By Harvard Kennedy School

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Each week, Host Matt Cadwallader speaks with leading experts in public policy, media, and international affairs about their experiences confronting the world's most pressing public problems.

Episode Date
201 Predicting the Future Through Know-How
Professor Ricardo Hausmann, director of the Kennedy School’s Center for International Development, and Tim Cheston, a research fellow with the center’s Growth Lab, explain how they leveraged data from the Atlas of Economic Complexity to assess the knowhow of more than 130 countries and predict their economic growth over the next eight years.
May 30, 2018
200 Securing Elections Against Cyber Threats
Robby Mook, co-director of the Defending Digital Democracy Project, discusses the cyber security challenges faced by both political campaigns and election officials, and how they can be addressed.
May 23, 2018
199 How History Shapes Our Political Beliefs
HKS Professor Maya Sen, co-author of the new book “Deep Roots: How Slavery Still Shapes Southern Politics,” explains how she and her colleagues were able to pinpoint the extent to which slavery continues to affect political beliefs to this day.
May 16, 2018
198 Negotiating with the North: The Political Stakes
Lecturer John Park, director of the Kennedy School’s Korea Working Group, lays out the stakes for both North and South Korea, as well as China and the United States, as they enter into negotiations over denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
May 09, 2018
197 Negotiating with the North: Talks and Tactics
In the first part of an ongoing series on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, Dr. Gary Samore, the Belfer Center’s executive director for research, describes the history of North Korea’s nuclear weapons development and subsequent international efforts to dismantle it, including a landmark 1994 agreement which he helped negotiate. He details the negotiating tactics employed by North Korea in the past, expresses skepticism over the possibility of a complete denuclearization, and weighs in on the Trump Administration’s negotiating strategy.
May 02, 2018
196 Europe's Evolving Stance on Russia
Cathryn Clüver-Ashbrook, executive director of both the Future of Diplomacy Project and the Project on Trans-Atlantic and European Relations out of the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center, describes the changing nature of relations between Europe and Russia, providing historical context, examining contemporary factors such as the Syrian civil war and Russian election meddling, and describing how the new Project on Trans-Atlantic and European Relations, chaired by HKS Professor Nicholas Burns, seeks to find solutions to the emerging challenges.
Apr 18, 2018
195 Lin-Manuel Miranda: The Megaphone from the Diaspora
Hamilton Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda discusses his advocacy for Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, how he thinks about using his celebrity to effect change, and the falling barriers to minority representation in film and television.
Apr 11, 2018
194 Piketty’s Prescription for Wealth Inequality
Economist Thomas Piketty details the policies he believes will be key to overcoming the wealth inequality illustrated in his seminal 2013 book, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.” He also discusses the 2018 World Inequality Report, which builds on and updates the data sets first featured in “Capital,” except on a global scale thanks to the involvement of more than one hundred economists around the world. Piketty was on campus to deliver the Wiener Center’s inaugural Stone Lecture on Economic Inequality.
Apr 04, 2018
193 Data Dystopia: Online Ads and Elections
Shorenstein Fellow Dipayan Ghosh joins us again for part two of our extended interview on data privacy, digital advertising, and their effect on our democracies. In this episode, Ghosh moves beyond the Cambridge Analytica scandal to focus on publically available, data-driven advertising tools and how they can be leveraged by politicians and nefarious agents alike to manipulate voters.
Mar 28, 2018
192 Data Dystopia: Privacy and Regulation
As the Cambridge Analytica scandal continues to unfold, Joan Shorenstein Fellow Dipayan Ghosh, who recently left Facebook's Privacy and Public Policy team, joins us for a double-header on data privacy, digital advertising, and their effect on our democracies. In this episode, Ghosh walks through the myriad ways companies like Facebook and Google collect and leverage data to target users, increase engagement, and ultimately sell advertising. He then discusses the challenges inherent in any effort to regulate the industry.
Mar 28, 2018
191 The Equal Rights Amendment
Professor Jane Mansbridge explains why efforts to pass an Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution have failed in the past, but could now have a real shot at ratification.
Mar 21, 2018
190 How Cities are Thriving in a Populist Era
Bruce Katz explains what makes cities different from state and national governments, and why that difference has allowed them to thrive while populism and partisanship grip state and national governments. Using Boston, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and Copenhagen as examples, Katz illustrates how the unique network effects of cities lead to innovative solutions to public problems. Katz was on campus as a guest of both the Center for Public Leadership and Ash Center.
Mar 14, 2018
189 Bringing Economics to the People
Tufts Professor Michael Klein explains how he’s using Econofact.org to better inform the broader public about economics. The non-partisan publication features easily-digestible briefs on topical economic issues authored by a network of economists around the country, including HKS Professors David Deming, Jeffrey Frankel, and Mark Shepard.
Mar 07, 2018
188 New Orleans' Confederate Monuments
Mayor Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans, a Hauser Visiting Leader at the Center for Public Leadership, describes the years-long process involved with removing four confederate monuments in New Orleans, including statues of Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis.
Feb 28, 2018
187 Reinventing City Government
HKS Prof. Stephen Goldsmith describes how cities are poised to shed the strict bureaucracies of the 20th century in favor of a distributed governance model where the city acts as a platform and service providers can be evaluated by outcomes.
Feb 21, 2018
186 Is Social Media Good For Democracy?
Adam Conner, a spring 2018 fellow at the Institute of Politics, digs into the nuance behind the question many are asking about platforms like Facebook and Twitter, namely: are they good for democracy?
Feb 14, 2018
185 Turning a Personal Loss into Policy Action on Opioids
Admiral James “Sandy” Winnefeld, a non-resident senior fellow at the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center, knows firsthand the damage inflicted by the ongoing opioid crisis. After losing his son to addiction in late 2017, he has committed himself to finding solutions to the seemingly intractable public health dilemma. He discusses his recently-launched foundation Stop the Addiction Fatality Epidemic (SAFE) and the six strategies they are pursuing from awareness to prevention to treatment.
