialist for the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, DC and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Democracy Fellows pursuing academic careers are also keeping a hand in practice. Quinton Mayne (Postdoctoral Fellow 2010–2012), Assistant Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, is working with another Ash Center faculty member Jorrit de Jong on a novel Innovation Field Lab for the School’s students. This partnership with five Massachusetts cities deploys dedicated groups of students to examine urban problems in a focused and systematic way, providing technological solutions beneficial to the city and its residents.

The Democracy Fellowship Program has attracted some of the best young and established scholars from 26 of the world’s top universities. This diagram shows the PhDgranting institutions represented by the Democracy Fellows.


ship between democratic governance and persistent problems such as injustice, discrimination, and inequality; the frontiers of democratic theory; and subnational politics and policymaking.

Oxford Univers ity Prin ceto St nU an niv for ers ity dU niv ers ity

PhD-Granting Institutions

Primary Research Interests The Democracy Fellows comprise a broadly interdisciplinary cohort drawn together by a commitment to understanding the greatest challenges to democratic governance and exploring promising solutions. As outstanding scholars, most have multiple interests. Here is a list of the top 14 areas of research interest represented by Democracy Fellows.


Participation 15

Comparative/International 12

Political and Democratic Theory 10

Public Policy 9

Technology 7

Deliberative Democracy Innovation


Welfare, Poverty, Inequality





5 5

Race, Gender, Ethnicity Urban Politics




Social Movements


Country of Origin

Each cohort of Democracy Fellows is international in its composition, bringing an element of geographic and cultural diversity to the group. Past fellows represent 17 different countries; to the right is a world map showing the countries represented by Democracy Fellows.

● 5+

● 2–4


Current Positions: Ash Center-Funded Fellows

Current Positions: Senior Scholars, Visiting Fellows, and Practitioners

Tenure-Track Faculty

Postdoctoral Fellowship

PhD Candidate

Senior Faculty





Other Academic

Tenure-Track Faculty 5

PhD Candidate 3


Non-Academic 7

Spring 2016 Communiqué



Alumni in the Field Connecting the Dots on Sustainability—Jayant Kairam MPP 2010 is working across sectors to combat climate change and strengthen communities “Climate change is the fight of our time,” says Jayant Kairam MPP 2010 from his office at Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) in Austin, Texas. “Every day we see the increased threats that climate change poses to coastlines, agriculture, water, public health, and political and economic stability, and we must act now to reduce carbon pollution.” As the Director of Partnerships for EDF’s Clean Energy program, Kairam is often speaking about the exigency of climate action. He is, like many of his colleagues, responsible for communicating EDF’s mission to advance solutions that address the world’s most pressing environmental problems. Kairam manages a small team of seasoned advocates working on an array of domestic energy reform initiatives, like promoting community solar, developing energy efficiency programs for rural cooperatives, and making clean energy available to underserved urban and rural communities across the country. “Our country’s electricity system accounts for 40 percent of carbon emissions, and we have the opportunity to make it cleaner, more resilient, more affordable, and less reliant on fossil fuels,” said Kairam. “We have choices — cheaper renewables, tools to make the grid more efficient, data and innovation to empower consumers, smarter buildings that store and respond to loads, and dynamic pricing. We need to make the financial investments and policy changes to transform the way we generate and use electricity.” “As an advocacy organization, we have strong opinions,” Kairam adds. “What attracted me to EDF is its reliance on science and economics to create market-based solutions that are practical and work across sectors to create climate and energy reform.” In keeping with its cross-sector model, EDF counts WalMart and McDonald’s among its corporate partners. Considering their sizable carbon footprints, these companies may seem like unlikely allies in the fight against climate change, but Kairam explains the importance of partnerships with business. “The business sector cannot be ignored,” he says. “Think about their supply chain, think about their investments, think about the number of people they employ, and the amount of real estate they own. If they green their operations, then that has a tremendous impact across the world.” “Policymakers have to listen to corporations. They’re employers in their district, they provide services,” he continued. “Bringing together corporate voices in support of clean energy initiatives and investments is market moving. It changes the temper of the conversation, and it counters negative


