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The Citizen

Student-led treks create a buzz

By Citizen Staff

The student body at Harvard Kennedy School believes in creating opportunities for active engagement and knowledge sharing. Nowhere is this more evident than in the passion and zeal with which students plan and propose treks every year. This year is no different, with students already proposing 10 treks* that are scheduled to head out in the spring-summer of 2013. In this article, we provide the current logistical details of these treks as students chart out their summer programs.

Ireland trek: Tentatively scheduled for the spring break, participants of this week-long trek will visit key destinations in The Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and England. This is the first time that a trek to Ireland is being planned and it will happen only if there is sufficient interest. Items on the agenda include a visit to the President’s Office, policy meetings with some ministers and government officials, historical trips around Dublin, cultural events and relaxation and rejuvenation activities in a cottage in the west coast of Ireland. The application deadline will be in January 2013 (specific date to be decided). The trip is expected to cost $750 for the flight from Boston and an additional $750 for expenses within Ireland. Participation is capped at 25 students, exclusively from HKS with priority to MPP2 students.

Contact: James Walsh (

Colombia Trek: This nine-day trip to the cities of Cartagena, Medellín and Bogotá in Colombia will take place during March 15-24, 2013. The application deadline was November 20, 2012. The aim of the trip is to combine business and pleasure while witnessing firsthand the extraordinary changes that have taken place in Colombia. The group will meet business, social and government leaders at the center of this transformation. The trip is expected to cost $1,000 in flight expenses from Boston and an additional $1,600 for expenses in Colombia. The trip is open to non-HKS students as well and is open to the first 40 confirmed and paying participants.

Contact: Juliana Uribe (; Luis Araujo (

Palestinian women in traditional dress (Palestine Trek).

Palestinian women in traditional dress (Palestine Trek).

Palestine Trek: Another nine-day trek from March 16-24, 2012 that promises lots of fun, great food and memories to last a lifetime is the one to Palestine. Planned activities during the trip include cultural and religious tourism; meetings with politicians, private sector, civil society and grassroots activists; and gatherings with HKS alumni in the region. Although the trip will cost $1,200 for the flight from Boston and another $1,200 for the trip-related expenses in Palestine-Israel, the organizers hope to materialize funds through donations from the Palestinian private sector to subsidize in-country costs (based on past years’ experience). The application deadline is December 21, 2012 and applications will be reviewed by the Palestine Trek Committee. Openness and enthusiasm will be prioritized to shortlist 50 students (including non-HKS students) for the trek.

Contact: Hannah Schafer (

Israel trek2Israel trek: The trek from March 16, 2013 to March 23, 213 will visit Israel and Palestinian territories. Students will also visit ancient religious sites in the cradle of civilization, meet with senior government officials in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, hike in the desert, float in the Dead Sea, and meet with entrepreneurs building market- based transportation infrastructure that supports electric vehicles (and drive them!). Participation is capped at 55 and the trip is expected to cost $1,200 for the flight from Boston and $1,300 for in-country expenses.

Contact: Jessica Brandt (

Nepal trek: This two-week trek to the lofty mountains of Nepal is proposed for the summer of 2013, with the dates and costs to be finalized soon. The trek will take 15-20 students to the Annapurna Base camp. Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis and applicants are required to have the fitness to trek up to 4,500-5,000 meters.

Contact: Subhash Ghimire (

Japan 2012

Japan 2012

Japan trip: The trip to Japan is tentatively scheduled for March 16-23, 2013. The trip, which was organized in previous years as well, is open to 35 HKS students only on a first-come first-serve basis (application deadline will be in January 2013). Cost details have not been finalized. The destinations and activities planned for the trip include meeting high-level government officials and leading Japanese companies in Tokyo, observing the reconstruction efforts in the northeastern region (Tohoku area) devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in March 2011, meeting locals in the Fukushima Prefecture to see the settlement process post the nuclear power plan accidents and visiting historical and cultural sites to learn about Japan’s 2,000 year old history.

Contact: Izumi Matsumoto and Takaaki Sashida (

Korea trek: The trek to South Korea is scheduled for March 15-24, 2012. Expenditures involved will amount to approximately $1,500-2,000. A total of 40 applicants will be selected from HKS only, using a lottery system.  The application deadline is February 15, 2012. The agenda items include the JSA (Demilitarized zone) tour, Temple stay and visit to the President’s Office/National Assembly, World Trade Center (Coex), Jeju Island and UN headquarters. The objective is to meet top figures in public/private sector that have led the miraculous economic development of South Korea and learning from their experiences, as well as to have fun enjoying Korean culture.

Contact: Han Lee (

Imported to Detroit: This creatively-named trek within the United States to Detroit, Michigan is scheduled for summer of 2013 break (May 19-25, 2013). Offered for the first time, this trek will spend a week meeting with the most active and prolific “movers and shakers” throughout the city including government leaders, economics growth corporations, neighborhood leaders and organizers, business leaders (the ones moving thousands of employees into the city), city planning director, union leadership, education leaders (public, private and charter), small business owners and organizations, artistic innovators and healthcare leadership. In addition, some of the greatest restaurants and bars in the US (according to The New York Times) will be visited along with music, dance and parties. The trek is expected to cost $300 for the flight from Boston and $350 for the trip. It is open to 12 students including non-HKS students and involves a fair selection process. Those going on the trek will be required to participate in a few study groups to examine current issues, history and relevant materials in order to provide an adequate context and maximize the week’s experience.

Contact: Michael Clery (

North Korea trek: The proposed trek (May 20-27, 2012) will cost $2,000 for the flight from Boston and $2,000 for in-country activities. The trek is open to 25 students with priority given to HKS students. The application deadline is March 1, 2013.

Contact: Garrett Harkins (, Eunice Lim

Argentina trek: The trek to Argentina, which has been organized in earlier years too, will be March 16-24, 2013. Trek activities planned include a visit to Pink House (Government House), a trip to Glaciar el Calafate, Patagonia and enjoying tango, wine, and parties until sunshine. In addition, horse riding and watching a polo game are also on the agenda. Thirty students across and beyond HKS are expected to join the trek this year. The cost of the flight from Boston is $1,500, with an additional $2,500 required for in-country activities.

Contact: Mariana Filgueira Risso (

*All student trips are independent of Harvard, the shield, Harvard/HKS name, or any other Harvard/HKS trademark. The Kennedy School Student Government and HKS do not endorse or support any treks at HKS.