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Benazir Bhutto Leadership Program

“Leadership is a commitment to an idea, to a dream, and to a vision of what can be.”   Benazir Bhutto, HR’73


ClassACT brings Harvard-Radcliffe Class of 1973 classmates together to address important local, national, and international issues by initiating and supporting positive change. Consistent with this mission, ClassACT has developed the Benazir Bhutto Leadership Program (BBLP) in honor of our classmate, the first female Prime Minister of Pakistan. 

Benazir Bhutto ClassACT

Using fellowships, relationship-building, and public education as our tools, the BBLP advances peace and human rights consistent with the principles--democracy, equality for women, reconciliation of religious and cultural differences, and education without gender or religious bias. While at Harvard-Radcliffe and later at Oxford, Benazir Bhutto came to value these principles as governing concepts essential to successful modern societies. We are working to accomplish our goals through identifying, educating, connecting and supporting promising leaders from predominantly Muslim countries who share these values. Since women are under-represented in public service and politics in this arc of Muslim majority countries, enhancing their lives, while improving their influence on public policy will be critical to our success.


Benazir Bhutto said: “While I was in America for those four years, I participated and observed in a miracle of democracy—I saw the power of people changing policies, changing leaders and changing history.” Now more than ever we feel the need to illuminate and promote the core principles that made the democracy Benazir Bhutto witnessed firsthand in America vibrant and strong. As she wrote about education without gender or religious bias, “Education is the first step to success, to independence and to a satisfying life.” On equality for women: “Today in this world, in the fight for the liberation of women, there can be no neutrality.” And on reconciliation of religious and cultural differences, “There has been enough pain. It is time.” public service and politics in this arc of Muslim majority countries, enhancing their lives, while improving their influence on public policy will be critical to our success.

  • To engage and support effective, creative individuals from predominantly Muslim countries  in the geographic space from Lebanon to Bangladesh who are committed to principle-based positive change.
  • To assist leaders from all sectors of these societies in acquiring  tools they can use to succeed in working with their countrymen and women to effect change.
  • To improve the American public’s cross-cultural understanding of leadership challenges within these countries.
  • To engage HR’73 classmates and others in addressing critical leadership issues
We expect the leaders we support to return to their home countries (or work in support of change from outside the country, if return is not an option) and apply what they have learned to introduce positive change. The program encourages the ongoing exchange of ideas among these leaders and classmates to further refine and advance each leader’s ability to catalyze reforms. BBLP Fellows and Associates benefit from the culture of Harvard’s Kennedy School f Government (HKS), the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs (WCIF), Harvard University, and the United States, and from the connections they make with other like-minded leaders from all over the world. In the initial years of the Program there is particular emphasis on attracting women to the Fellowships. Nonetheless, all aspects of the BBLP will be designed for women and men, who have demonstrated leadership potential, and who are open-minded, passionate, brave, and bold— to arm them with an education, a network, and a broad array of tools to address the needs of successful modern societies.

ClassACT believes that a residential, academic experience at Harvard offers opportunities not only for exposure to guidance and challenge from teachers and peers, but also the social immersion that creates lasting relationships. The fellowships support scholars enrolled in the Edward S. Mason Program (MC/MPA) of the Kennedy School of Government. For more information on the Mason Program, visit the MC/MPA Edward S. Mason Program webpage


Advisory Board

 Sanam Bhutto
 Kimball Chen
 Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović
 Al Franken
 Peter Galbraith
 Kathleen Kennedy-Townsend


Fellows

 Roohi Abdullah (2018-19)
 Natasha Jehangir Khan (2018-19)
 Nadia Rehman (2019-20)

Steering Committee

John Adams
 Ann Bailen Fisher
 Robert Bowie
 Rick Brotman
 Kimball Chen
 Marion Dry*
 Hamilton Fish
 Peter Galbraith
 Sallie Gouverneur*
 Leigh Hafrey*
 Terry Hunt

 Andrea Kirsh
 Barbara Brosius Lindsay

Stan Mark

 Bahman Mossavar-Rahmani*
 Carl Muller*
 George Putnam*
 Jonathan Sprague*
 Therese Steiner*
Holly Weeks


*ClassACT Board

The Network: The Network was created at the request of the first BBLP Associates. The BBLP Network is the working group of the Benazir Bhutto Leadership Program. It includes Associates and Fellows, the BBLP Steering Committee, the Mentor/Advisors, the ClassACT Board, and the Advisory Board. The connecting tissue of the Network is collaborative work to promote the BBLP mission. Strong relationship development is a cornerstone of the Network.

The Associates: Scholars studying in Harvard graduate programs who come from these regions and whose goals are aligned with the principles of this program have been and will be invited to participate in the Benazir Bhutto Leadership Program as Associates. Associates provide advice to shape the BBLP and help build a larger network of leaders, while at Harvard and later, in the field. They, like the Fellows, are part of the BBLP Network and will have access to the Mentor/Advisor program of BBLP. The Associates and Fellows provide collegiality, intellectual capital, and support to one another.

The Fellows: Those who have received the HKS ClassACT HR1973 Graduate Leadership Program Fellowship in Honor of Benazir Bhutto. Fellows provide advice to shape the BBLP and help build a larger network of leaders, while at Harvard and later, in the field. They, like the Associates, are part of the BBLP Network and will have access to the Mentor/Advisor program of BBLP. The Fellows and Associates provide collegiality, intellectual capital, and support to one another.

The Co-Curricular Program: Fellows and Associates may participate in the Co-curricular opportunities of the Benazir Bhutto Leadership Program. We offer to match the Fellows' and Associates’ interests and leadership development needs with appropriate HR73 classmates and their networks, to serve as advisors or mentors. Opportunities may include:

● Access to Orientation and program elements at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs

● HR73 classmate, HKS, and WCFIA facilitated connections in the US and other countries

● Access to advisors and mentors once Fellows and Associates have returned to their work/countries

● Group meetings with leaders, advisors, influence makers from HR73 and their networks

● Regular gatherings of Associates, while in Cambridge, to build personal relationships and share knowledge and experience

● Opportunities to attend conferences/events in other locations

Public Education: The BBLP public education component, developed with input from Fellows and Associates, promotes understanding in the American public as well as cross-cultural exchange emphasizing the core principles outlined above. This element may include presentations in conjunction with HKS and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, outreach to Harvard alumni, programs for children and teens, webinars, and social media campaigns.

NEWS: Come celebrate BBLP's newest fellow, Nadia Rehman! Click here to register for the reception!

Click here for Classmate and journalist Dick Friedman's write-up on our April 12th Weatherhead Assembly

What's Wrong with Democracy?

Excerpts from the 2016 BBLP Assembly

ClassACT HR ‘73
Classacthr73@gmail.com

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