Communiqué Spring 2016

Jayant Kairam MPP 2010

attitudes about the environment in this country.” While a student at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), Kairam was also working across sectors to find innovative solutions to complex problems. After taking Innovations Program Director Steve Goldsmith’s course “Leading Cities,” he worked for Goldsmith on the “Better, Faster, Cheaper” blog, drafting profiles on efficiency projects throughout the country. Supported by the Ash Center, Kairam also did a summer internship in Louisville, Kentucky, working under Mayor Jerry Abramson. He put together a comprehensive assessment of gaps in afterschool programming and compiled key education metrics like graduation rates. For his policy analysis exercise (PAE), the capstone for his degree, Kairam conducted an in-depth analysis of the culture of innovation in Boston’s municipal workforce, assessing how likely employees were to take risks while working within the strictures of a bureaucratic system. Ash Center Professor Mark Moore served as his PAE advisor. “My experiences at HKS and the work I did at the Ash Center really opened my eyes to public sector innovation and how valuable that can be in improving quality of life,” Kairam reflects. “The service delivery and operational sides of government, while not glamorous or likely to make the front page of a newspaper, contribute so much to the well-being of communities.” After graduating from HKS, Kairam worked in New York City government, first as a senior policy advisor for the deputy mayor of operations and then as the chief operating officer for the Business Integri-

ty Commission where he oversaw the city’s commercial waste and market businesses. He was charged with instituting a series of environmental reforms to ensure that waste fleets complied with federal emissions standards and combatted the negative impact the sector had on the city’s overall air quality. It was his first project addressing environmental concerns and it made a lasting impression. “I got into environmental and sustainability issues because of my interest in cities and making cities better,” Kairam says. “Sustainability is one way you can connect the dots across all of the issues that impact communities. It allows you to connect housing to public health to safety to education. Garbage transfer stations are located in some of New York City’s poorest communities. When residents see politicians working to remove the fumes and black carbon from trucks lining up in front of their houses every day, that is very directly meaningful to them. The tangibility of connecting the waste system to air quality to neighborhood improvement was really moving for me, especially having seen it at the local level.” From his office in Austin, Kairam cannot always see the on-the-ground impact of the work he is doing to promote environmental reforms and climate action, but he draws inspiration from his past experiences to motivate his team. “Climate change is something that we have to tackle at the systemic level, while using stories at the local level to make it palpable,” he says. “We have to find ways to convey to people how they can act now and what the consequences of climate change will look like across the world and across sectors.” C


New Papers from the Ash Center During the fall and early spring semesters, the Ash Center published a number of papers across all three of the Center’s programs. Engaging Citizens: Participatory Budgeting and the Inclusive Governance Movement within the United States Born in Brazil in the late 1980s, participatory budgeting refers to processes through which citizens help to decide how to allocate public monies, empowering them to identify community needs, work with elected officials to craft budget proposals, and vote on how to spend public funds. Ash Center fellow Hollie Russon Gilman provides a unique overview of the state of participatory budgeting today in the United States Gilman’s paper provides an important overview of the genesis of participatory budgeting and its current incarnations in the United States. It situates the participatory budgeting process within a larger context of civic innovation strategies occurring across America. The paper outlines the institutional challenges and proposes assessment criteria to be considered when implementing civic and social innovations such as participatory budgeting. Gilman has also written Democracy Reinvented: Participatory Budgeting and Civic Innovation in America, which was published by Brookings Institution Press and the Ash Center in January 2016. Ash Center Occasional Papers Tony Saich, Series Editor

Engaging Citizens: Participatory Budgeting and the Inclusive Governance Movement within the United States

By Hollie Russon Gilman

January 2016

Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation Harvard Kennedy School

Hydropower in Myanmar: Moving Electricity Contracts from Colonial to Commercial David Dapice, senior economist for Mainland Southeast Asia at the Ash Center, authored a paper on Myanmar’s struggle to increase its domestic electricity production and better harness its natural hydropower resources. By comparison, Myanmar has less electricity per capita than Bangladesh and only a third of its population is connected to grid electricity. Although Myanmar has huge reserves of potential hydroelectricity, Dapice’s paper argues that more is at stake than electricity supply, and that the political implications of hydro development are crucial to a peaceful and united future for Myanmar. The paper cautions that hydroelectric projects undertaken in the past decade had exceedingly disadvantageous 79 John F. Kennedy Street, Box 74 Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 617-495-1134

To Build or Not to Build?

