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PhD Program in Public Policy Reunion

April 5, 2024
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Engage with the intellectual community at Harvard and reconnect with alumni of the PhD program in public policy. We invite you back to campus for a day of stimulating symposia, engaging events, and opportunities to connect with fellow alumni of the PhD program in public policy, faculty, and students. The day will feature Harvard Griffin GSAS Dean Emma Dench, Harvard Kennedy School Dean Douglas Elmendorf, AM ’85, PhD ’89,  and former Harvard President Lawrence S. Bacow, PhD ’78; panels on US-China relations, climate and sustainability, and reflections on career paths; and an update from faculty regarding how the program has evolved over the years.

Register Here!

This event is open only to alumni of the PhD program in public policy and their guests.

Questions? Email gsaa@fas.harvard.edu.


Friday, April 5

8:30 a.m.–9:00 a.m.

Check-In and Registration

Fireside Room, Student Center at Harvard Griffin GSAS, Lehman Hall
8 Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA 02138

9:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.

Welcome from Emma Dench and Douglas Elmendorf, AM '85, PhD '86

Common Room, Student Center at Harvard Griffin GSAS, Lehman Hall
8 Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA 02138

9:30 a.m.–10:00 a.m.

Reflections on the Harvard PhD in public policy with Lawrence S. Bacow, PhD '78

Common Room, Student Center at Harvard Griffin GSAS, Lehman Hall
8 Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA 02138

10:00 a.m.–10:45 a.m.

Panel on US-China Relations

Common Room, Student Center at Harvard Griffin GSAS, Lehman Hall
8 Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA 02138

Moderator: Anthony Saich, Daewoo Professor of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Panelists: 

  • Meghan O’Sullivan, Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Rana Mitter, S.T. Lee Professor of US-Asia Relations, Harvard Kennedy School 

11:00 a.m.–noon

Panel on Climate and Sustainability

Common Room, Student Center at Harvard Griffin GSAS, Lehman Hall
8 Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA 02138

Moderator: Joseph E. Aldy, PhD '05, economics, Teresa and John Heinz Professor of the Practice of Environmental Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School 

Panelists:  

  • Karen Fisher-Vanden, PhD '99, Distinguished Professor of Environmental and Resource Economics, and Public Policy, Penn State
  • B. Kelsey Jack, PhD '10, Associate Professor, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management and Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara  
  • Charles Taylor, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School 

12:15 p.m.–1:45 p.m.

Luncheon with the Faculty Chair and Program Director, PhD Program in Public Policy

Location to be determined

  • Robert Stavins, PhD '88, economics, A.J. Meyer Professor of Energy & Economic Development, Director of Graduate Studies for the Doctoral Program in Public Policy and the Doctoral Program in Political Economy and Government, Harvard Kennedy School, will be discussing how the PhD Program has evolved over recent years. 
  • Nicole Tateosian, Director, Doctoral Programs for Public Policy, Political Economy & Government, and Social Policy, Harvard Kennedy School 

2:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.

Reflections on Diverse Career Paths

Common Room, Student Center at Harvard Griffin GSAS, Lehman Hall 
8 Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA 02138

Moderator: Julia Minson, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Panelists:  

  • Sheila Olmstead, PhD '02, Dean Rusk Professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin 
  • Johnathan Borck, PhD '08, Vice President, Analysis Group and Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Will Dobbie, PhD '13, Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School 
  • Lauren Russell, AB '12, PhD '23, Economist at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors

3:30 p.m.–3:40 p.m.

Closing remarks by Robert Stavins, PhD '88

Common Room, Student Center at Harvard Griffin GSAS, Lehman Hall
8 Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA 02138

3:40 p.m.–5:00 p.m.

Connect and Reconnect: Closing Reception

Graduate Student Lounge, Student Center at Harvard Griffin GSAS, Lehman Hall
8 Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA 02138

This informal session will provide an opportunity to connect and reconnect with current students and alumni. 


Speaker Biographies

In order of appearance 

Emma Dench

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Dean Dench at event

Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

Emma Dench was born in York, grew up near Stratford-Upon-Avon, and studied at Wadham College, Oxford (BA Hons Literae Humaniores), and at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford (DPhil in Ancient History). Before taking up a joint appointment in the Departments of the Classics and of History at Harvard in January 2007, she taught classics and ancient history at Birkbeck College, University of London. She has been a Craven Fellow at the University of Oxford, a Rome Scholar and a Hugh Last Fellow at the British School of Rome, a Cotton Fellow, a Member of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and a Visiting Professor of the Classics and of History at Harvard, and a Loeb Classical Library Foundation Fellow.  

