Conference Brings Graduate Students Together
The Harvard Graduate Council hosted the Harvard Leadership Conference this past Saturday to give graduate students from different disciplines the opportunity to come together and discuss the challenges facing leaders today.
The conference, themed “Leading Together in Complex Times,” began on early Saturday morning and consisted of professor-led panels and group discussions that explored leadership in various fields.
The organizers of the conference, which included the Kennedy School of Government Center for Public Leadership, capped attendance at 300 and brought together graduate students from all 12 graduate schools.
The students got to interact with one another at the “collaboration lunch” in which they broke into small groups and discussed topics of similar interests.
“I was meeting people from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the Divinity School and we were all discussing issues in education,” said L. Abigail Humphrey, a masters student at the Graduate School of Education. “That was just a neat way to meet people across various graduate schools.”
Tom Ghegan, a principal at a private equity firm who served as a panelist for “Leadership in the Corporate World,” said he decided to participate in the program because, as a Harvard Business School student, he wished there were more programs that brought together graduate students of all the different schools. Ghegan said the conference was effective in its purpose.
“I couldn’t believe how many people were up at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning to attend this conference,” Ghegan said.
Rear Admiral Susan Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.A, the Director of the Health and Medicine Program at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, was one keynote speaker at the conference. Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA) was also a featured speaker.
The conference closed with another keynote speech by Michele Pierre-Louis, the former prime minister of Haiti.
“I really enjoyed the last keynote,” said Vicky W. Zhou, a fourth-year student at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
“She was just really inspiring and said that it is possible to just be good, and not politically-hungry, to rise the ranks.”
The Graduate Council, a representative body for graduate and professional students, hosted an annual leadership summit for two years that was only for the leaders of graduate student groups across the university. This year’s conference, however, was open to all graduate students who wished to attend.
“This year, we thought ‘How can we bring together all students from across the schools and not restrict to one set of leaders?’” said Nickhilesh S. Chand, the vice president of advocacy on the Graduate Council and the conference chair.
Following the conference, President of the Graduate Council Pukar Malla, a second-year masters student at the Kennedy School of Government, said the council hopes to make more university-wide students groups official.