Designing Sustainable Hydro for Federalism in Myanmar

Prepared for

Proximity Designs | Myanmar

February 2016

This research paper was written by David Dapice ( It builds upon research carried out from 2012 to 2015. dŚĞ ǀŝĞǁƐ ĞdžƉƌĞƐƐĞĚ ŚĞƌĞŝŶ ĂƌĞ ƚŚĞ ĂƵƚŚŽƌ͛Ɛ ĂůŽŶĞ ĂŶĚ ĚŽ not necessarily reflect those of Proximity, the Government of the Union of Myanmar, or Harvard University. This study, along with other recent AshProximity reports on Myanmar, is posted at

terms that serve Myanmar poorly, and that to realize a stable political framework that promotes national unity, how hydroelectricity projects are approved and developed, and how the revenue benefits are distributed are as important as the electricity itself. The National People’s Congress: Functions and Membership To many observers the roles and responsibilities of China’s legislative branch, the China’s National People’s Congress (NPC), remains a mystery. Ash Center Director Tony Saich sets out to clarify the structure and purpose of the NPC in this paper by providing an overview of the NPC's role in China's governmental hierarchy, its functions, and its membership. Saich notes that the NPC is sometimes described as a “ceremonial” legislature that functions as a “rubber stamp” for the Chinese Communist Party, but that the nature of the NPC and its members is also sometimes misunderstood, or at least not fully explained. The membership of the NPC totals almost 3,000 and meeting only briefly each year means that for most delegates membership is ceremonial rather than substantial, according to Saich. For most, it is a sign of recognition or appreciation by the national leadership that they have contributed to society or that they have particular expertise that is required by the NPC. Thus, the NPC does not function as a legislature in the way that it would function in the US Congress or the British Houses of Parliament, nor, however, does the body serve solely as a “rubber stamp” approving the dictates of the executive with little debate or dissension. The National People’s Congress: Functions and Membership

Tony Saich Harvard Kennedy School November 2015

Transforming the T: How MBTA Reform Can Right Our Broken Transportation System Between runaway trains, soaring pension obligations, and overinflated construction costs, the breakdown of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), Greater Boston’s primary public transportation agency, is plain for just about all to see. Charles Chieppo, an Innovations in American Government Fellow at the Ash Center, released a report outlining a number of reforms intended to put the MBTA’s fiscal house in order. Chieppo sounds the alarm by noting that the MBTA Fiscal Management and Control Board found that the T is looking at a $170 million shortfall for the current fiscal year, which is projected to grow to $427 million by fiscal year 2020. Specifically, Chieppo calls for a number of critical reforms, including halting further MBTA expansion until the system’s current maintenance backlog

Charlie Chieppo, Innovations in American Government Fellow, authored report arguing for key MBTA reforms

is eliminated; reforming the MBTA’s on-demand service for disabled riders who can’t use buses and trains; taking advantage of newly passed legislation carving out certain prohibitions to MBTA privatization of services by contracting out bus maintenance; ending final and binding arbitration, so that T employees operate by the same rules as the rest of the public sector in Massachusetts; and moving MBTA employees into the state pension fund. Transforming the T: How MBTA Reform Can Right Our Broken Transportation System

Charles Chieppo Harvard Kennedy School December 2015

Series on Civic Engagement from Data-Smart City Solutions Data-Smart City Solutions published a new series of papers exploring data-related facets of civic engagement in today’s cities. Under the direction of the Ash Center’s Professor Stephen Goldsmith, DataSmart City Solutions aims to serve as a central resource for cities interested in adopting new data-smart tools or policies. The project writes about and disseminates the latest civic data news, cases, and resources. This series focuses on civic engagement, a universal concern for cities, and an aspect of governance that many cities are trying to improve through data and technology. Data-Smart worked with leading experts in the field to develop the series as an in-depth set of resources for cities. Debs Schrimmer, the Content and Policy Lead for Code for America, wrote about “21st-Century Civic Engagement,” using Code for America’s partnership with Boulder, Colorado, as a case study. Schrimmer’s paper explains how Code for America worked with Boulder to build new tools and develop data-driven processes to raise engagement. More specifically, the partnership aimed to stimulate dialogue and collaboration with the community, increase civic participation and multi-way dialogue, and create an innovative approach to engagement that can be easily replicated. She provides five key recommendations for governments

Spring 2016 Communiqué



Data-Smart City Solutions explores how Boulder, Colorado is building new tools and developing data-driven processes to foster public engagement

looking to enhance their own engagement: expand reach, provide relevant and usable information, use channels effectively, encourage productive actions, and create useful feedback loops. Hollie Russon Gilman, an Ash Center Fellow and a Civic Innovation Fellow at New America, explored a multi-sector approach to inclusive governance, along with technology’s ability to help enable such civic engagement. She denotes the many venues for civic engagement that are available to citizens and highlights how technology is currently allowing citizens to inform public policy and fund public works. Citizens, government, society, and digital tool developers all have a role to play in helping to create a more inclusive government, and she recommends ways each of these groups can work to improve engagement. Emily Shaw, the Deputy Policy Director at the Sunlight Foundation, explained how open data can both encourage civic engagement and allow governments to get the most out of their data. Her paper begins with a thorough explanation of what open data is and surveys current and historical usage of open data by governments. She then explains why open data is attractive to governments and expands on three essential benefits: doing more with less, improving internal data practices, and improving communication with citizens. She concludes by detailing the basic steps governments should take to begin opening their data and lists a number of key resources where governments can find out more about open data. Jane Wiseman, leader of the Institute for Excellence in Government, examines the current lack of citizen input in government. She argues the public is interested in providing feedback, citing several cases where governments successfully solicited input from residents. Surveys, social media, and 311 apps are examples of platforms that governments can use to reliably gather citizen feedback. She highlights Kansas City, Missouri, as a leading model for how feedback can be used strategically to improve government performance, and provides a path forward for cities looking to begin leveraging citizen input in a similar fashion.


