The 2014–2015 year was an excellent one for LIDS. Sarah and Beth managed a fantastic team to
complete exciting projects, host a successful symposium, hold a wide variety of events, build
LIDS Global, promote LIDS Live, honor amazing role models for International Women’s Day,
organize an impressive DC trip, and advocate for further development work opportunities at
HLS. We would be honored to continue their work, bring fresh ideas, and lead a creative,
dynamic Board. We look forward to hearing your goals for your respective areas and helping you
make them a reality. Our own priorities as Co-Presidents are to:
v Foster Initiative Through Decentralized Leadership
We hope to follow in Sarah and Beth’s footsteps by allowing Board members to take initiative in
areas that are personally exciting to them. Although we have specific goals for LIDS’s
development - outlined below - our highest priority is to allow the Board to have both the
flexibility and support to grow LIDS creatively. We believe that this mindset served LIDS well
last year, allowing several Board members to either create their own projects or to modify
existing ones in invigorating ways, through reading groups, the DC trip, and TII, for example.
When you come to us with ideas, we expect to be able to say: “Yes, go for it. How can we help?”
v Create Institutional Memory
While initiative can be decentralized, we plan to simultaneously centralize information gathering
and storage for the benefit of the current and future Boards. Strong institutional memory is key to
organizational durability, and we propose the following broad goals to help improve it:
Create specific expectations of the type of information each VP will record;
Centralize this information - the whole board should be able to know what LIDS knows,
rather than functioning as independent silos;
Make the process of accessing information intuitive.
v Grow the Campus Presence of LIDS
It is hard to believe that LIDS is such a young organization and we will continue the work of
previous Boards to increase the group’s visibility and engagement and to generate awareness
among students and professors. Strategies for honing our reputation and relationships include:
Feature professors at events more frequently;
Partner with students organizations, like SELA, SALSA, APALSA, HALA, etc. The
SELA partnership, in particular, is a pertinent, beneficial one that the Events VPs did a
great job building out this year.
1 •
Sponsor additional events. LIDS hosted many fantastic events this year. We will work to
ensure that LIDS is on the calendar every week, through lunch events but also through
smaller, more manageable coffee hours, trainings, etc.
We also propose a transitioning the Vice-Presidency of Communications to a Co-VicePresidency. One person would be solely in charge of creating relationships with external
publications, getting us published as widely as possible, and generating as much
interaction/engagement with our content as possible.
v Strengthen the LIDS Community
We hope to expand LIDS’s footprint, within the Harvard community, across other campuses, and
in public, non-academic, development spaces.
Within Harvard
HBS continues to be an opportunity waiting for us to grasp in earnest. There are plenty of
development-minded students with remarkable resources and skillsets/experiences
complementary to those of HLS, HKS, and Tufts students. Several steps can be taken to
increase HBS engagement, including:
Finding a motivated liaison as soon as possible;
Improving promotion of projects on the HBS campus;
Attending HBS student organizations fair at the beginning of the year;
Connecting with HBS professors working in development;
Hosting mixers.
While there are a variety of practical obstacles that make engagement with the College, GSD,
HSPH and HGSE more difficult, we also believe that institutionalizing specific mechanisms
for engaging students will allow us to maximize the potential of these schools (e.g. each Fall,
VPs of Projects should e-mail someone in the GSD administration to reach any students
interested in joining projects).
Other Universities
Opportunities also abound to help students at universities outside of Harvard and Tufts
access LIDS’s resources and contribute to our work. We have significant flexibility with
regard to choosing the universities where we reach out most actively, and deciding to what
extent we want to engage. When making these assessments, understanding what has made
our engagement with the Fletcher School so successful will be paramount.
Because there are so many schools in such close geographic proximity, one factor we plan to
consider carefully is existing contacts at a given school. Therefore, Suffolk Law School and
Boston College appear to be particularly attractive options. Expanding outside of the Bostonarea for engagement with LIDS Global (or otherwise), we might also consider Cornell and
Sciences Po, schools to which we will have connections.
2 Non-institutional engagement
Through publications via LIDS Global, the LIDS Live blog, and engagement with academics
and practitioners in public events, LIDS has begun to actively engage in public discourse on
a variety of development topics. We hope to continue this progress, using LIDS as a
mechanism for inspiring new ideas and debating difficult questions in the public domain. We
are confident that many mechanisms for achieving this end exist, and we hope to discuss this
with both the outgoing and incoming Boards. In the meantime, we will propose one idea that
interests us:
Community Forums: The LIDS website could have a community forum section. It would be
divided by theme or region, and within each forum, people across the world could post about
development topics. Others could respond. Good ideas would hopefully receive acclaim,
while those with less merit would simply attract less interest. This is a low-cost way to:
Create discourse;
Engage more people;
Raise LIDS’s profile;
Take advantage of our search engine optimization strength; and
Do something we do not see other student groups yet trying.
v Build Opportunities for Professional Development
This year, the Board put significant effort into a Global Development Clinic proposal. Although
the proposal could not be accepted, we want to maintain the momentum that we’ve created in
growing professional development opportunities for students. In particular, we will help to
organize externships, identify project work with existing clinics, collaborate with professors, and
continue to build the Trade Innovation Initiative. To coordinate and manage these approaches,
we propose the creation of a new Board position, the Vice-President of Professional
Despite the new position, professional development goals will include every vice-presidency.
Each semester, we hope to host several skills-building events, which have proven popular among
students and which offer good opportunities for collaboration and co-sponsorship with other
groups. For example, LIDS could organize blogging, op-ed writing, corruption investigation, and
communications trainings.
We can also continue to foster relationships with LIDS alumni by including them in the
yearbook and thinking about the best ways to share the yearbook widely.
There is a lot more where these ideas came from but we are eager to hear and act upon your own
thoughts for how to make LIDS even bigger and better next year. Thank you for your support
and we look forward to supporting you!