We live in a world where traditional models of leadership are being questioned, and where issues that impact human well-being cross boundaries of nation, religion, race, ethnicity, gender, and class. The urgent nature of the challenges we face as a global community demand that institutions like Harvard Kennedy School think in fresh ways about what it means to teach principled, effective and values-based leadership.
At the Center for Public Leadership we are building a robust community of students, faculty, practitioners and staff dedicated to the public good in whatever sector leaders work. Through our graduate student fellowships, which give emerging leaders the chance to experience the rich resources of the Kennedy School without fear of undue financial burden, we offer students the opportunity to experience in real-life terms what it means to be a leader. The student experience remains core to CPL’s mission. And as we prepare them to lead in spaces requiring critical and sustained work—racial justice and climate and energy among them—we understand this requires so much more than classroom learning. At CPL our students have access to coaching from faculty and practitioners leading at all stages of their careers; learning grounded in experience—even in this remote world; and support to build the communication, self-awareness and cultural competency muscles essential for authentic leadership.
Outside the walls of the Kennedy School our faculty are translating theory into practice in innovative ways, equipping those working in communities around the world with the tools to build stronger, more democratic societies. Initiatives like our Social Innovation + Change Initiative and the William Monroe Trotter Collaborative for Social Justice are interrogating what it means to lead and serve with the goal of creating a more equitable and just world.
Even at this most unprecedented moment—and because of this moment—we are more ready than ever to step up to the daunting challenges of leading on the global stage. This is what we do. I invite you to join us in this vital work of reinvigorating public leadership.
Amb. Wendy R. Sherman
Director, Center for Public Leadership
Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School