Feb 07, 2018
184 Lessons Learned as a Political Prisoner in Venezuela
Francisco Marquez Lara MPP 2012 describes his experience as a political prisoner in his home country of Venezuela. He describes what drove him to pursue his political advocacy despite the inherent risks, what his experience was like in captivity, what he learned from the ordeal, and what motivates him to continue his advocacy in exile. Marquez is the Executive Director of Vision Democratica Foundation and a fellow at the Ash Center’s Democracy in Hard Places Initiative.
Feb 01, 2018
183 Stop Calling It Fake News
The Shorenstein Center’s Claire Wardle and journalist Hossein Derakhshan explain how information disorder explain how information disorder has taken the world by storm, breaking down how it’s created, produced, and distributed, paying particular attention to the ways in which social media has exacerbated the problem, and making the case that the term F*** News isn’t just inaccurate, but actively harmful to democratic institutions.
Dec 20, 2017
182 The Mueller Investigation
HKS Lecturer Juliette Kayyem provides context to the endless stream of news regarding Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. In addition to giving a brief on what we now know, Kayyem also discusses the potential ramifications if President Trump were to attempt to fire Mueller in a move reminiscent of Nixon’s infamous Saturday Night Massacre.
Dec 13, 2017
181 Another Round on Tax Reform
With tax reform legislation now in conference committee having cleared both the U.S. House and Senate, HKS Professor Jason Furman returns with an update on where things stand.
Dec 07, 2017
180 A State Department in Crisis
HKS Professor Nicholas Burns sounds the alarm about what he sees as a deliberate attempt to dismantle the US State Department and Foreign Service.
Nov 29, 2017
179 Talking Politics over Turkey
HKS Senior Lecturer Jeff Seglin offers advice and strategies on how to handle conversations about politics with family and friends who you may not see eye to eye with. And as an added bonus, he shares his family recipe for turkey stuffing.
Nov 22, 2017
178 Kansas City’s Embrace of Innovation
Kansas City Mayor Sly James explains why city governments have become models for policy innovation and good governance while federal and state governments continue to be mired in partisan gridlock. He speaks to the value of data-driven decision making, as well as his experience enticing Google to pilot their high speed internet service in Kansas City, and the ongoing attempts to attract Amazon’s 2nd headquarters. James is a Fall 2017 Visiting Fellow at both the Institute of Politics and the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.
Nov 15, 2017
177 Exploring the Atlas of Economic Complexity
HKS Professor Ricardo Hausmann, the director of the Kennedy School’s Center for International Development, explains the concept of economic complexity and why it has become a reliable predictor of future economic growth. He also discusses the Atlas of Economic Complexity, an interactive website that could help entrepreneurs and policymakers see where a particular country’s economy is heading. This interview was originally recorded in 2013.
Nov 08, 2017
176 Reason for Doubt on Tax Reform
HKS Professor Jason Furman speaks with host Matt Cadwallader about the Trump administration’s tax reform proposal, expressing serious doubts about some of the claims made by the Council of Economic Advisors, a White House agency he previously presided over as chairman from 2013 to early 2017. Among the issues he digs into are simplifying the tax code; increasing the standard deduction for the middle class; how cutting the corporate tax would affect workers’ wages; repatriation of money held by foreign subsidiaries of US corporations; why it’s important that tax cuts be revenue neutral; and where he and House Speaker Paul Ryan would agree on tax reform.
Nov 01, 2017
175 CEO to Interior Secretary
Former US Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, currently a Fall 2017 Fellow at the Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics, recounts her experiences as a private sector executive and how they shaped her attitude towards environmental stewardship, and ultimately prepared her for her role in President Obama’s cabinet.
Oct 25, 2017
174 Stress: A Surgeon General's Warning
Former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and former Doctors for America CEO Alice Chen dive into the state of healthcare in the United States, from the Trump administration’s recent moves to end cost-sharing subsidies, to finding ways to cut costs by focusing efforts on prevention. They also discuss the oft-neglected impact of loneliness and stress on health. Dr. Chen and Vice Admiral Murthy were on campus as guests of the Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership.
Oct 18, 2017
173 Xi Jinping’s Dreams for China
Professor Tony Saich, director of the Kennedy School's Ash Center, lays out the challenges and tensions China faces just before the Communist Party gathers to choose its leadership at the 19th Party Congress, and how President Xi Jinping hopes to overcome them.
Oct 11, 2017
171 Neutering Net Neutrality
As Chairman of the FCC, Tom Wheeler reclassified broadband as a public utility to ensure that internet service providers would continue to treat all data equally. Now, his successor is trying to undo those efforts, and he’s not happy about it.
Sep 27, 2017
170 The Public Protector
As South Africa’s Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela investigated and exposed corruption at the highest levels of government. Now she’s a fellow at the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative and is sharing her experience and insights on what it takes to hold powerful public officials accountable.
Sep 20, 2017
169 Race and Hate
The bloody events that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia this summer shocked the national conscience, leaving many to wonder how such a thing could take place in modern America. In this week’s roundtable discussion, Professor Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Lecturer Robert Livingston, and IOP Fall 2017 Fellow Karen Finney put Charlottesville into a broader historical, psychological, and economic context.
Sep 13, 2017
168 North Korea's Strategy
Dr. John Park digs into the domestic and international forces driving North Korea’s recent nuclear provocations.
Sep 06, 2017
167 Ban Ki-moon on Global Leadership
For the last few months, former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has been working with students and faculty at HKS on the deeply complex problems he grappled with during his decade-long tenure as the world's top diplomat. In this episode, Ban discusses the experiences that drove him to pursue public service as a young man - including a high school encounter with John F. Kennedy; the skillset that sets effective world leaders apart; the oft-overlooked connection between climate change and an increase in violent conflict; his reaction to the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement; and his advice for young people who are eager to make the world better and more prosperous.   Ban is currently at HKS as an Angelopolous Global Public Leaders Fellow.
