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Leadership, Organizing and Action: Leading Change

Program Session(s):
February 5, 2018 - May 20, 2018

Application Deadline(s):
December 5, 2017

Program Fee: $2,100

Program Type: Online Course

This program qualifies for an Executive Certificate.

Faculty Chair: Marshall Ganz

Program Director: James Brockman

Course Overview | Sample Organizing Project | Information about Marshall Ganz | Testimonials


** Click here to receive an e-mail notification when the 2018 application is available **

Leadership, Organizing and Action: Leading Change is an online opportunity to learn how to organize communities to mobilize their resources to create the power they need to make change. Effective organizing requires learning to identify, recruit, and develop leadership, build community around that leadership, and build power from the resources of that community.

This course offers a unique opportunity to learn on line by interacting with leaders of civic associations, social movements, advocacy groups and nonprofits around the world and Professor Marshall Ganz of Harvard Kennedy School. Professor Ganz and his associates have coached people to use community organizing and leadership practices in social movements, electoral campaigns, community organizing, classroom instruction, workshops, lectures, writing – and now Executive Education Online.

Watch alumni of Leadership, Organizing, and Action tell the story of how they got involved in organizing, what brought them to the course, and their takeaways after completing the program. Visit Faculty Chair Marshall Ganz's "Leading Change Network" YouTube channel to view additional videos featuring alumni of the online program.


As reflective practitioners, participants in this program will learn from critical analysis of their leadership of an organizing project for which they are responsible. An organizing project requires (a) mobilizing a constituency to (b) collaborate with each other, to (c) achieve a real change. Students learn why this approach is most effective in addressing problems of power: enabling people to mobilize the power/resources they need to solve their problems by working together or by challenging others who hold power over them. A successful organizing project solves a community problem, creates new community capacity, and develops new community leadership. Please find below an example from our class last year.

LOA 2012 Sample Case Study

VIDEO: Watch a session of Leadership, