Campus & Community

Inaugural Black Policy Conference set for April at Kennedy School

2 min read

The Kennedy School of Government (KSG) has announced that it will hold its first annual Harvard Black Policy Conference this spring. The student-led conference, titled “A Celebration of Black Leadership and Alumni: Accomplishments, Challenges, and Emerging Global Trends,” seeks to strengthen the network of public service leaders in order to address and strategize around issues facing communities throughout the African diaspora. Expected to draw more than 200 participants, the conference will take place April 8-10 in Cambridge, Mass.

The inaugural event will begin on April 8 with a keynote address by Anthony Williams, mayor of Washington, D.C. The event will set the tone for the entire weekend by discussing the challenges and potential value created by positions of leadership within the black community.

The second day of the conference will feature panels and workshops designed to begin discussions on current policy issues. Panel topics include access to higher education; investing in Caribbean and African nations; health care policy; economic development; black political involvement; and international development.

Erica McKnight, the panels and workshops chair, developed the panels after discussions with alumni and current students. “The panels reflect the key policy issues in our community right now. We wanted to address issues that will allow us to present solutions and ultimately have concrete findings to present at the conclusion of the conference,” McKnight said. The two workshops will be on “Global Leadership” and “The Black Community Across the Diaspora.”

Panelists include Stephanie Bell-Rose, president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation; Naylor Fitzhugh Professor of Business Administration David A. Thomas; Lezli Bakersville, National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education; and Eleanor Brown, Caribbean Basin Initiative.

The culmination of the conference will be the dinner banquet on April 9 featuring keynote speaker Cheryl Dorsey, president of the Echoing Green Foundation. A presentation of awards will take place, highlighting leaders in service, achievement, and innovation.

More information regarding the conference and registration is available on the conference Web site at