Jun 22, 2017
166 Where Economists Go Wrong
Prof. Dani Rodrik has never been shy about bucking conventional wisdom, and many of his insights, often deemed unorthodox at their inception, now seem prescient. Nowhere is that more clear than in his warning, twenty years ago, that unrestricted globalization could have a backlash effect, straining the fundamental ideals that support democratic governance. In this episode, Rodrik explains some of his more notable insights, and discusses his new book, which takes aim at both economists and their detractors, seeking a middle ground where academic rigor can be effectively applied in the real world.
Jun 07, 2017
165 The Clean Power Plan
Former EPA Chief Gina McCarthy explains how she was able to get utility companies, the largest source of carbon emissions in the United States, on board with regulations to fight global climate change. The resulting Clean Power Plan has helped bring emissions from US electricity production to their lowest level since 1993. She also discusses the EPA’s future under Scott Pruitt, her successor in the Trump administration, and the risks of disregarding science as a means for formulating policy.
May 24, 2017
164 The Causes and Consequences of Inequality
HKS and HGSE Professor David Deming delves into the complicated causes and consequences of inequality, discusses why jobs lost from traditional sectors like manufacturing aren’t likely to return, and explains his belief in education as an important piece of the solution.
May 17, 2017
163 Diversity in the Newsroom
Farai Chideya has covered every presidential election since 1996, but after last year’s raucous campaign, she wondered how how political campaign coverage is influenced by the gender and racial makeup of our political press. This spring she joined the Shorenstein Center as a Joan Shorenstein Fellow to take a closer look at the question, but was surprised by the number of newsrooms that were deeply reluctant to engage on the subject.
May 10, 2017
162 The French Presidential Election
After a series of upset victories for right-wing populist movements around the globe, the French presidential election has been subject to close international scrutiny. But the narratives that animate that scrutiny often reflect international uncertainty over the stability of the post-war liberal world order, rather than the complicated politics that have driven France over the last few years. As Tip O’Neill famously said, all politics is local. In this episode, our three experts discuss the shifting political landscape in France and Europe, and give context to anyone watching from abroad. The roundtable features HKS Adjunct Professor Muriel Rouyer, Ash Center Senior Visiting Fellow Yves Sintomer, and Future of Diplomacy Project Executive Director Cathryn Cluver.
May 03, 2017
161 Confirming Gorsuch
Former New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, a visiting fellow at both the Kennedy School's Belfer Center and Institute of Politics, takes us behind the scenes of Justice Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, reflects on the value of the U.S. Senate and its infamous filibuster, and discusses the challenges facing Republicans as they try to turn their control of Congress and the White House into meaningful legislative victories.
Apr 24, 2017
160 How Narrative Drives Movements
Senior Lecturer Marshall Ganz describes the essential role of storytelling in leadership and organizing. He explains how skilled campaigners leverage the public narrative to their advantage by appealing first to the heart, and then the mind, and cites recent examples from both sides of the aisle.
Apr 14, 2017
159 Geo-Engineering a Cooler Climate
HKS Professor David Keith describes both the promise and peril involved with using geo-engineering to mitigate the effects of climate change. Solar radiation management (SRM) could conceivably cool the earth by placing particles in the upper atmosphere that reflect sunlight away. It's an idea that goes back as far as the Johnson administration, but has long been seen as too risky to be worth serious study. But Professor Keith says that's now changing. The study of SRM evokes a tremendous number of questions - scientific, moral, and even psychological - all of which we touch on in this episode.
Apr 04, 2017
158 Public Diplomacy and the Post-Truth World
Former Time Managing Editor Rick Stengel, who recently stepped down as U.S. Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, emphasizes the value of the State Department’s public diplomacy efforts, despite signs that the Trump Administration could soon curtail them. He also discusses how journalism needs to adapt to a crowded marketplace of ideas where facts aren't always regarded as necessary. Stengel is currently the Walter Shorenstein Media and Democracy Fellow at the Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center.
Mar 22, 2017
157 Behind the White House Podium
Josh Earnest, former White House Press Secretary during the Obama administration, offers his assessment of the Trump administration’s handling of the press, and gives a behind the scenes look at several key moments in Obama’s second term, including when ISIS overtook the Iraqi city of Mosul, the accidental killing of an American hostage in a US counterterrorism operation, and Hillary Clinton’s surprise loss on election night in 2016. Earnest was on campus for a JFK Jr. Forum event cosponsored by the Center for Public Leadership.
Mar 15, 2017
156 Turning the Women’s March into a Women's Movement
How do you turn protest into policy? Three HKS experts discuss the aftermath of the historic Women’s March on Washington this past January, and explain what needs to happen next in order to translate that activism into real policy changes. Featuring HKS Assistant Professor Leah Wright Rigueur, Women and Public Policy Program Executive Director Victoria Budson, and HKS Adjunct Lecturer Tim McCarthy.
Mar 08, 2017
155 Presidential Secrecy
Mary Graham, Co-Director of the Transparency Policy Project at the Kennedy School’s Ash Center, discusses her book Presidents’ Secrets: The Use and Abuse of Hidden Power, which traces the evolution of secrecy in the executive branch, beginning with George Washington’s remarkably open administration, through the communist scares of the 20th century, all the way to the current president, Donald Trump.
Mar 02, 2017
154 The Failures of the Travel Ban
Gil Kerlikowske, the recently retired commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and current Institute of Politics fellow, discusses the breakdowns in the rollout of the Trump administration’s executive order limiting travel by citizens of seven Middle Eastern nations into the United States. Kerlikowske details the complexity involved in implementing a major policy across the country’s largest law enforcement agency, and how a lack of planning and communication ended up creating chaos after the executive order was signed.
Feb 15, 2017
153 Steering Clear of Nuclear Fears
HKS Professor Matthew Bunn, co-principal investigator for the Belfer Center’s Project on Managing the Atom, explains how the US nuclear arsenal is managed, what the outgoing Obama administration’s $1 trillion commitment to modernization will entail, and what, if any, changes can be expected under President Trump. He also discusses the state of non-proliferation and the greatest nuclear threats the world faces today.
Feb 13, 2017
152 Reason for Hope
HKS Professor Kathryn Sikkink shows how human rights efforts over the last century have largely succeeded in improving the living conditions for the vast majority of the world, and that even though the work is far from over and setbacks are inevitable, there is reason to have hope for things to continue to improve.