Communiqué Spring 2016

15th Convening of the Project on Municipal Innovation March 17–19, 2016 The Project on Municipal Innovation (PMI) met for the 15th time at Harvard Kennedy School in March. PMI is comprised of chiefs of staff, deputy mayors, and policy directors from the nation’s 45 largest and most creative cities. In partnership with Living Cities, the Ash Center convenes two in-person meetings each year for PMI members. Ash Center staff and HKS students document these conversations to capture and share best practices, encouraging replication across the network. The theme of the March 2016 convening was “Leadership, Courageous Followership, and Imperative Partnerships.” PMI members discussed the unique role that the chief of staff plays in managing both the mayor and the bureaucracy of city hall, the potential posed by social impact bonds and payfor-success financing schemes, and the means by which behavioral economics insights can translate to substantive policy items. The convening featured a keynote discussion at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library between Matthew McClarty, chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, and Andrew Card, chief of staff to President George W. Bush.

Project on State Innovation November 5–6, 2015 The inaugural gathering of the Project on State Innovation (PSI) was held at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) in November. PSI is a new network for gubernatorial chiefs of staff directed by the Ash Center’s

Professor Stephen Goldsmith and supported by the National Governors Association. PSI provides leading state officials with a unique environment to share challenges and innovative solutions in state governments across the United States. The theme of the convening was “Governors’ Chiefs of Staff: Leveraging Change, Managing for Results, Improving Lives” and it brought together governors’ chiefs of staff from 19 states from across the country, plus the territory of Guam, along with philanthropic and stakeholder partners. Candy Crowley, former anchor and Chief Political Correspondent for CNN, delivered the keynote address. PSI members had in-depth conversations on the emerging role of the chief operating officer in state government, using big data and evidence to solve critical problems, the importance of leadership, and being prepared to lead your state in times of crisis. Speakers included Bob Behn, HKS Senior Lecturer in Public Policy; Regina Kunkle, Vice President of SAP Public Services; Mitch Weiss, Senior Lecturer of Business Administration at Harvard Business School; and Mark Price, US Public Sector Leader at Deloitte Consulting.

Project on County Innovation

December 16–18, 2015 The Ash Center convened the second annual Project on County Innovation (PCI) meeting at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) in December. PCI is a network for county government officials directed by the Ash Center’s Professor Stephen Goldsmith and supported by the National Association of Counties. PCI offers leading county officials with an unmatched opportunity to better understand public problems and find creative solutions in county governments across the United States. The theme of this year’s meeting was “Leveraging Innovation in County Government” and was attended by high level county officials and executives from 20 of the largest counties across the country, along with philanthropic and stakeholder partners. HKS Senior Lecturer in Public Leadership Ronald Heifetz delivered the keynote address. PCI members discussed creating public value, service delivery in an era of declining resources, community-based resources to justice-involved young adults, and the importance of leadership in dealing with complex high-cost mandates such as collaborative technology projects. Speakers included Mark Moore, HKS professor and faculty director of the Innovations in Government Program; Laurie Garduque, Director of Justice Reform at the MacArthur Foundation; Harry Spence, Massachusetts Trial Court Administrator; and Julie Boatright Wilson, HKS Senior Lecturer in Social Policy.


