KSG To Design Program For India

Plan will train New Delhi’s civil servants in leadership and economics

The Kennedy School of Government is expected to launch an executive program next January in New Delhi to train India’s highest level civil servants.

The program, which arose from an initiative by the Indian government to improve their civil service training, will coach members of the Indian government in leadership, policy analysis, and world economic issues.

Christine Letts, associate dean for executive education, said that the program offered a great opportunity for the Kennedy School.

“India is on the precipice of major contribution to the world and are undergoing a lot of changes in terms of their policies about development and economic infrastructure,” Letts said. “It’s very thrilling for us to have the potential to influence that and to learn from them as they’re going through these changes.”

The program is expected to last four weeks, and will run twice a year to train between 100 and 150 civil servants. The Indian government initially requested that the program run for three years, but Letts said the contract has not yet been finalized.

Professors from different areas of the Kennedy School faculty, including management, leadership, social policy, and economics, will work with members from the upper echelons of the Indian government, most with 25 to 30 years of experience. The program will use various teaching methods, including problem diagnosis and problem framing, according to Letts.

Letts said that while the faculty can provide “the latest thinking” on infrastructural and economic issues, an important aspect of the program would be to encourage Indian civil servants to “think together about what the current challenges are.”

Discussions about the program began last summer and the proposal was sent out by the Indian government in early September, according to Letts. Since then, two teams from the Kennedy School have traveled to India to present the program and discuss its format with the government.

The Kennedy School runs similar programs with governments from other countries including China and Pakistan. In addition, Letts said that many Indian civil servants have attended the Kennedy School’s Edward S. Mason Program in Public Policy and Management, which trains “demonstrated leaders,” according to the program’s website.

—Staff writer Claire M. Guehenno can be reached at guehenno@fas.harvard.edu.