Feb 01, 2017
151 Donald Trump and Leadership
Three faculty members discuss the history of presidential leadership, how Donald Trump’s business experience will translate to the federal government, and how his relationship with a republican congress could play out. Guests include Senior Lecturer David King, chair of the Kennedy School’s Masters of Public Administration programs, Lecturer Barbara Kellerman, Founding Executive Director of the School’s Center for Public Leadership, and Professor Roger Porter, who served for more than a decade in senior economic policy positions in the White House.
Jan 18, 2017
150 Donald Trump and the Economy
Three HKS faculty members discuss the broad economic challenges facing President Donald Trump as he takes office, including the cumulative effects of decades of wage stagnation, rising healthcare costs, and declining economic mobility, as well as the growing challenges posed by automation and the gig economy. Featuring Dean Douglas Elmendorf, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, Professor Brigitte Madrian, a behavioral economist focused on household savings and investment behavior, and Professor David Ellwood, director of the Wiener Center for Social Policy, where he is currently focused on inequality and mobility. This is the second in a three-part series of roundtable discussions, produced in collaboration with HKS Magazine, on the challenges facing President-elect Trump in foreign policy, economics, and leadership.
Jan 11, 2017
149 Donald Trump and Foreign Policy
As Donald Trump prepares to take office, three HKS faculty members discuss the challenges he’ll face in pursuing his unique brand of politics on the world stage. Featuring former US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, former Department of Homeland Security Official Juliette Kayyem and Foreign Policy Columnist Stephen Walt.
Jan 04, 2017
The Challenges Faced by Human Rights Organizations
Sushma Raman, executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights and adjunct lecturer at Harvard Kennedy School, digs into the challenges facing human rights organizations on both the international and local levels and how they are rising up to meet the challenge.
Dec 21, 2016
How Technology Governs Us
HKS Professor Sheila Jasanoff urges us to closely consider the ways technologies have come to govern our lives, and question if unbridled technological innovation is inherently a good thing, or if it’s worth taking a step back before we make the next giant leap.
Dec 14, 2016
The Very Model of a Modern Surgeon General
US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy discusses the challenges posed by the growing crisis of opioid addiction in the United States, how to combat the over-prescription of painkillers, and the importance of eliminating the stigma that often surrounds addiction. He also discusses how his advocacy on public health issues will continue during the Trump administration. Murthy was on campus thanks to the Center for Public Leadership, the Wiener Center, and the HKS Healthcare Policy Program to deliver the Seymour E. and Ruth B. Harris Lecture at the JFK Jr. Forum.
Dec 07, 2016
Peace Through Pragmatism
Nancy Lindborg, President of the U.S. Institute of Peace, discusses the development of practical tools that empower communities around the world to avoid violent conflict before it starts, and de-escalate where violence has already erupted.
Nov 30, 2016
Let's Talk Turkey
Dr. Amanda Sloat, former US State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for Southern Europe and Eastern Mediterranean Affairs, explains the situation in Turkey, just a few months removed from a military coup attempt, as it grapples with stark internal political divisions, violent conflicts in neighboring Syria and Iraq, an influx of millions of refugees and increasingly tense alliances with the United States and European Union.
Nov 23, 2016
Veterans in the United States
Chuck Hagel, former US secretary of defense, discusses what motivated him to pursue military and public service, and examines how military service is regarded in modern American society. Secretary Hagel is at the Kennedy School as a joint visiting fellow at the Institute of Politics and Belfer Center.
Nov 16, 2016
The Pain is Real: The Emotional Toll of Losing an Election
HKS Associate Professor Todd Rogers demonstrates the drastic emotional impact electoral wins and losses have on political partisans, influencing their overall happiness even more than national tragedies. He also discusses our tendency to believe in a favorable future and introduces the concept of paltering, which describes the active use of truthful statements to mislead.
Nov 09, 2016
Can US Elections Be Rigged?
HKS Professor Alex Keyssar offers an historical perspective to modern worries about rigged elections and weighs the prevention of voter fraud against the risk of voter suppression.
Nov 02, 2016
Interconnected Challenges in Latin America
Peter Quilter, a non-resident fellow at the Kennedy School’s Ash Center, details the internal state of affairs in Colombia, Venezuela, and Cuba, revealing that despite the unique nature of each country’s problems, their futures are all interconnected.
Oct 26, 2016
Race in America: Looking to the Past to Understand the Present
HKS Professor Khalil Gibran Muhammad makes the case that modern hot-button issues surrounding race, policing and mass incarceration are fundamentally rooted in a widespread failure to educate Americans about their country’s racial history.
Oct 19, 2016
2016 Nobelist on Pursuing Peace in Colombia
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, recipient of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, discusses his desire to pursue peace despite the concessions it might entail in a 2013 interview on PolicyCast. Santos had been on campus to deliver an address at the JFK Jr. Forum, sponsored by the Institute of Politics.
Oct 12, 2016
Telling the True Story of Human Trafficking
HKS Lecturer Siddharth Kara of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy explains how his research into the tens of millions of girls around the world who have been forced into sexual slavery led him to Hollywood, where he wrote and produced the new feature film “Trafficked.” The film, based on true stories, follows three enslaved teens who end up in a Texas brothel after being trafficked across the globe.
Oct 05, 2016
Female Journalists in the Middle East
Iranian journalist Yeganeh Rezaian, a Fall 2016 Joan Shorenstein Fellow at the Shorenstein Center, discusses the challenges she faced as a reporter in her home country, and describes the common thread that joins her experience with that of journalists, especially women, across the Middle East. She then offers advice to young reporters interested in reporting from the region.
Sep 28, 2016
How the Press Covers the Election
HKS Professor Thomas Patterson, author of an ongoing series of reports out of the Shorenstein Center on the media's coverage of the 2016 election cycle, discusses what he sees as troubling consequences of how the press approaches reporting on the campaign.
