Mission

Since its founding in 2000 with a generous gift from Leslie and Abigail Wexner, the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School has worked to prepare its students to exercise leadership in a world responding to a rapidly expanding array of economic, political, and social challenges.

One of the first centers of its kind in the United States, the Center for Public Leadership continues to set the standard as the preeminent training ground for young public leaders in the United States:


Utilizing a multi-pronged approach to leadership training that bridges rigorous academic preparation and the world of practice, the Center for Public Leadership pursues its mission in three distinct ways:

  • We identify, invest in, and support the rising generation's brightest stars through robust fellowships and cutting-edge leadership development programs.
  • We extend the frontiers of knowledge through research and scholarship on leadership, public service, and decision-making.
  • We convene the world’s preeminent scholars and advocates for public service across fields and disciplines for game-changing engagement with students and faculty.

Effective leadership requires more than hard skills.


At the cornerstone of every leader's development is the ability to understand personal strengths and weaknesses, to reflect on past challenges, and to understand more broadly the impact of behavior and decision-making. Our programming combines the tools of strategic and financial policy analysis—academic coursework of the first order—with self-understanding and communication tools that equip our students to handle the complexities of modern leadership.