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The Citizen

Gearing up for the Harvard Leadership Conference 2013

By Leila El-Khatib, MC-MPA ’13, Correspondent

March 9 will mark the third annual Harvard Leadership Conference.

This conference stands out from the other numerous student conferences as the only conference sponsored by the Harvard Graduate Council, the official student government for the twelve graduate and professional schools of Harvard University.

Harvard Leadership Conference, 2011

Harvard Leadership Conference, 2011

Leadership is a large part of the curriculum at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) and if that wasn’t enough of a

synergy to get you excited about this conference, the following surely will.

The first Harvard Leadership Conference, themed “Leading Together in Complex Times,” was developed by an HKS alumnus from the MPA Program. The inaugural event, sponsored by the Center for Public Leadership, was held at the Kennedy School. Former Prime Minister of Haiti,

Dr. Michèle Pierre-Louis, Rear Admiral Susan J. Blumenthal and US Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass) were keynote speakers. This conference was also the point of origin for the initiative to make more university-wide student groups official.

The conference has a unique format such that attendees have a chance to work on real life questions within the fields of the invited experts in a truly hands-on format. Working across countries and cultures, disciplines and differences, finding common ground, breaking barriers, and moving forward through collaborative and meaningful partnerships are the skills necessary and crucial in leadership.

Design Challenges in East African Cities studio session from the 2011 Harvard Leadership Conference, Photo Courtesy of Ben Gebo

Design Challenges in East African Cities studio session from the 2011 Harvard Leadership Conference, Photo Courtesy of Ben Gebo

The 2013 Harvard Leadership Conference: Collaboration Across Cultures, intends to be both a physical and virtual environmental space in which the Harvard Graduate community will be exposed to, and actively engage in, the foundations and practice of collaborative leadership skills. As in previous years, due to limited capacity and a desire to get equitable representation from each graduate school, participation from each

school is being capped based on the number of students each school has in proportion to the entire graduate student body.

This award-winning conference emphasizes three key areas: skills, studios and speakers. Rather than using traditional panels, the organizers have curated topical studio spaces that are active and dynamic. In these studio spaces, participants will engage in case studies, video documentaries, forum theater, musical performances, mock debates and active discussions with other students and current leadership from academia, industry, government and the social sectors.

This year’s conference will be held at Harvard’s beautiful Northwest Science Building. With an HKS Co-chair and four HKS students on the workshop planning committee, the 2013 Harvard Leadership conference still maintains its strong HKS connection.

Visit the Web site for more information