Sep 21, 2016
Madeleine Albright on Immigration, the Refugee Crisis, and Youth Activism
Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright encourages young activists to join established systems in order to learn how to drive change from within; discusses the emerging relevance of non-state actors in the international system; offers her take on a proposed wall along the US/Mexico border; and expresses her hope that Americans will welcome in more Syrian refugees.
Jun 01, 2016
Homeland Security’s Goldilocks Problem
HKS Lecturer Juliette Kayyem, a national security expert and author of “Security Mom,” digs into the “Goldilocks” problem of security in the United States, analyzing whether the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) is worth the cost and hassle to air travellers; providing historical context to US approaches to safety and security; and explaining why national security is shaping up to become the central theme in the 2016 presidential general election, and what that means for the candidates.
May 25, 2016
The Air Force of the Future
US Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James discusses the return of the Air Force's Reserve Officer Training Corps to Harvard; how remotely piloted drones have affected the United States' modern approach to warfare; whether serious issues regarding the command and control of US nuclear weapons have been adequately addressed; why the modernization of the nuclear arsenal is worth the $1 trillion it is expected to cost; and how the Air Force can foster more diversity in its ranks.
May 18, 2016
Leadership in Diplomacy
Ambassador Kristie Kenney, counselor of the US State Department, gives her perspective on leadership in diplomacy, drawing on her experience as US ambassador to Ecuador, Thailand and the Philippines. She discusses what traits are most important, how she assembles her staff, why she became an avid social media user, and how technology will continue to change how the diplomatic corps operates.
May 11, 2016
One Billion Preventable Deaths
Dr. Howard Koh, former Assistant Secretary for Health at the US Department of Health and Human Services and professor at both the Harvard Chan School of Public Health and the Kennedy School, counters the popular perception that the fight against tobacco has been won, stressing that every day in the United States, thousands more teenagers pick up the habit. He discusses the new frontier opened up by e-cigarettes, recent efforts across the country to raise the smoking age to 21, and new regulations that have banned smokeless tobacco in several major league baseball stadiums.
May 04, 2016
Billionaires and their Newspapers
Northeastern Professor Dan Kennedy, a spring 2016 Joan Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center, describes the fates of three newspapers, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe and the Orange County Register, that were bought in recent years by individuals with significant financial means but little background in journalism. He explains the differing approaches each paper has taken to find a sustainable business model, discusses how the models have impacted the quality of reporting, and interprets what other news organizations might learn from their examples.
Apr 27, 2016
Bridging the Chinese American Cultural Gap
Ambassador Gary Locke, the first Chinese-American to serve as US ambassador to China, reflects on how his personal and family history influenced his approach to diplomacy, both with China and with his own constituents.
Apr 20, 2016
Trumped Up Media Coverage
Jill Abramson, former executive editor of the New York Times and current Harvard lecturer, discusses media coverage of both sides of the 2016 presidential campaign, relating her experiences reporting on presidential races since 1976.
Apr 13, 2016
Does All Reporting on Sexual Violence Influence Culture in a Positive Way?
BBC Reporter Joanna Jolly, currently a Joan Shorenstein Fellow at the Shorenstein Center, discusses her research into the aftermath of the infamous Delhi gang rape in 2012. She describes the various ways in which news outlets covered the story and how they influenced the Indian society’s response. *Warning: this episode includes graphic language and violent subjects.*
Apr 06, 2016
Sustainability or Prosperity? Why Not Both?
HKS Professor Bill Clark describes the rapidly growing field of sustainability science, which combines a variety of disciplines in both the hard and social sciences to find paths towards a sustainable future.
Mar 30, 2016
How “Pay for Success” Allows Governments to Experiment Without Risk
HKS Professor Jeffrey Liebman, Director of the Kennedy School’s Government Performance Lab, explains how Pay For Success, also known as Social Impact Bonds, allow governments to test out new social programs without risking taxpayer funds if they fail.
Mar 23, 2016
Balancing Cyber Security
Michael Sulmeyer, Director of the Belfer Center’s Cyber Security Project, discusses the US government’s efforts to defend against cyber threats in the context of the legal battle between the FBI and Apple over its encryption methods.
Mar 16, 2016
A Primer on the Trans-Pacific Partnership
HKS Professor Robert Lawrence explains what the Trans-Pacific Partnership is, how it could transform the global economy, what makes it controversial, and why its ratification has sparked a heated political discussion within both parties.
Mar 09, 2016
Changing Your Environment to Overcome Your Biased Mind
HKS Professor Iris Bohnet, Director of the Women and Public Policy Program at HKS, discusses some of the lessons in her new book, “What Works: Gender Equality By Design.” Through both academic studies and anecdotes, she explains how gender equality is often prevented by unconscious biases that can’t be unlearned, but that can be diminished significantly by even small changes in the way we do things. She also details the business case for gender equality, which isn’t as straightforward as you might think.
Mar 02, 2016
What Do You Do When War Comes to Town?
Vera Mironova, a research fellow at the Belfer Center’s International Security Program and the Woman and Public Policy Program, explains the cascading series of choices people face when war descends on their communities. Her surveys of frontline fighters in Syria and Ukraine help paint a picture of not just why they choose to fight, but also whom they fight for.
Feb 24, 2016
Is Art a Call to Action, or a Distraction?
Eve Ensler, the Tony Award-winning author of the Vagina Monologues and a veteran activist, explains how she believes art is always political, and it’s incumbent on everyone to recognize this and stand for causes they support. She discusses her efforts to create and rally the V-Day and One Billion Rising movements, which seek to improve the lives of women around the world. Ensler was on campus for the 2015 Gleitsman International Activist Award ceremony, put on by the Center for Public Leadership.
Feb 17, 2016
Is Punishment the Only Response to Violence and Poverty?
HKS Professor Bruce Western, Chair of the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management, explains how the prison population in the United States has quintupled since the 1970s and advocates for changes to the penal code to better deal with deep-rooted social problems.
Feb 10, 2016
1,000 Hits to the Head: Is Football a Public Health Issue?
Chris Nowinski of the Concussion Legacy Foundation makes the case that head trauma in contact sports, and football in particular, is a serious public health issue that requires action by policymakers and parents alike.