Student Focus A Lifelong Learner and Traveler: Roy and Lila Ash Fellow Priscilla Lee Priscilla Lee MPA 2016 holds up her phone displaying a picture of a beaming mom in a bright blue headscarf holding her newborn son. “This is Decca and Isaac,” she says. “I took these last week when I visited them in the hospital.”* Decca, Lee explained, faced countless obstacles to starting a family. She was born in Somalia and lived much of her life on the move or in refugee camps before coming to the US where she was separated from her family for years. Decca met Lee when she was enrolled in an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) class at the Community Learning Center in Cambridge where Lee was a teacher and administrator. “When I met Decca she was very much alone,” Lee says. “Then, as now, much of her paycheck goes to supporting family members still abroad. We often talked about what she wanted to do with her life, and being in her late 30s what she really wanted was to have a baby, and the challenges before her were numerous. Seeing her holding Isaac was one of those wonderful miracle moments.” During her long career developing and teaching educational programs for immigrants, Lee has seen students like Decca through celebrations and milestones, setbacks and disappointments, holidays, and graduations. “You’re never just a teacher,” she says. “You’re a learner with them. I’ve approached my own life choices with an equanimity gained through the experiences of others.” The Community Learning Center where Lee worked for 25 years serves new immigrants as well as those in need of adult education. Twenty-three staff members, an equal number of part-time instructors, and a cadre of volunteers provide instruction in the areas of ESOL, HiSET (high school equivalency testing), US citizenship, workplace training, and college prep. Students are assigned an advisor who helps them set goals, gauge progress, and seek additional resources to support their endeavors. The student demographics of the Learning Center reflect the diversity of Cambridge’s immigrant community, creating an atmosphere that Lee believes is particularly valuable. “In our beginning ESOL classes there might be 11 nationalities among 15 students,” she says. “You see the walls of ‘those people’ come down pretty quickly and within a few weeks everyone is learning and hanging out together. It’s incredible to witness the diversity coming together. People of different ethnicities, ages, and gender sharing resources and building social networks… it’s empowering.” In many ways, the act of bridging boundaries

Roy and Lila Ash Fellow Priscilla Lee

across language and culture has always been a part of Priscilla’s life. Her parents emigrated from China and her mother worked as a math teacher, instilling in her an appreciation for learning and a constant curiosity about other cultures. “In high school, I traveled to South America with a group called Amigos de las Americas and that’s when the travel bug really kicked in,” she said. “Being the only Asian family in a predominately white community, I always felt like an outsider, so traveling to a country where I didn’t look like anyone or speak the language was already familiar. It was like I had discovered a skill I didn’t know I had — a comfort in being different. Those early experiences also led me to realize the rewards of delivering public and human service.” After graduating from Mount Holyoke College with an anthropology degree, Lee traveled across Europe, working technical jobs in a pewter workshop and a fine arts foundry. She then headed to Asia and taught ESOL for several years in Japan before moving to Thailand where she volunteered to work with teams of teachers, preparing Cambodian, Lao and Hmong refugees for a transition to American life. “My parents came to the US when their country was in turmoil,” she said. “I was glad to be in a position to help people who had also been displaced.” In September, Lee entered Harvard Kennedy School as the Ash Center’s Roy and Lila Ash Fellow in recognition of her work empowering vulnerable populations through education and supporting their full participation in society. She is taking courses in negotiation, leadership, ethics, and pub-

lic policy, while exploring international career paths after graduation including a possible return to work with refugees. After years of teaching and working to support others, Lee has time to reflect on her vocational choices and what it means to give back. Her academic advisor is Senior Lecturer in Public Policy Marshall Ganz and she took his course “Public Narrative: Self. Us. Now” in the fall, which requires students to examine their personal histories and explore how they can be harnessed to advance social change. “It’s been a challenging course,” Lee says. “Opening up to my peers has been painful at times. I’ve worked with immigrants and refugees and marginalized populations. I’ve healed myself by doing healing work. I think that’s something that makes sense: Someone helped me, so I’m going to return the favor.” Lee values the diversity and breadth of expertise present in the HKS community. “There’s an urgency to spending a year at the Kennedy School,” she says. “My classmates have such a wealth of experience and insight that I feel excited about making authentic connections quickly. One of the benefits of being at HKS is knowing I’ll be tapped into a network of people from all over the world whom I can later call for advice and they’ll help me out; not because they’re financially motivated, but because they’re people who care. It’s a vibrant place and I’m very proud to be able to learn and contribute here.” C * The names of Lee’s student and the student’s son have been changed to protect their privacy.

