Advanced Leadership Initiative looks to education for democratic renewal

ALI Faculty Co-Chair Monica Higgins. Photo by Russ Campbell

3 min read

With public trust in the government nearing historic lows, the Advanced Leadership Initiative’s (ALI) Education, Democracy and Human Rights Deep Dive examined how education could promote democratic values in the United States.

ALI Faculty Co-Chair Fernando Reimers of the Harvard Graduate School of Education chaired the Deep Dive, convening faculty and nonprofit leaders from across Harvard and around the country for the two-day conference.

ALI’s Deep Dive Sessions highlight one major global or community challenge where its Fellows might fill a gap. Deep Dives include readings, outside experts, often faculty from relevant Harvard programs, and a focus on problem-solving and practical applications of research.

ALI Fellows also contribute ideas based on their experience and knowledge to find immediate solutions for these challenges.

About ALI

ALI is a third stage in higher education designed to prepare experienced leaders to take on new challenges in the social sector where they potentially can make an even greater societal impact than they did in their careers.

This year, ALI welcomes its 10th cohort of fellows, bringing extensive experience in law, medicine, technology, finance, manufacturing, government, social enterprise, and other sectors to the program.

The group includes 12 international fellows, a former member of Congress, a former head of state, as well as former CEOs and C-suite executives from distinguished private sector and nonprofit organizations.

The Education, Democracy & Human Rights Deep Dive

The Deep Dive presented ALI Fellows with a broad menu of topics and viewpoints, ranging from historical accounts of democracy and religious diversity in the U.S. to the latest research on social-emotional learning and early childhood development.

Speakers on the first day of the Deep Dive included Professors Fernando Reimers, Nancy HillStephanie JonesChris DedeDeborah Jewell-ShermanJim Honan, and Meira Levinson of the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), Professor Steven Levitsky of the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter of Harvard Business School. The first day culminated in an Askwith Forum event that also had presenters from Facing History and Ourselves, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Anti-Defamation League.

Speakers on the second day of the Deep Dive were Professors Bridget Terry LongRoberto GonzalesNonie LesauxJulie Reuben, and Monica Higgins of HGSE, and Professor Diana Eck of Harvard Divinity School.

At the close of the Deep Dive, ALI Fellows highlighted the need to promote civic engagement through education and encourage participation in politics at the national level.

To learn more about the Deep Dive, read ALI’s complete Education, Democracy and Human Rights Deep Dive Report.