Feb 03, 2016
Edward Snowden: Hero or Traitor?
HKS Lecturer Chris Robichaud takes us through a new case study (coauthored with Laura Winig) exploring the question of whether NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was justified in leaking classified materials exposing the breadth of the US government’s surveillance activities. Originally published in May 2014.
Jan 27, 2016
Is Transparency Bad for Politics?
Professor Michael Ignatieff of the Shorenstein Center for Media, Politics and Public Policy makes the case that increased transparency in government makes it harder for politicians to find compromise by relating his experience as the leader of the opposition in the Canadian Parliament. He also laments the tendency to argue over the standing of those who make arguments on various issues, as opposed to the substance of the issues themselves. This episode originally published in December 2014.
Jan 20, 2016
Somalia’s First Female President?
HKS Alumna Fadumo Dayib recounts her story growing up as a Somali refugee and explains how her life’s experience has pushed her to mount a 2016 run for president in her homeland. This episode originally posted in March 2015.
Jan 13, 2016
Ensuring Electoral Integrity around the Globe
HKS Lecturer Pippa Norris discusses her work on the Electoral Integrity Project, which assesses the veracity of elections around the globe and gives policy recommendations on how to ensure free and fair voting. This episode was originally published on December 3, 2014.
Jan 06, 2016
The Criminal Injustice System
HKS Alumnus Bryan Stevenson spent his career working to address issues of racial and wealth inequality in the United States’ justice system. He believes this inequality stems from a failure of the nation to reconcile its dark history with regard to slavery and Jim Crow. His work as Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative focuses on defending those without the means to properly defend themselves. This episode was originally published on November 19, 2014.
Dec 29, 2015
A Nuanced Approach to Leaning In
Senior Lecturer Hannah Riley Bowles explains her research on gender in negotiations and offers advice to women trying to negotiate higher pay. She also discusses the importance of open information and why the Obama administration’s moves to address the gender wage gap are a positive development. PolicyCast is on winter hiatus and will be back with new episodes in February. This episode was originally published on April 16, 2014.
Dec 22, 2015
Public Affairs as Part of the Mix, or Icing on the Cake?
Brent Colburn, a Fall 2015 Fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics, discusses the differences between campaigning and governing, drawing on his experiences at both the US Department of Defense and on President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign to compare and contrast. He goes on to explain how the Department of Defense integrates public affairs into its decision making, how government agencies can adopt some of the more entrepreneurial aspects of campaigns, and how agencies can change to attract the talent required to tackle challenges like cyber threats.
Dec 16, 2015
VOA: Exporting the First Amendment
David Ensor, former director of Voice of America and current Fall 2015 Joan Shorenstein Fellow at the Shorenstein Center, explains why Voice Of America is a key instrument in the projection of US soft power and how the organization’s commitment to objective journalism, as opposed to being an advocate for US policies, is vital to its success.
Dec 09, 2015
Finding Agreement on Climate Policy in Paris
Professor Robert Stavins, Director of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements out of the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center, explains why the COP21 in Paris is a critical step in addressing anthropogenic global climate change. He discusses the history of past climate summits and lays out both his markers for success and potential impediments to a deal. More from Professor Stavins and other Kennedy School scholars can be found at http://hkscop21paris.tumblr.com.
Dec 02, 2015
The Cuba Moment
Marie Sanz, former bureau chief for the AFP in Lima, Peru and a Fall 2015 Joan Shorenstein fellow at the Shorenstein Center, describes how the announcement of normalized relations between the US and Cuba took the world – and the press, in particular – by surprise. She explains how talks between the two countries unfolded with help from Pope Francis, and discusses both the possibilities and obstacles ahead, especially regarding free speech and human rights issues.
Nov 25, 2015
Compassion or Caution? The Migrant Crisis After Paris
Professor Jacqueline Bhabha, Research Director at the Harvard FXB Center for Health & Human Rights, discusses the ongoing migrant crisis in Europe and how the recent terrorist attacks in Paris might reshape policy regarding the resettlement of Syrian refugees in both Europe and the United States.
Nov 18, 2015
The Smartest Time on TV
Bob Schieffer, former host of CBS News’s Face the Nation and current Walter Shorenstein Media and Democracy Fellow at the Shorenstein Center, explains the enduring popularity of the Sunday morning political talk show, offers his take on what he calls “the most different” presidential campaign in his long memory, and recounts some of his favorite stories from the campaign trail.
Nov 11, 2015
The Development of Agency
HKS Adjunct Lecturer Ronald Ferguson emphasizes the importance of looking beyond standardized test results and measuring students’ sense of agency - the belief that they have the capacity to succeed - in order to address lingering achievement gaps.
Nov 04, 2015
The Power of Protests, Propaganda and Religion
HKS Associate Professor David Yanagizawa-Drott’s quantitative analysis of three seemingly disparate topics shows the power of protests to change policy, the power of propaganda to induce violence and the power of religion to create happiness despite reducing GDP. You can read more on Professor Yanagizawa-Drott’s research on the HKS Faculty Research Connection website: https://research.hks.harvard.edu/publications/faculty_name.aspx?PersonId=256
Oct 28, 2015
From Selma to Harvard: Supporting the notion of public service
Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust discusses what drew her to the study of history; her role as a student activist in the civil rights movement in Selma; how her experience as an activist shapes her leadership now; her advice to young people who are trying to balance public service and career goals; and how universities can help students make those choices.
Oct 21, 2015
How the UN set the standard for human rights in the corporate world
HKS Professor John Ruggie, who has twice served in senior roles at the United Nations, describes how the UN was able to leverage its convening power to create an unprecedented set of "Guiding Principles" for corporate responsibility on human rights issues. He also speaks to the growing role international sporting organizations like FIFA and the Olympics will need to play in bolstering human rights.
Oct 14, 2015
Don't Panic: China's Just Switching Gears
Peiran Wei, a 2015 China and Globalization Fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and former Bloomberg reporter, describes his country as "switching gears" – in its economy, its politics, and its culture. Wei discusses attitudes towards the rising billionaire class in China, the impact of China’s capital outflow around the globe, and the importance of social stability to the Communist Party.