Spring 2016 Communiqué



Student Focus Travel Grants Support Student Research

New Ash Center Workshop Connects Students to the Civic Tech Scene

Each year, the Ash Center provides travel grants to HKS students conducting master’s thesis field research for their Policy Analysis Exercise or Second Year Policy Analysis. Beyond financial support, the Ash Center’s deep connection to government and the broader world of practice allow us to provide in-depth support to students as they complete these projects. This winter, the Center supported 18 students on projects that are advised by Ash-affiliated faculty or that explore topics aligned with the Center’s research and programmatic agendas. Through the Program on China and Globalization Fund and the Hui Fund for Generating Powerful Ideas, the Center’s China Programs also provided travel funding for nine Harvard students travelling to China for research projects over the winter break. Lester Ang, Derek Pham, and Trung Tran Strategic and Sustainable Development in the Lower Mekong Region Jennifer Angarita and Marina Zhavoronkova Financial Stability for Low-income Communities: Assessing the Impact of Integrated Services Peter Bacon and Helena Legarda-Herranz * Limiting Nuclear Escalation in a War between US and China Jane Bai * Assessment of DRGs Reform at Pilot Hospitals in China Pitichoke Chulapamornsri and Sarah Tesar Innovating in Inclusive Finance and Participatory Governance Jack Gao and Diana Zhou * Scaling Up Electric Vehicles in China Naisi Gao and Yameng Hu * Empowering Migrant Children by Youth Public Leadership Development: An Evaluation of EduRunner Summer Camp in China Amri Ilmma Improving the Design and Implementation of PKH Conditional Cash Transfer Program in Indonesia Aneth Kasabele and Anne Ong Lopez Addressing the Challenge of ‘Formal’ Financial Savings and Use in Low-Income Tanzania Households Erica Kelly Disaster Preparedness and Response in Nepal: Rethinking Military and Civil Agency Communication and Coordination Carolyne Makumi Gender and Sustainable Livelihoods among Internally Displaced Persons in Azerbaijan Wei Meng * Global Value Chains and China’s Upgrade Strategies


Communiqué Spring 2016

Loren Newman Closing the Digital Divide in Los Angeles: An Exemplar for Enabling Internet Access Throughout Urban America Sofia Quesada Increasing the Adoption of ConflictSensitive Programming within USAID Norma Torres Mendoza Examining the effects of Mi Familia Vota - Emerging Latino/a Leaders Fellowship on Student Civic Engagement in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio (TX), Fresno, Riverside, Modesto (CA) Erik Torstensson and Sarah Zhang Emergency Media Communication Strategies during Ebola Koji Ukai GNH-Based Development: Policy Recommendations for Private Sector Growth Consistent with Bhutanese Values Mingjie Yuan * The rural commercial banks’ implementation of Basel regulatory framework in China * Travel grant provided by the Ash Center’s China Programs

“Living one’s civic life on the Internet is rapidly becoming as normal and natural as using technology in one’s personal and work lives,” said Seamus Kraft, cofounder of the OpenGov Foundation and one of the recipients of the Ash Center’s inaugural Technology and Democracy Fellowships, leading a workshop at the Center on March 8. Entitled “Learn to be Your Own Lobbyist (And Love it!),” the event was part of the Technology and Democracy Seminar Series. The series brings exemplary practitioners from the worlds of technology, policy, and government together with Kennedy School students for workshops on a broad range of topics related to civic technology. Through participation in the series, students gain practical skills and a deeper understanding of how to make use of technology to facilitate interaction between the public and government. The fellowship is mutually beneficial: by leading the workshops and developing a community of learning with HKS students, the fellows will broaden and hone their communications skills and receive collaborative support as they develop projects in their respective fields that seek to improve the quality of democratic governance. During the workshop, Kraft engaged HKS students in an interactive discussion on using technology to give more citizens a meaningful way to share their views and griev-

ABOVE Seamus Kraft, cofounder of the OpenGov Foundation, speaks with students at a workshop in the Center’s Technology and Democracy Seminar Series

ances with government officials. He introduced them to the OpenGov Foundation’s online policymaking software, Madison, and had them examine how it could be used to level the playing field between citizens and government insiders by allowing them to collaborate and communicate on policy decisions via the Internet. After discussing potential use cases and opportunities for Madison as a lobbying tool, the students provided Kraft with valuable feedback on the software, so that it could better serve citizens wishing to use the power of technology to engage with their government. “There’s a genuine hunger for more online civic engagement,” said Kraft. “At Harvard, everyone in the workshop immediately grasped Madison, how it works, and the power of open online policymaking. That enabled us to spend the bulk of our time together not on the concepts or the backstory, but on specific use cases and opportunities and ways to make Madison even better. It was a productive, informative, and inspiring evening.” C