Dench is the author of From Barbarians to New Men: Greek, Roman, and Modern Perceptions of Peoples from the Central Apennines, Romulus’ Asylum: Roman Identities from the Age of Alexander to the Age of Hadrian, and “Imperialism and Culture in the Roman World” for the Cambridge University Press series Key Themes in Ancient History. Other current projects include a study of the retrospective writing of the Roman Republican past in classical antiquity.  

While at Harvard, Dench received a Harvard College Professorship in recognition of “outstanding contributions to undergraduate teaching, mentoring, and advising,” a Marquand Award for Excellent Advising and Counseling, and an Everett Mendelsohn.

Douglas Elmendorf, AM '85, PhD '89

Dean of Faculty and Don K. Price Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Biography information will be available shortly

Lawrence S. Bacow, PhD '78

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Larry Bacow
Larry Bacow PhD '78

Professor of Public Policy and President Emeritus, Harvard University

Lawrence S. Bacow was the 29th president of Harvard University. Widely recognized as one of higher education’s most respected leaders, Bacow’s tenure at Harvard has been marked by the creation of a range of academic initiatives, advocacy for public service, diversity and access to opportunity, and steady leadership of the University through the COVID-19 pandemic.  Since taking office in 2018, Bacow has marshalled academic and financial resources to advance the University’s teaching and research mission, creating new interdisciplinary collaborations on issues such as climate change, inequality, global health, the future of cities, as well as new initiatives in science and technology.  The Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery initiative, the Harvard Quantum Initiative, the Kempner Institute for the Study of Natural and Artificial Intelligence, the Bloomberg Center for Cities, and the Salata Institute for Climate and Sustainability were all established under Bacow’s tenure. He also expanded the role and operation of Harvard’s office for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging and created a new vice provost for climate and sustainability and an associate provost role for student affairs.  For more information about Bacow, you can visit his webpage here

Anthony Saich

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Anthony Saich
Anthony Saich

Daewoo Professor of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Anthony Saich is director of the Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia and Daewoo Professor of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School.

Saich was a trustee member of the National Committee on US-China Relations (2014-20), is a board member of AMC Entertainment Inc. and International Bridges to Justice, and was the chair of the China Medical Board (2015-2019). He was the representative for the Ford Foundation’s China Office from 1994 to 1999. The work at the Foundation included programs on legal representation, reproductive health, poverty alleviation, and international affairs. Prior to this, he was director of the Sinological Institute at Leiden University in the Netherlands.

Saich's current research focuses on politics and governance in post-Mao China and philanthropy in China. His most recent books include From Rebel to Ruler. One Hundred Years of the Chinese Communist Party (2021); Finding Allies and Making Revolution. The Early years of the Chinese Communist Party (2020); Governance and Politics of China (Fifth edition, forthcoming); Institutional Change and Adaptive Efficiency: A Study of China’s Hukou System Evolution (2023). Visit his webpage for more information.

Meghan L. O’Sullivan 

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Meghan O'Sullivan
Meghan O'Sullivan

Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Meghan L. O’Sullivan is the Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School and director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Her scholarship is at the nexus of traditional disciplines, with particular expertise on how the energy transition and geopolitics intersect. O’Sullivan has served in multiple senior policymaking roles and has advised national security officials in both Republican and Democratic administrations. She is a member of U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s Foreign Policy Advisory Board. Between 2004 and 2007, she was special assistant to former President George W. Bush and was deputy national security advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan during the last two years of her tenure. O’Sullivan has been on public company and nonprofit boards. She is senior director at the strategic consulting firm Macro Advisory Partners and is the chair of the North American Group of the Trilateral Commission.

Rana Mitter

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Rana Mitter
Rana Mitter

S.T. Lee Professor of US-Asia Relations, Harvard Kennedy School 

Rana Mitter is ST Lee Chair in US-Asia Relations at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is the author of several books, including Forgotten Ally: China’s World War II (2013), which won the 2014 RUSI/Duke of Westminster’s Medal for Military Literature, and was named a Book of the Year in the Financial Times and Economist. His latest book is China’s Good War: How World War II is Shaping a New Nationalism (Harvard, 2020).  His writing on contemporary China has appeared recently in Foreign Affairs, the Harvard Business Review, The Spectator, The Critic, and The Guardian.  He has commented regularly on China in media and forums around the world, including at the World Economic Forum at Davos. His recent documentary on contemporary Chinese politics "Meanwhile in Beijing" is available on BBC Sounds.  Mitter is co-author, with Sophia Gaston, of the report “Conceptualizing a UK-China Engagement Strategy” (British Foreign Policy Group, 2020).  He won the 2020 Medlicott Medal for Service to History, awarded by the UK Historical Association.  He previously taught at Oxford, and is a Fellow of the British Academy.