Oct 07, 2015
Why Hasn't Homeownership Recovered?
Christopher Herbert, managing director of Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, explains whether there’s reason for concern about the state of the US housing market, which has been beset by falling homeownership rates, rising rents, stalling incomes and demographic shifts that threaten to exacerbate trends towards inequality. If you’d like to learn more, you can read the 2015 State of the Nation’s Housing Report at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies website.
Sep 30, 2015
How to Fix a Sovereign Debt Crisis
HKS Professor Carmen Reinhart details the lessons we can learn from two centuries of data on how countries have historically dealt with debt problems. She discusses the long menu of debt relief options that are often overlooked, criticizes the disparity between how debt problems are addressed in emerging markets and advanced economies, and applies her findings to the situations in Greece and Puerto Rico.
Sep 23, 2015
America: The Next Great Emerging Market?
Retired US Army Gen. David Petraeus, a non-resident senior fellow at the Belfer Center, explains why he believes a combination of four technological revolutions will lead to a renewed era of American power. Not just for the United States, but for Canada and Mexico, too. He details the steps he believes the United States must take to take advantage of its position at the head of each technological advancement.  Gen. Petraeus also offers his perspective on the aftermath of the Iran nuclear deal, whether the United States can work with Iran regarding ISIS and the Syrian civil war, why the US should be wary of Iran’s increasingly cozy relationship with Russia, and how US strategy needs to adapt in the fight against ISIS. You can read the general’s report, co-authored with Paras D. Bhayani, titled “The Next Great Emerging Market? Capitalizing on North America’s Four Interlocking Revolutions” on the Belfer Center’s website: http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/files/The%20Next%20Great%20Emerging%20Market%20FINAL.pdf Hear the interview mentioned in the show’s intro featuring Prof. Joseph Nye: https://soundcloud.com/harvard/joe-nye-on-presidential?in=harvard/sets/policycast
Sep 16, 2015
The Iran Nuclear Accord: What Happens Next?
Gary Samore, President Obama’s former principal advisor on arms control and nuclear proliferation who currently serves as the Director for Research at the Belfer Center, gives his take on the agreement struck between Iran and a group of world powers referred to as the P5+1 to restrict and monitor Iran’s nuclear research and development program. He explains why he supports the pact, what concessions he’s most worried about, why he doesn’t believe Iran will be able to cheat, why Iran’s enhanced economic power won’t destabilize the region, and why United States allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia should have less reason to worry. You can read more about the nuclear agreement in “The Iran Nuclear Deal: A Definitive Guide [PDF],” published by the Belfer Center and edited by Dr. Samore.
Sep 09, 2015
Better Policy Through A.R.T.
Tony Award-winning director Diane Paulus, Artistic Director of the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) and professor of the practice of theatre at Harvard, explains why the arts are critical to the shaping of public policy. Paulus offers examples of how artistic works have engaged audiences to pursue change, and explores the responsibility artists have to account for the results of their works.
May 27, 2015
A Wholesale and Retail Approach to Digital Government
Nick Sinai, formerly a U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer at the White House and currently a Walter Shorenstein Media and Democracy fellow at the Shorenstein Center, describes in detail the effort the Obama administration has put into modernizing the federal government’s digital services, both by opening up data to public and private groups, as well as to individual citizens by creating comprehensive online portals to access government services.
May 20, 2015
Tunisia and the Arab Spring
Former Tunisian Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa and the Middle East Institute’s Dr. Paul Salem discuss Tunisia’s relative success in establishing a stable democracy in the wake of the Arab Spring. Jomaa, who recently delivered an address at the JFK Jr. Forum, and Salem, who lead a seminar at the Belfer Center’s Middle East Initiative, go into detail about how Tunisia’s strong national identity, existing civil service society and commitment to a secular government have set it apart.
May 13, 2015
Cursed with Clarity
Former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a spring 2015 fellow at the Institute of Politics, recounts how she became interested in a career in politics and speaks about issues of sexism and LGBT rights both in New York and across the United States.
May 06, 2015
Why Afghanistan Still Matters
Former NPR Kabul Correspondent and HKS alumnus Sean Carberry, here at HKS to lead a seminar at the Belfer Center's Future of Diplomacy Project as part of its South Asia Week, lays out the political situation in Afghanistan months after the official end of the war. He explains why Americans should still care about Afghanistan's stability, what difficulties the country’s new President Ashraf Ghani has encountered, and whether the conflict between the Taliban and ISIS could be a good thing for American interests.
Apr 29, 2015
How Presidential Campaigns Influence Governance
Republican strategist Matt Lira, a spring 2015 fellow at the Institute of Politics, discusses the early days of a presidential campaign, the importance of primaries, how campaign management eventually influences governance and what technologies will likely emerge as critical to 2016.
Apr 22, 2015
Cracks in the Glass Ceiling: Lessons From Finland's Former President
Former Finnish President Tarja Halonen, currently in residence at the Kennedy School as an Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow, recounts the challenges she faced as a woman ascending the Finnish ranks of power. She also explains some of the factors behind Finland’s consistently high rankings in many quality of life metrics.
Apr 15, 2015
Taking Down DOMA
Former Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, a spring 2015 fellow at the Institute of Politics, recounts the legal journey that ultimately led to the US Supreme Court’s 2013 decision to strike down a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act - a major victory for the LGBT rights movement.
Apr 08, 2015
A Political Crossroads in Indonesia
HKS Adjunct Lecturer Jay Rosengard, faculty chair of the Ash Center’s HKS Indonesia Program, breaks down the political climate in Indonesia, just months after the election of a new, potentially transformational president. He explains how Indonesia’s still-young democracy will be put to the test as the new president seeks to work with a parliament controlled by the opposition.
Apr 01, 2015
Behind the Steady Recovery in Cyprus
Cyprus’ Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Yiorgos Lakkotrypis describes his country’s slow emergence from a deep economic recession following a 2013 EU bail-in that came with significant austerity measures attached. He points out bright spots in the country’s traditional industries as well as the promise of building a new energy industry through offshore gas exploration. He also speaks about negotiations with Turkey over reunification of the island of Cyprus and how Turkish exploration has, at least temporarily, scuttled progress in those talks.
