One of Harvard Kennedy School's greatest contributions to public service is its global network of more than 19,000 degree-program and 47,000 executive-education alumni. Working in 200-plus countries and territories, Kennedy School alumni are applying the skills they gained on campus with courage, creativity, and grit to create positive change for millions of people worldwide.
In celebration of Public Service Week at HKS and the 100th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's birth, we asked our alumni to share the many ways they serve. Submissions came from alumni working and serving all over the world.
Our alumni exercise their leadership from many sectors, including governmental, nonprofit, for-profit, and hybrid organizations, all with the goal of advancing the public interest. (Click markers for more information.)
"I've been a volunteer with UNICEF for the last seven years. I serve as President of UNICEF Madrid Committee in Spain and I'm also a board member of UNICEF Spanish Committee. UNICEF is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children's rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential. My responsibility is to guarantee UNICEF's vision and mission in the Madrid region."
"Quality journalism is arguably more important now than ever before in a world where information is traveling at a breakneck pace, the political climate is unpredictable, and the news cycle is constant. I give back by seeking the truth and trying to extract the real story from the spin.
HKS helped give me the tools to analyze and ask the right questions, so I can be infinitely better at my job."
"Since graduating from HKS, I have served as the 2008 Chief Operating Officer during Barack Obama's first run for President, and upon his election became a member of the White House leadership team with the appointment of Deputy Assistant to the President for Management and Administration. I have subsequently written a book published by Iowa University Press entitled, Campaign Inc.: How Leadership and Organization Propelled Barack Obama to the White House. I am the Global Chair for Framework Change at Ashoka Innovators for the Public, where I am co-leading a global movement to equip young people with the skills and capacities required to thrive in our world of dynamic, disruptive change."
"Since 2015, I've been running an information and action campaign--donera.info--with the goal of increasing life-saving volunteer donations of blood, stem cells, and organs. Unlike other initiatives, it's donor based (I have myself been a blood donor since 1994) and covers all three of the main donation types."
Ramkumar works at Voluntary Service Oversees (VSO), an independent international development organization that offers volunteers the chance to work abroad. In Nigeria she worked to rehabilitate schools for 200 pupils, build pit toilets, and negotiate with cassava farmers resulting in one ton of improved cassava. In Kenya, she worked with cattle farmers to improve milk yield, trained farmers in yogurt making and packaging, and built a new dairy bar.
"I created a scholarship for high schoolers to attend camp at The Theatre Lab in Washington, DC. Through it, students with financial need will gain training in creative thinking, self expression, and confidence in presentation. The scholarship is named for my class at HKS. It will bring awareness of the Kennedy School to a new generation of self motivated, talented young women and men who will shape the world, as we have."
Want to share your public service experience? Record a video or share on social using #HKSAlumni and #JFK100.