Joseph E. Aldy, PhD '05

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Joseph E. Aldy
Joseph E. Aldy

Teresa and John Heinz Professor of the Practice of Environmental Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Joseph E. Aldy is the Teresa and John Heinz Professor of the Practice of Environmental Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, a university fellow at Resources for the Future, a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and a senior advisor at the Lazard Climate Center. His research focuses on climate change policy, energy policy, and regulatory policy. He also serves as the faculty chair of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government Regulatory Policy Program. In 2009-2010, he served as the special assistant to the president for Energy and Environment at the White House. Aldy also served as a fellow at Resources for the Future, codirector of the Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements, codirector of the International Energy Workshop, and worked on the staff of the President's Council of Economic Advisers. He earned his doctorate in economics from Harvard University and MEM and bachelor’s degrees from Duke University. 

Karen Fisher-Vanden, PhD '99 

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Karen Fisher-Vanden, PhD '99
Karen Fisher-Vanden, PhD '99

Distinguished Professor of Environmental and Resource Economics, and Public Policy, Penn State

Karen Fisher-Vanden is distinguished professor of environmental and resource economics and public policy as well as director of the Institute for Sustainable Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Science (SAFES) at Pennsylvania State University. Fisher-Vanden holds a BS in mathematics/computer science and a BA in economics both from UC Davis, a MS in management science from the Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA, and a PhD in public policy from Harvard University. She was a lead author of the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report Working Group III, a previous member of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) Product Development Advisory Committee, and lead author of a congressionally mandated CCSP report on global change scenarios. She is president of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (AERE) where she previously served on the board of directors and was a member of the EPA science advisory board on economy-wide modeling. Her areas of research include economic and integrated assessment modeling for climate change impacts and policy analysis. Fisher-Vanden has led a number of large externally funded research programs and is currently codirector and principal investigator of the Program on Coupled Human and Earth Systems (PCHES), a large Cooperative Research Agreement with the US Department of Energy.

B. Kelsey Jack, PhD '10

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B. Kelsey Jack, PhD ‘10
B. Kelsey Jack, PhD ‘10

Associate Professor, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management and Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara 

B. Kelsey Jack is an associate professor at UC Santa Barbara, with a joint appointment in the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management and the Department of Economics. Prior to UCSB, she was an assistant professor in the Economics Department at Tufts University for seven years, and a postdoctoral associate at MIT, with the Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative (ATAI) at J-PAL. She holds a PhD in public policy from Harvard University and a bachelor's degree in public and international affairs from Princeton University. Her research is at the intersection of environmental and development economics, and focuses on the interplay between poverty and natural resources including water, energy, and land. She is a faculty research fellow at the NBER, an associate editor at the American Economic Review and Econometrica, and serves on the boards of J-PAL and BREAD. 

Charles Taylor

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Charles Taylor
Charles Taylor

Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School 

Charles Taylor is an assistant professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School at Harvard University. An economist researching the environment, agriculture, climate change, and migration, his work often uses satellite data to answer policy questions. He received the Wallace E. Oates Outstanding Dissertation Award in environmental economics. Taylor held positions at The Earth Partners, a sustainable land investment company; McKinsey & Company; and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He is the cofounder of Drylands Natural Resource Centre, a farmer-owned cooperative. He earned a BA from the University of Virginia and a PhD in sustainable development from Columbia University, and was previously a Ciriacy-Wantrup fellow at UC Berkeley. His research website can be found here.

Robert Stavins, PhD '88

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Robert Stavins

A.J. Meyer Professor of Energy & Economic Development, Director of Graduate Studies for the Doctoral Program in Public Policy and the Doctoral Program in Political Economy and Government, Harvard Kennedy School

Robert Stavins is the A. J. Meyer Professor of Energy & Economic Development at Harvard Kennedy School, director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program, director of Graduate Studies for the Doctoral Program in Public Policy, cochair of the Harvard Business School-Kennedy School Joint Degree Programs, and director of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements. He is a university fellow of Resources for the Future, a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, an elected fellow of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vice chair of the board of directors of Resources for the Future, and coeditor of the Journal of Wine Economics. He was founding editor of the Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, chair of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Economics Advisory Committee, and lead author or coordinating lead author of the Second, Third, and Fifth Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. His research has focused on diverse areas of environmental economics and policy and has appeared in hundreds of articles in scholarly journals and in more than a dozen books. Stavins has been a consultant to US administrations, members of Congress, environmental organizations, the World Bank, the United Nations, state and national governments, and private foundations and firms. Stavins holds a BA in philosophy from Northwestern University, an MS in agricultural economics from Cornell, and a PhD in economics from Harvard.

