Principal, Holly Weeks Communication
Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
I've been with the ClassACT mob on the Benazir Bhutto program since its inception, bringing along a gang of my Pakistani Kennedy School students who are deeply invested in it. We have our first Benazir Bhutto Fellows at HKS this fall (applause here) and the gang is so committed and impatient to do more, that our mob is kind of leading from behind at some points, which is perfect.
I got to go to the NOLA get-together benefiting Justice Aid, Roots of Music, and Ole and Nu Fellas Social Club/neighborhood mentoring, and danced beside the Mississippi to a blues musician playing House of the Rising Sun, then danced and laughed in a second line parade with our classmates. Did I mention the music and the dancing?
I got to moderate a panel at the Assembly Leadership in the Muslim World: What would Benazir Do? and got to watch classmates interact with our young, dynamic Bhutto Associates. At a reception at Peter Galbraith's house afterward, we talked and laughed so much we barely ate and wouldn't leave.
I got to go to the JusticeAid Concert in Washington DC where the Class of '73 cohort was witty and delightful. The music was so good we were inhaling it--and it wasn't our first rodeo, right?. But it was the first dinner concert I've ever been to where the speakers were as good as the music. That's saying a lot, considering I teach that kind of thing at the Kennedy School, and I'm such a critic. Bonhomie all around, all evening.
Northern Illinois Professor Emerita of Anthropology
I work on tracking down foundations that might support the Bhutto Leadership Program. I spend a few hours a month doing something that I did regularly when I was always looking for funding for my own research. I’ve already found that there are very few programs like the Bhutto Leadership Program and that it fills a tremendous need by providing opportunies for Muslim professional women to network, learn and become recognized leaders. The hunt for funding puts me in touch with classmates who I may not have known well, or at all as an undergrad, but whose efforts I admire and whose goals I share. Building Class Act and the Bhutto program shows that we are still capable of making a difference.
Emily Fields Karakashian
Personnel Coordinator at the Meher School
I’ve loved being involved with ClassACT. I’ve been able to reconnect with classmates in ways that are both delightful and meaningful. It has brought much-needed expertise to the organization I volunteer with, White Pony Express. And it’s provided ways to use our talents and experience to benefit hundreds of people across the country and beyond.
Political Analyst and Commentator at wallstreetdemocrat.com
Thanks to the ClassACT initiative, I attended a scintillating discussion on the U.S. prison system that was held at the Harvard Club in New York City. About 20 classmates attended the dinner; I knew half of them. Some of the participants had worked in the criminal justice system, as lawyers and judges. Most of us had not.
No matter. As the wine flowed, so did the ideas and the debates. I think we all left the dinner with a clearer understanding of the deeply flawed nature of our system—which is remarkably focused on punishment, rather than on rehabilitation, compared to Western European countries—and the racial issues underlying our policies toward criminals.
I also learned, to my chagrin, that politicians in the great state of New York were instrumental in creating the draconian sentencing standards for drug offenses that have helped cause incarceration rates to skyrocket.
I am very grateful to the classmates who sponsored this evening, which was one of the most stimulating I have experienced since our last reunion. If nothing else, Harvard folks know how to talk!