Harvard Meets the Hills

Whitesburg, Kentucky – A group of Harvard Kennedy School Center for Public Leadership Fellows traveled to the Bluegrass State in mid January with their sights set on Appalachia. With the help of donors, the Kennedy School Fellows were able to embark on trips around the world, experiencing the complexities of different, and often unheard, cultures to take back and implement in their findings in potential fields of work and study. On January 17th, the Fellows visited Whitesburg and engaged in a wide ranging discussion with Appalshop staff and community leaders about challenges and opportunities in the region.

“At its core, the raison d’être of the Center for Public Leadership (CPL) is to provide the tools necessary for the next generation of ardent public servants to assume the mantle of responsible leadership. Fellows of CPL, past and present, have distinguished themselves as being among the most promising of their generation—having the capacity to assume this mantle—and are to be commended. Our mission during their time at CPL is to transform latent capacity into future action by providing the knowledge, experiences, and hands-on leadership learning enabling them to operate and contribute on stages both national and international,” says CPL Executive Director Barbara Best

Around 30 Harvard Fellows visited Appalshop for a tour of the facilities, spoke live on WMMT 88.7 FM, had a dinner catered by Hemphill Catering Co., and attended a health panel. The Health panel members included 2017 Country Doctor of the Year, Van Breeding, Evan Smith of the Appalachian Citizens Law Center, Valerie Horn of the Letcher County Famers’ Market and Appalshop filmmaker Mimi Pickering. Topics of the panel ranged from health administration, environmental issues, rises in Black Lung cases and policy changes.