Nicole Tateosian

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Nicole Tateosian
Nicole Tateosian

Director, Doctoral Programs for Public Policy, Political Economy & Government, and Social Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Julia Minson

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Julia Minson
Julia Minson

Associate Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School 

Julia Minson is an associate professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She is a decision scientist with research interests in conflict, negotiations, and judgment and decision-making. Her primary line of research addresses the “psychology of disagreement”—How do people engage with opinions, judgments, and decisions that are different from their own? She explores this theme in the context of disagreement around hot-button, identity-relevant topics, such as conflicts around politics, professional decision-making, and lifestyle choices.  She is particularly interested in simple, scalable interventions to help people be more receptive to views and opinions they strongly oppose. Minson also studies group decision-making to uncover the psychological biases that prevent managers, consumers, and policy makers from maximizing the benefits of collaboration. This includes research on underweighting of advice, "wisdom of crowds," and overconfidence. Much of Minson's research is conducted in collaboration with the graduate and postdoctoral members of MC²—the Minson Conflict and Collaboration Lab. At the Kennedy School, Minson is affiliated with the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, the Center for Public Leadership, and the Taubman Center for State and Local Government. Minson teaches courses on negotiations and decision-making as part of the Management, Leadership and Decision Science area as well as through HKS Executive Education. She is the organizer of the HKS Conflict Management and Depolarization speaker series sponsored by the Center for Public Leadership and the Management Leadership and Decision Sciences Area.  Prior to coming to the Kennedy School, Minson served as an adjunct lecturer at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, where she taught negotiations at both the MBA and the undergraduate levels. She received her PhD in social psychology from Stanford University and her AB in psychology from Harvard University. 

Sheila Olmstead, PhD '02 

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Sheila M. Olmstead
Sheila M. Olmstead

Dean Rusk Professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin 

Sheila Olmstead is a professor and the Dean Rusk chair at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin (UT), a university fellow at Resources for the Future (RFF) in Washington, DC, and a senior fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) in Bozeman, MT. Her research examines questions at the intersection of economics and environmental policy in areas such as water pricing, water markets, water quality valuation and regulation, the impacts of flood risk on property markets, the environmental impacts of energy development, and carbon capture and storage. From 2016–2017, Olmstead served as the senior economist for Energy and the Environment at the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. She is currently a member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board. Before joining UT in 2013, Olmstead was a senior fellow (2013) and fellow (2010-13) at RFF as well as associate professor (2007-10) and assistant professor (2002-07) of environmental economics at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Olmstead is president-elect of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (AERE) where she has also served as vice president and a member of the board of directors. She was editor of the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, as associate editor of Water Resources Research, coeditor and member of the scientific advisory board of Environmental and Resource Economics, and book review editor of Water Economics and Policy. She holds a PhD in public policy from Harvard University, a master's in public affairs from the University of Texas at Austin, and a BA in political and social thought from the University of Virginia. 

Johnathan Borck, PhD '08

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Jonathan Borck
Jonathan Borck

Vice President, Analysis Group and Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Jonathan Borck specializes in the application of statistics and economics to topics in business and public policy. In his professional career at Analysis Group, he has testified in disputes involving sampling, statistics, lost profits, and damages in matters before federal courts, state courts, and arbitration panels. He has directed projects in areas such as antitrust and competition, technology and digital platforms, health care, mortgages and housing, and the environment.  Over the past 10 years, Borck has taught API-201, the core course in probability and statistics in the MPP program, at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Will Dobbie, PhD '13

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Will Dobbie, PhD '13
Will Dobbie, PhD '13

Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Will Dobbie is a professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and coeditor of the Review of Economics and Statistics. His research studies the causes and consequences of poverty in America to understand how we can give individuals from all backgrounds a better chance of success. His recent work has examined racial discrimination in the criminal justice system, the labor market consequences of bad credit reports, and the long-run effects of charter schools. Dobbie received his PhD from Harvard in 2013. Before joining the faculty at Harvard, he was a professor at Princeton University. He is a recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, the Jonathan Edwards Bicentennial Preceptorship at Princeton University, the W.E. Upjohn Institute Award, and the Distinguished CESifo Affiliate Award.

Lauren Russell, AB '12, PhD '23 

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Lauren Russell, PhD ‘23
Lauren Russell, PhD ‘23

Economist, Federal Reserve Board of Governors

Lauren Russell is an economist at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Her research centers on US racial inequality with a focus on the criminal legal system. Her recent work documents the evolution of criminal background checking in the United States and investigates how the increasing availability of criminal record information to employers starting in the 1970s impacted the labor market outcomes of historically disadvantaged groups. Russell graduated from Harvard in 2023 with a PhD in public policy. While in graduate school, she was a dissertation scholar at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth and a research fellow at the Samuel Dubois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University.

