Special Edition  |  COVID-19 Update  |  May 29, 2020
California hospital staff don protective gear. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Kennedy School 2020 graduates chart paths to public service

Even though forced online by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Harvard Kennedy School community celebrated the students who graduated yesterday with master’s and doctoral degrees. Profiles of two students suggest the impact the graduates have already had and will have in shaping public policy and public service in the years to come. Michelle Fakler will return to her final two years of surgical residency after graduation, with an eye on putting her Master in Public Administration in International Development degree to use in building stronger public health systems globally. And Georges Clement, equipped with his Master in Public Policy degree, will push forward the campaign by the nonprofit he cofounded,, to help tenants across the country who are struggling to pay rent during the pandemic. Check out more of these inspiring stories on our “Honoring the Class of 2020” webpage.

Also: HKS Dean Douglas Elmendorf addresses graduating students at the virtual celebration



60 percent of Americans support expanding vote by mail amid COVID pandemic: Multi-university 50-state survey project co-published by the Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy


HKS science policy expert leads initiative to repair strategic pandemic stockpile

Kennedy School Professor John P. Holdren, who served as President Obama’s science advisor, leads an ad-hoc group of science and technology experts that issued a detailed blueprint this week to rebuild the nation’s strategic pandemic-response stockpile. The group is made up of former members of the White House Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. The detailed report faults the federal and state governments for failing to maintain strategic reserves of respirator masks and other protective gear after the 2008 recession and H1N1 pandemic in 2009, despite repeated warnings. The recommendations include short-term steps to build up stockpile reserves by September, and then longer-term budget and planning steps, including fast-manufacturing of ventilators and other critical equipment, and a five-year plan to ensure sustained readiness for pandemics and other security emergencies. Holdren is co-director of the Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program in the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

The number of Harvard Kennedy School students who graduated this week, from 42 states and 85 countries.


Fauci offers mayors candid advice on what’s ahead as nation begins to reopen

Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci offered some tough advice to hundreds of mayors and urban officials in a virtual seminar hosted by the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School. Fauci warned that officials should expect new “blips of infections” as communities begin to reopen. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, called on mayors to put in place robust testing programs and enough supplies to be able to test and contact trace their citizens. He said cities and towns will be crucial actors in containing the virus and responding to surges. The weekly seminars of the Bloomberg Harvard Initiative have featured VIP guests including former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama as well as a steady stream of top public health officials and scholars



"The pandemic has … underscored the reason why they world needs you to serve,," Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, chair of GAVI, the vaccine alliance, addressing HKS graduates.


  • The general election scenario that Democrats are dreading [Jason Furman] Politico

  • With Biden pulling ahead, the media must avoid repeating the mistakes of 2016 [Thomas Patterson] WGBH

  • Will universities adapt to the coronavirus pandemic? [Jeffrey Seglin] Al Jazeera

  • Pompeo's push to fire watchdog focuses attention on his transparency record [Nicholas Burns] CNN

  • Global recovery will be slow and painful [Ricardo Hausmann] Khaleej Times

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