Mar 25, 2015
Somalia’s First Female President?
HKS Mid-Career MPA Mason Fellow Fadumo Dayib recounts her story growing up as a Somali refugee and explains how her life’s experience has pushed her to mount a 2016 run for president in her homeland.
Mar 18, 2015
The End of the American Dream?
HKS Professor Robert Putnam explains how the United States has become a class-segregated society with a growing stratification between the educated and uneducated. He describes how upward mobility has nearly vanished over the last few decades and what can be done to turn things around.
Mar 11, 2015
Startup Government
Aneesh Chopra, a Walter Shorenstein Media and Democracy Fellow at the Shorenstein Center who served as the United States' first Chief Technology Officer, describes how the federal government, historically a leader in new technologies, fell behind in embracing innovation. He details the challenges government agencies have historically faced and how a combination of new policies and tech-savvy leadership have the potential to set things back on course.
Mar 04, 2015
How Partisan is the US Judiciary?
HKS Assistant Professor Maya Sen describes new research breaking down political leanings within the United States judiciary. The analyses exposes a partisan divide between lawyers and judges and finds a link between certain political leanings and specific law schools.
Feb 25, 2015
An Ethical Perspective on the Brian Williams Scandal
HKS Lecturer Jeffrey Seglin of the Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy discusses the ethical hot water Brian Williams has recently found himself in. He breaks down the reputational harm that has been done to both Williams and NBC, the steps NBC needs to take to restore its viewers’ faith and whether journalism and celebrity can coexist effectively.
Feb 18, 2015
The Other Effects of Torture
HKS Lecturer Doug Johnson, Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, goes beyond the debate over the efficacy of torture to look at the consequences of its use in legal, military and international relations contexts.
Feb 11, 2015
Big Data; Better Cities
HKS Professor Stephen Goldsmith, Director of the Data-Smart City Solutions Project at the Kennedy School’s Ash Center, describes how city and state governments can improve service to citizens by harnessing new technologies.
Feb 04, 2015
Measuring Human Ability
Ron Suskind’s world was shaken when his son Owen was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. Now, more than 20 years later, his experience has helped kick off new research into how we as a society can better integrate those with developmental disabilities. In this episode, Ron advocates for the establishment of new benchmarks for human ability and achievement and explains how policy can help or hinder that effort.
Jan 28, 2015
Designing Smarter Policy
HKS Professor Asim Khwaja, Co-Director of the Evidence for Policy Design program, explains the benefits of bringing academics into the field to develop policy in collaboration with practitioners.
Dec 17, 2014
Is Transparency Bad for Politics?
Professor Michael Ignatieff of the Shorenstein Center for Media, Politics and Public Policy makes the case that increased transparency in government makes it harder for politicians to find compromise by relating his experience as the Leader of the Opposition in the Canadian parliament. He also laments the tendency to argue over the standing of those who make arguments on various issues, as opposed to the substance of the issues themselves.   Professor Ignatieff discussed “Tensions in Transparency” with Professor David King at IDEASpHERE.
Dec 10, 2014
Ensuring Electoral Integrity around the Globe
HKS Lecturer Pippa Norris discusses her work on the Electoral Integrity Project, which assesses the veracity of elections around the globe and gives policy recommendations on how to ensure free and fair voting.
Dec 03, 2014
Is it Civil Rights or Human Rights?
HKS Associate Professor Moshik Temkin argues that the debate over civil rights in the United States, sparked by the unrest in Ferguson, MO, is actually a debate about human rights and the difference is not just semantic.
Nov 25, 2014
The Criminal Injustice System
HKS Alumnus Bryan Stevenson has spent his career working to address issues of racial and wealth inequality in the United States’ justice system. He believes this inequality stems from a failure of the nation to reconcile its dark history with regard to slavery and Jim Crow. His work as Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative focuses on defending those without the means to properly defend themselves.
Nov 19, 2014
The Midterms, the Youth Vote and GOP Strategy
IOP Fall 2014 Fellow Kristen Soltis Anderson gives her take on the gains the GOP made in the midterm elections, how the party can better target the youth vote and what we can expect from congress over the next two years.
Nov 12, 2014
The Accidental Fall of the Berlin Wall
Professor Mary Elise Sarotte, a visiting professor at the Harvard Center for European Studies and author of “Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall,” explains how the opening of the border between East and West Germany came down to a decision by a single border guard.
Nov 05, 2014
Ending Veteran Homelessness
Andrew McCawley, president and CEO of the New England Center for Homeless Veterans, describes the steps the organization is taking to combat homelessness among US veterans and how likely it is that the nation will see the complete eradication of veteran homelessness by 2016.
Oct 29, 2014
Steve Jarding on the 2014 Midterms
HKS Lecturer Steve Jarding, a longtime political operative who’s currently advising the Democratic candidate for US Senate in South Dakota, gives his take on how the upcoming midterm elections are shaping up. He explains the bipartisan lack of enthusiasm in this race, gives advice for struggling Democratic candidates and laments the increased role of money in the process.
Oct 22, 2014
How Uber Wrangles Regulations
Brian Worth, the Public Policy Lead for ridesharing service Uber, discusses how the company works with governments at all levels to tackle hackney regulations it sees as outdated. Worth participated in the Harvard Institute of Politics' 2014 Internet Policy Conference.
Oct 15, 2014
045 Feeding the World Through Science
HKS Professor Calestous Juma, Director of the Science, Technology, and Globalization project, believes that science and technology are critical to the future of food security. He talks about meeting the needs of a growing human population, using science to improve agricultural productivity, the controversy over genetically-modified crops, the need for more science advisors in emerging countries and what the future holds for agriculture.
Nov 13, 2013
015 Why Gun Violence is a Public Health Issue
Harvard Chan School of Public Health Professor David Hemenway makes an emphatic case for why gun violence needs to be researched through the lens of public health.
Jan 16, 2013