Register
Add to Calendar 2024-04-05T08:00:00 2024-04-05T17:00:00 America/New_York PhD Program in Public Policy Reunion

Engage with the intellectual community at Harvard and reconnect with alumni of the PhD program in public policy. We invite you back to campus for a day of stimulating symposia, engaging events, and opportunities to connect with fellow alumni of the PhD program in public policy, faculty, and students. The day will feature Harvard Griffin GSAS Dean Emma Dench, Harvard Kennedy School Dean Douglas Elmendorf, AM ’85, PhD ’89,  and former Harvard President Lawrence S. Bacow, PhD ’78; panels on US-China relations, climate and sustainability, and reflections on career paths; and an update from faculty regarding how the program has evolved over the years.

Register Here!

This event is open only to alumni of the PhD program in public policy and their guests.

Questions? Email gsaa@fas.harvard.edu.


Friday, April 5

8:30 a.m.–9:00 a.m.

Check-In and Registration

Fireside Room, Student Center at Harvard Griffin GSAS, Lehman Hall
8 Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA 02138

9:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.

Welcome from Emma Dench and Douglas Elmendorf, AM '85, PhD '86

Common Room, Student Center at Harvard Griffin GSAS, Lehman Hall
8 Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA 02138

9:30 a.m.–10:00 a.m.

Reflections on the Harvard PhD in public policy with Lawrence S. Bacow, PhD '78

Common Room, Student Center at Harvard Griffin GSAS, Lehman Hall
8 Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA 02138

10:00 a.m.–10:45 a.m.

Panel on US-China Relations

Common Room, Student Center at Harvard Griffin GSAS, Lehman Hall
8 Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA 02138

Moderator: Anthony Saich, Daewoo Professor of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Panelists: 

  • Meghan O’Sullivan, Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Rana Mitter, S.T. Lee Professor of US-Asia Relations, Harvard Kennedy School 

11:00 a.m.–noon

Panel on Climate and Sustainability

Common Room, Student Center at Harvard Griffin GSAS, Lehman Hall
8 Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA 02138

Moderator: Joseph E. Aldy, PhD '05, economics, Teresa and John Heinz Professor of the Practice of Environmental Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School 

Panelists:  

  • Karen Fisher-Vanden, PhD '99, Distinguished Professor of Environmental and Resource Economics, and Public Policy, Penn State
  • B. Kelsey Jack, PhD '10, Associate Professor, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management and Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara  
  • Charles Taylor, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School 

12:15 p.m.–1:45 p.m.

Luncheon with the Faculty Chair and Program Director, PhD Program in Public Policy

Location to be determined

  • Robert Stavins, PhD '88, economics, A.J. Meyer Professor of Energy & Economic Development, Director of Graduate Studies for the Doctoral Program in Public Policy and the Doctoral Program in Political Economy and Government, Harvard Kennedy School, will be discussing how the PhD Program has evolved over recent years. 
  • Nicole Tateosian, Director, Doctoral Programs for Public Policy, Political Economy & Government, and Social Policy, Harvard Kennedy School 

2:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.

Reflections on Diverse Career Paths

Common Room, Student Center at Harvard Griffin GSAS, Lehman Hall 
8 Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA 02138

Moderator: Julia Minson, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Panelists:  

  • Sheila Olmstead, PhD '02, Dean Rusk Professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin 
  • Johnathan Borck, PhD '08, Vice President, Analysis Group and Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Will Dobbie, PhD '13, Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School 
  • Lauren Russell, AB '12, PhD '23, Economist at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors

3:30 p.m.–3:40 p.m.

Closing remarks by Robert Stavins, PhD '88

Common Room, Student Center at Harvard Griffin GSAS, Lehman Hall
8 Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA 02138

3:40 p.m.–5:00 p.m.

Connect and Reconnect: Closing Reception

Graduate Student Lounge, Student Center at Harvard Griffin GSAS, Lehman Hall
8 Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA 02138

This informal session will provide an opportunity to connect and reconnect with current students and alumni. 


Speaker Biographies

In order of appearance 

Emma Dench

Image
Dean Dench at event

Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

Emma Dench was born in York, grew up near Stratford-Upon-Avon, and studied at Wadham College, Oxford (BA Hons Literae Humaniores), and at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford (DPhil in Ancient History). Before taking up a joint appointment in the Departments of the Classics and of History at Harvard in January 2007, she taught classics and ancient history at Birkbeck College, University of London. She has been a Craven Fellow at the University of Oxford, a Rome Scholar and a Hugh Last Fellow at the British School of Rome, a Cotton Fellow, a Member of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and a Visiting Professor of the Classics and of History at Harvard, and a Loeb Classical Library Foundation Fellow.  