Fellows Focus Meet Our New Fellows

Carnegie Fellowship Through a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ash Center began supporting promising Arab social scientists in the fall of 2014. The Carnegie scholars explore possible options for effective governance across a range of policy domains in this dangerously troubled part of the world. The Center's spring semester Carnegie Fellows are Mazen Hassan, assistant professor of political science, Cairo University, and Sarah Mansour, assistant professor of economics, Cairo University. Hassan received his PhD from University of Oxford and his research interests include electoral systems, political parties, party systems, and democratic transitions in Egypt. Mansour received her PhD from University of Warwick and works on issues related to political economy, public economics, and finance. Democracy Program The Ash Center’s Democracy Fellowships support predoctoral and postdoctoral scholars as well as practitioners in research areas related to democratic governance. This semester, Sean Gray and Kathryn Perera joined the Center. Gray received his PhD in political science from the University of British Columbia and his research interests include contemporary democratic theory, the welfare state, and political representation. Perera is chief executive of Movement for Change and her research focus includes participatory politics, political philosophy, and key moral challenges of representative office. Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia The Rajawali Fellows Program allows predoctoral and postdoctoral scholars as well as practitioners the freedom to pursue independent research projects on public policy issues related to Asia with the help of the Ash Center’s Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia and other Harvard resources. The Center welcomed five new Rajawali Fellows this semester:

CHENG Yufei, Beijing branch of the Baoshang Bank DENG Yusong, Deputy Director, Institute of Market Economy, Development Research Center, PRC State Council Juan Fernandez, Professor of Management, China Europe International Business School JIANG Yunyun, Associate Professor of Economics, Peking University TIAN Jietang, Deputy Director for Techno-Economic Research Department, Development Research Center, PRC State Council Lee Kuan Yew Fellows The HKS Singapore Program administers the Lee Kuan Yew Fellows Program, which brings a group of up to 25 midcareer students to campus for

one semester each year. Coming from various countries throughout Asia, these students are candidates for the Master in Public Management degree at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. They spend their second semester as full-time students in residence at HKS to complement their training in Singapore. This semester, we welcomed 16 fellows: Nurayuni Zainal Abidin, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia Muhammad Asif, Customs Intelligence & Investigations, Pakistan Genri Goto, J-Device Corporation, Japan Noreen Boots G. Gragasin, Civil Service Commission, Philippines Aishath Malika Ibrahim, Communications Authority, Maldives

Warangkana Imudom, Bank of Thailand Sardar Kabdulov, Almaty City Administration, Kazakhstan Muhammad Kashif Mushtaq Kanju, Police Service, Pakistan Wong Poh Fern Karen, Spore Armed Forces, MINDEF, Singapore Vu Quynh Le, Public Procurement Agency, Ministry of Planning & Investment, Vietnam Ma Ensheng, Trade Remedy and Investigation Bureau, Ministry of Commerce, China Saifudin Hamjuri bin Samsuri, Civil Service College, Singapore Padmaja Siripurapu, Ministry of Finance, India Cardona Ma Victoria Dela Victoria, Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines Lim Han Yong, Spore Armed Forces, MINDEF, Singapore Htun Zaw, Ministry of Planning & Development, Myanmar

Fellows joining the Ash Center in January 2016

Lee Kuan Yew Fellows attend welcome reception at the Ash Center. Pictured here with Faculty Chair Professor Steve Kelman

Spring 2016 Communiqué



Event Snapshots Singapore at 50: Stakeholders and Changemakers Fall 2015–Spring 2016 Stakeholders and Changemakers was a series of discussions organized by Southeast Asian HKS students to examine issues facing Singapore and Southeast Asia more broadly. The first discussion, held in November, focused on how Singapore has confronted social integration challenges in the past, and the challenges and solutions to social fault lines on the horizon. In February, the discussion addressed “Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Singapore.” And, in April, “Promises and Pitfalls: ASEAN 2015 in Review” discussed the issues surrounding a proposed Code of Conduct for the South China Sea and the creation of the ASEAN Economic Community. The series was sponsored by the Harvard University Asia Center, the Ash Center’s HKS Singapore Program, and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.

HKS students attend the first Singapore at 50: Stakeholders and Changemakers event in November 2015

Myanmar After the Elections: The Challenges Ahead December 2, 2015 Tommy Vallely, the senior advisor for mainland Southeast Asia at the Ash Center, was joined by senior economist David Dapice and Hla Hla Win, Ford Foundation Mason Student Fellow at the Ash Center and 2016 midcareer MPA candidate at HKS, for a discussion on Myanmar’s landmark November 2015 elections. Panelists discussed how opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung Sun Suu Kyi’s decisive victory at the polls has the potential to reshape Myanmar’s future but outstanding issues concerning rising ethnic tensions, China’s economic interests in the country, and the military’s role in governing Myanmar continue to loom.

