Contract Programs

Executive Education creates a limited number of contract training programs for select organizational clients with unique circumstances. Each program is tailored to meet specific needs, but uses the same high-level curriculum, expert faculty, and powerful teaching methods that have established Harvard Kennedy School as a world-class provider of executive education and training programs. Contract programs have been designed for organizations seeking to:

  • Implement strategic change within an organization
  • Forge a common understanding of policy and management principles across organizational management
  • Create partnerships among the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

Executive Education has utilized a variety of delivery models for contract programs with organizations and governments. Current and past contract program partners include the United States Centers for Disease Control, the Government of India, the Wallace Foundation, and the Development Research Foundation of China, and the World Economic Forum.

Please see below for details on a selection of contract programs offered by Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education.

State, Local, and Nonprofit Portfolio

Achieving Excellence in Community Development

This program, designed especially for NeighborWorks America, is for seasoned executive directors in community development. During three, short modules of formal coursework at Harvard Kennedy School, participants focus in succession on individual leadership strategies, organizational leadership strategies, and on making an impact in the field of community development. Small groups work together with coaches in the six-month period between each formal course. The entire group also presents a workshop to colleagues in the field in the NeighborWorks Training Institute at the end of their program. What makes this program truly unique - and truly customized - is that the directors who participate bring with them their own significant organizational challenges and work toward making progress on them over the 18-month program. The focus is on seeing real results for real issues. Performance management frameworks are at the center of the program.

The program faculty includes associates of Harvard Kennedy School's Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations, Joint Center for Housing Studies, Center for Public Leadership. and MIT's Community Problem-Solving Project. Christine Letts, Rita E. Hauser Lecturer in the Practice of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership and Senior Associate Dean for Executive Education, is the Faculty Chair.

National Hispana Leadership Institute

The National Hispana Leadership Institute is the premier leadership training organization for mid-career professional Latinas. The organization's mission is to develop Hispanas as ethical world leaders through training, professional development, relationship building, and community and world activism. Each year, NHLI selects approximately 25 fellows from both the public and private sectors, to participate in a series of four, one-week leadership development seminars spanning nine months in four cities. The weeklong module held at Harvard Kennedy School is called "Effective Change through Public Policy and Management." In addition to case-based learning sessions, participants work closely with Harvard Kennedy School faculty members to develop improved individual leadership strategies. Harvard Kennedy School has been affiliated with the NHLI Fellows Program since 1988. Linda Kaboolian, Lecturer in Public Policy, is the Faculty Chair.

Leadership for New State Health Officials

The chief health official in a state's health department holds one of the most demanding positions in government, being responsible for ensuring that the public health system is effective and solid in a rapidly changing and often-tumultuous health care and political environment. To succeed, these state health officials (SHOs) need to blend their expertise in policymaking and the political system with the scientific knowledge of public health.

The State Health Leadership Initiative (SHLI), a program supported by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is designed for SHOs to become better administrators, policy makers, and protectors of the public's health. As part of a dynamic, two-year program, participants interact with several key organizations. To start, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) conducts an orientation visit with each new SHO, and oversees a mentoring program which pairs SHLI participants with an experienced colleague who serves as a mentor during the first year of his or her tenure. ASTHO also conducts two SHLI networking meetings, and maintains information about SHLI, state health officials, and national resources on

Our part in Executive Education is a weeklong summer seminar with a curriculum designed to meet the unique needs of new state health officials, focusing on teaching participants how to develop effective leadership and communications strategies. Personalized skill-building assessment services are also provided to participants, who include the administration and interpretation of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and a 360 evaluation designed specifically for state health officials.

Seventy One state health officials have participated in the Initiative since it began in 1998. Three members of the first class continue as state health officials today. Arn Howitt, the faculty co-chair of the Leadership in Crises Program and Executive Director of the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation, and Faculty Co-Director, Program on Crisis Leadership is the faculty chair.

National Security Portfolio

Black Sea Security Program

Each year, Executive Education at Harvard Kennedy School hosts international and domestic representatives for the Black Sea Security Program. This program brings together senior policymakers and academic experts in national security affairs in the United States with key leaders from the Black Sea region at Harvard, to gain a deeper understanding of issues affecting the region and to encourage problem-solving in areas of common interest.

The program is directed to those in senior policy-making positions in the Black Sea region who will be in office for the next ten to fifteen years and it seeks to engage those officials with a breadth of responsibility and a wider vision of their governments' concerns. The program aims to enhance the understanding of these national security elites of the multiplicity of common interests and shared problems in the region. For similar reasons, the U.S. Department of Defense assigns U.S general officers to the session who have knowledge of the region's strategic issues. Each program class includes about twenty to twenty-five senior national security officials from the region and eight to ten U.S. general officers who are regional specialists.

The curriculum of the program is targeted specifically at the concerns of senior military officers, civilian officials, and leading academic experts and writers on national security affairs in five core countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. In recognition of the new strategic and economic relationships that are developing in the region, the program also addresses salient strategic and economic security issues of the other regional powers: Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Slovenia, and Turkey. Senior officials from these nations are included in the program.

For more information, please visit

U.S. - Russia Security Program

The U.S.¬ Russia Security Program began in 1991 as the Russian Generals program, with the goal of providing Russian general officers a neutral environment for the discussion of national security issues. With the addition of U.S. counterparts in 1997, the program acquired a new meaning, becoming a forum for open communication between U.S. and Russian militaries. Since its inception, 285 Russian general officers and 140 U.S. general officers have completed the program.

The program aims to:

  • Deepen the understanding of both Russian and U.S. participants’ worldviews through open discussion of global and regional security issues, defense organization, and military reform.
  • Discuss the national interests of Russia and the U.S.
  • Pinpoint specific ways to cooperate on issues of interest to both countries, while working to minimize the division and discord arising from secondary issues
  • Encourage casual interaction between U.S. and Russian general officers, thereby promoting development of trust and understanding

For more information, please visit

Copyright © 2014 The President and Fellows of Harvard College