Dench is the author of From Barbarians to New Men: Greek, Roman, and Modern Perceptions of Peoples from the Central Apennines, Romulus’ Asylum: Roman Identities from the Age of Alexander to the Age of Hadrian, and “Imperialism and Culture in the Roman World” for the Cambridge University Press series Key Themes in Ancient History. Other current projects include a study of the retrospective writing of the Roman Republican past in classical antiquity.  

While at Harvard, Dench received a Harvard College Professorship in recognition of “outstanding contributions to undergraduate teaching, mentoring, and advising,” a Marquand Award for Excellent Advising and Counseling, and an Everett Mendelsohn.

Douglas Elmendorf, AM '85, PhD '89

Dean of Faculty and Don K. Price Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Biography information will be available shortly

Lawrence S. Bacow, PhD '78

Image
Larry Bacow
Larry Bacow PhD '78

Professor of Public Policy and President Emeritus, Harvard University

Lawrence S. Bacow was the 29th president of Harvard University. Widely recognized as one of higher education’s most respected leaders, Bacow’s tenure at Harvard has been marked by the creation of a range of academic initiatives, advocacy for public service, diversity and access to opportunity, and steady leadership of the University through the COVID-19 pandemic.  Since taking office in 2018, Bacow has marshalled academic and financial resources to advance the University’s teaching and research mission, creating new interdisciplinary collaborations on issues such as climate change, inequality, global health, the future of cities, as well as new initiatives in science and technology.  The Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery initiative, the Harvard Quantum Initiative, the Kempner Institute for the Study of Natural and Artificial Intelligence, the Bloomberg Center for Cities, and the Salata Institute for Climate and Sustainability were all established under Bacow’s tenure. He also expanded the role and operation of Harvard’s office for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging and created a new vice provost for climate and sustainability and an associate provost role for student affairs.  For more information about Bacow, you can visit his webpage here

Anthony Saich

Image
Anthony Saich
Anthony Saich

Daewoo Professor of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Anthony Saich is director of the Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia and Daewoo Professor of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School.

Saich was a trustee member of the National Committee on US-China Relations (2014-20), is a board member of AMC Entertainment Inc. and International Bridges to Justice, and was the chair of the China Medical Board (2015-2019). He was the representative for the Ford Foundation’s China Office from 1994 to 1999. The work at the Foundation included programs on legal representation, reproductive health, poverty alleviation, and international affairs. Prior to this, he was director of the Sinological Institute at Leiden University in the Netherlands.

Saich's current research focuses on politics and governance in post-Mao China and philanthropy in China. His most recent books include From Rebel to Ruler. One Hundred Years of the Chinese Communist Party (2021); Finding Allies and Making Revolution. The Early years of the Chinese Communist Party (2020); Governance and Politics of China (Fifth edition, forthcoming); Institutional Change and Adaptive Efficiency: A Study of China’s Hukou System Evolution (2023). Visit his webpage for more information.

Meghan L. O’Sullivan 

Image
Meghan O'Sullivan
Meghan O'Sullivan

Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Meghan L. O’Sullivan is the Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School and director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Her scholarship is at the nexus of traditional disciplines, with particular expertise on how the energy transition and geopolitics intersect. O’Sullivan has served in multiple senior policymaking roles and has advised national security officials in both Republican and Democratic administrations. She is a member of U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s Foreign Policy Advisory Board. Between 2004 and 2007, she was special assistant to former President George W. Bush and was deputy national security advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan during the last two years of her tenure. O’Sullivan has been on public company and nonprofit boards. She is senior director at the strategic consulting firm Macro Advisory Partners and is the chair of the North American Group of the Trilateral Commission.

Rana Mitter

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Rana Mitter
Rana Mitter

S.T. Lee Professor of US-Asia Relations, Harvard Kennedy School 

Rana Mitter is ST Lee Chair in US-Asia Relations at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is the author of several books, including Forgotten Ally: China’s World War II (2013), which won the 2014 RUSI/Duke of Westminster’s Medal for Military Literature, and was named a Book of the Year in the Financial Times and Economist. His latest book is China’s Good War: How World War II is Shaping a New Nationalism (Harvard, 2020).  His writing on contemporary China has appeared recently in Foreign Affairs, the Harvard Business Review, The Spectator, The Critic, and The Guardian.  He has commented regularly on China in media and forums around the world, including at the World Economic Forum at Davos. His recent documentary on contemporary Chinese politics "Meanwhile in Beijing" is available on BBC Sounds.  Mitter is co-author, with Sophia Gaston, of the report “Conceptualizing a UK-China Engagement Strategy” (British Foreign Policy Group, 2020).  He won the 2020 Medlicott Medal for Service to History, awarded by the UK Historical Association.  He previously taught at Oxford, and is a Fellow of the British Academy.