Talk Back: 1984 Discussion Series Hosted by the A.R.T and the Ash Center February–March, 2016 The Ash Center continues its partnership with the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) to bring the insights and expertise of its faculty to help deepen and illuminate public discourse among nontraditional audiences off-campus. This winter we co-organized a series of four “Talk Back” discussions after performances of a new, intense stage adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984. In an interview-style format, faculty spoke with A.R.T. Artistic Programs Associate Robert Duffley on questions of surveillance, totalitarianism, and the role of technology in popular uprisings. About 100 audience members stayed after the performance for each Talk Back discussion. Our faculty discussed with the audience how these and other themes that Orwell explored in his novel—in which Big Brother uses surveillance, technology, and torture to control reality by dominating its citizens’ thoughts and memory—are still pertinent today. James Waldo, Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Computer Science and former chief technical officer of Harvard University, examined the intersection of cybersecurity and privacy today. Academic Dean Archon Fung discussed control and secrecy in the United States. Merilee Grindle, Edward S. Mason Professor of International Development and former director of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, addressed the retrieval of memory during an authoritarian period in Latin America. Finally, Ash Center Director Tony Saich reflected on new social media in China.

Tommy Vallely, the senior advisor for mainland Southeast Asia at the Ash Center, discusses Myanmar’s future

Will Renewables Renew Democracy? February 10, 2016 Renewable energies are at the epicenter of a green revolution heralded by innovative local governments in conjunction with parts of the corporate and technology sectors. Renewable energies not only represent an immense opportunity for both the Global North and South to cut emissions but they also have the potential to mobilize a wide range of actors interested in clean energy. This includes


Communiqué Spring 2016

Ash Center Director Tony Saich and Robert Duffley, A.R.T. Publications and Artistic Programs Associate, discussed new social media in China after a stage production of 1984


everyday citizens who want to pay less and consume wisely, businesses that anticipate the benefits of investing in expanding renewable energy markets, and cities dedicated to “smart government” initiatives creating innovative green solutions to carbon producing economic activities. Muriel Rouyer, Adjunct Professor of Public Policy, lead a panel discussion on these topics with practitioners from the public and private sectors who are dedicated to using green energy in innovative ways to address the urgent issue of climate change. Panelists included Karine Dognin-Sauze, Vice-President of Greater Lyon, who presented HIKARI, an innovative project on “positive energy building” developed jointly by France and Japan. Stephen Pike, Interim CEO of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, and Shaun Chapman, Vice President, Policy & Electric Markets at SolarCity, also joined the panel. The panel covered a number of important questions, including what renewable energy policies and practices already exist? Why have some been successful, while others have failed? Who are the primary actors of change? And what opportunities exist for citizens to participate in climate action? The Honorable Gerard Araud, French Ambassador to the United States, gave a special welcome and kicked off the event by discussing the recent 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference.

Gerard Araud, French Ambassador to the US, and Muriel Rouyer, Adjunct Professor of Public Policy, discuss renewable energy

Black Politics and Gun Violence February 17, 2016 In February, the Ash Center hosted a conversation entitled “Black Politics and Gun Violence,” as part of its Race and American Politics seminar series. Martha Biondi, chair of the Department of African American Studies at Northwestern University, spoke on black perspectives on gun control and gun violence since the late 1960s, exploring viewpoints from the era of black liberation to the age of crack, deindustrialization, structural unemployment, and escalating gun deaths. Biondi described how African American leaders, elected officials, clergy members, and journalists have been torn between supporting gun laws for racial self-defense and supporting gun restrictions as an anti-crime measure. Illustrating the scope and scale of the modern gun violence phenomenon, Biondi offered several sobering statistics including the fact that homicide is the leading cause of death for black men ages 15 to 34. “Guns are bound up with the history of racial oppression in the United States,” she said. “But so many discussions of gun culture and gun regulation ignore or marginalize race and racism.” Leah Wright Rigueur, assistant professor of public policy at Harvard Kennedy School, moderated the discussion. The event was cosponsored by the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy and the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research.

Leah Wright Rigueur, HKS Assistant Professor of Public Policy, and Martha Biondi, Chair of the Department of African American Studies at Northwestern University, discuss gun violence

Global Tax Policy Conference March 9–11, 2016 Following on the success of the inaugural conference in 2013, the Irish Tax Institute and the Ash Center joined together again to host the second Global Tax Policy Conference in Dublin Castle, Ireland in March. Titled “New Rules for a New Era,” the conference came at a critical juncture in the implementation of a new global tax framework and looked at the impact of new rules on countries and companies. Speakers included leading figures from the EU, the OECD, the US, the IMF, and treasury departments globally as well as international business organizations, universities, the tax profession, and multinationals. The conference was attended by policymakers, legislators, members of government, revenue authorities, finance ministries, and companies from over 30 countries. The Ash Center’s participation was led by Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy Jay Rosengard.

Jay Rosengard, Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy, speaks at the Global Tax Policy Conference

Spring 2016 Communiqué


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