Joseph E. Aldy, PhD '05

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Joseph E. Aldy
Joseph E. Aldy

Teresa and John Heinz Professor of the Practice of Environmental Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Joseph E. Aldy is the Teresa and John Heinz Professor of the Practice of Environmental Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, a university fellow at Resources for the Future, a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and a senior advisor at the Lazard Climate Center. His research focuses on climate change policy, energy policy, and regulatory policy. He also serves as the faculty chair of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government Regulatory Policy Program. In 2009-2010, he served as the special assistant to the president for Energy and Environment at the White House. Aldy also served as a fellow at Resources for the Future, codirector of the Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements, codirector of the International Energy Workshop, and worked on the staff of the President's Council of Economic Advisers. He earned his doctorate in economics from Harvard University and MEM and bachelor’s degrees from Duke University. 

Karen Fisher-Vanden, PhD '99 

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Karen Fisher-Vanden, PhD '99
Karen Fisher-Vanden, PhD '99

Distinguished Professor of Environmental and Resource Economics, and Public Policy, Penn State

Karen Fisher-Vanden is distinguished professor of environmental and resource economics and public policy as well as director of the Institute for Sustainable Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Science (SAFES) at Pennsylvania State University. Fisher-Vanden holds a BS in mathematics/computer science and a BA in economics both from UC Davis, a MS in management science from the Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA, and a PhD in public policy from Harvard University. She was a lead author of the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report Working Group III, a previous member of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) Product Development Advisory Committee, and lead author of a congressionally mandated CCSP report on global change scenarios. She is president of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (AERE) where she previously served on the board of directors and was a member of the EPA science advisory board on economy-wide modeling. Her areas of research include economic and integrated assessment modeling for climate change impacts and policy analysis. Fisher-Vanden has led a number of large externally funded research programs and is currently codirector and principal investigator of the Program on Coupled Human and Earth Systems (PCHES), a large Cooperative Research Agreement with the US Department of Energy.

B. Kelsey Jack, PhD '10

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B. Kelsey Jack, PhD ‘10
B. Kelsey Jack, PhD ‘10

Associate Professor, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management and Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara 

B. Kelsey Jack is an associate professor at UC Santa Barbara, with a joint appointment in the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management and the Department of Economics. Prior to UCSB, she was an assistant professor in the Economics Department at Tufts University for seven years, and a postdoctoral associate at MIT, with the Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative (ATAI) at J-PAL. She holds a PhD in public policy from Harvard University and a bachelor's degree in public and international affairs from Princeton University. Her research is at the intersection of environmental and development economics, and focuses on the interplay between poverty and natural resources including water, energy, and land. She is a faculty research fellow at the NBER, an associate editor at the American Economic Review and Econometrica, and serves on the boards of J-PAL and BREAD. 

Charles Taylor

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Charles Taylor
Charles Taylor

Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School 

Charles Taylor is an assistant professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School at Harvard University. An economist researching the environment, agriculture, climate change, and migration, his work often uses satellite data to answer policy questions. He received the Wallace E. Oates Outstanding Dissertation Award in environmental economics. Taylor held positions at The Earth Partners, a sustainable land investment company; McKinsey & Company; and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He is the cofounder of Drylands Natural Resource Centre, a farmer-owned cooperative. He earned a BA from the University of Virginia and a PhD in sustainable development from Columbia University, and was previously a Ciriacy-Wantrup fellow at UC Berkeley. His research website can be found here.

Robert Stavins, PhD '88

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Robert Stavins

A.J. Meyer Professor of Energy & Economic Development, Director of Graduate Studies for the Doctoral Program in Public Policy and the Doctoral Program in Political Economy and Government, Harvard Kennedy School

Robert Stavins is the A. J. Meyer Professor of Energy & Economic Development at Harvard Kennedy School, director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program, director of Graduate Studies for the Doctoral Program in Public Policy, cochair of the Harvard Business School-Kennedy School Joint Degree Programs, and director of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements. He is a university fellow of Resources for the Future, a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, an elected fellow of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vice chair of the board of directors of Resources for the Future, and coeditor of the Journal of Wine Economics. He was founding editor of the Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, chair of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Economics Advisory Committee, and lead author or coordinating lead author of the Second, Third, and Fifth Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. His research has focused on diverse areas of environmental economics and policy and has appeared in hundreds of articles in scholarly journals and in more than a dozen books. Stavins has been a consultant to US administrations, members of Congress, environmental organizations, the World Bank, the United Nations, state and national governments, and private foundations and firms. Stavins holds a BA in philosophy from Northwestern University, an MS in agricultural economics from Cornell, and a PhD in economics from Harvard.

Nicole Tateosian

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Nicole Tateosian
Nicole Tateosian

Director, Doctoral Programs for Public Policy, Political Economy & Government, and Social Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Julia Minson

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Julia Minson
Julia Minson

Associate Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School 

Julia Minson is an associate professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She is a decision scientist with research interests in conflict, negotiations, and judgment and decision-making. Her primary line of research addresses the “psychology of disagreement”—How do people engage with opinions, judgments, and decisions that are different from their own? She explores this theme in the context of disagreement around hot-button, identity-relevant topics, such as conflicts around politics, professional decision-making, and lifestyle choices.  She is particularly interested in simple, scalable interventions to help people be more receptive to views and opinions they strongly oppose. Minson also studies group decision-making to uncover the psychological biases that prevent managers, consumers, and policy makers from maximizing the benefits of collaboration. This includes research on underweighting of advice, "wisdom of crowds," and overconfidence. Much of Minson's research is conducted in collaboration with the graduate and postdoctoral members of MC²—the Minson Conflict and Collaboration Lab. At the Kennedy School, Minson is affiliated with the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, the Center for Public Leadership, and the Taubman Center for State and Local Government. Minson teaches courses on negotiations and decision-making as part of the Management, Leadership and Decision Science area as well as through HKS Executive Education. She is the organizer of the HKS Conflict Management and Depolarization speaker series sponsored by the Center for Public Leadership and the Management Leadership and Decision Sciences Area.  Prior to coming to the Kennedy School, Minson served as an adjunct lecturer at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, where she taught negotiations at both the MBA and the undergraduate levels. She received her PhD in social psychology from Stanford University and her AB in psychology from Harvard University. 

Sheila Olmstead, PhD '02 

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Sheila M. Olmstead
Sheila M. Olmstead

Dean Rusk Professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin 

Sheila Olmstead is a professor and the Dean Rusk chair at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin (UT), a university fellow at Resources for the Future (RFF) in Washington, DC, and a senior fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) in Bozeman, MT. Her research examines questions at the intersection of economics and environmental policy in areas such as water pricing, water markets, water quality valuation and regulation, the impacts of flood risk on property markets, the environmental impacts of energy development, and carbon capture and storage. From 2016–2017, Olmstead served as the senior economist for Energy and the Environment at the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. She is currently a member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board. Before joining UT in 2013, Olmstead was a senior fellow (2013) and fellow (2010-13) at RFF as well as associate professor (2007-10) and assistant professor (2002-07) of environmental economics at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Olmstead is president-elect of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (AERE) where she has also served as vice president and a member of the board of directors. She was editor of the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, as associate editor of Water Resources Research, coeditor and member of the scientific advisory board of Environmental and Resource Economics, and book review editor of Water Economics and Policy. She holds a PhD in public policy from Harvard University, a master's in public affairs from the University of Texas at Austin, and a BA in political and social thought from the University of Virginia. 

Johnathan Borck, PhD '08

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Jonathan Borck
Jonathan Borck

Vice President, Analysis Group and Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Jonathan Borck specializes in the application of statistics and economics to topics in business and public policy. In his professional career at Analysis Group, he has testified in disputes involving sampling, statistics, lost profits, and damages in matters before federal courts, state courts, and arbitration panels. He has directed projects in areas such as antitrust and competition, technology and digital platforms, health care, mortgages and housing, and the environment.  Over the past 10 years, Borck has taught API-201, the core course in probability and statistics in the MPP program, at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Will Dobbie, PhD '13

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Will Dobbie, PhD '13
Will Dobbie, PhD '13

Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Will Dobbie is a professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and coeditor of the Review of Economics and Statistics. His research studies the causes and consequences of poverty in America to understand how we can give individuals from all backgrounds a better chance of success. His recent work has examined racial discrimination in the criminal justice system, the labor market consequences of bad credit reports, and the long-run effects of charter schools. Dobbie received his PhD from Harvard in 2013. Before joining the faculty at Harvard, he was a professor at Princeton University. He is a recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, the Jonathan Edwards Bicentennial Preceptorship at Princeton University, the W.E. Upjohn Institute Award, and the Distinguished CESifo Affiliate Award.

Lauren Russell, AB '12, PhD '23 

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Lauren Russell, PhD ‘23
Lauren Russell, PhD ‘23

Economist, Federal Reserve Board of Governors

Lauren Russell is an economist at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Her research centers on US racial inequality with a focus on the criminal legal system. Her recent work documents the evolution of criminal background checking in the United States and investigates how the increasing availability of criminal record information to employers starting in the 1970s impacted the labor market outcomes of historically disadvantaged groups. Russell graduated from Harvard in 2023 with a PhD in public policy. While in graduate school, she was a dissertation scholar at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth and a research fellow at the Samuel Dubois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University.

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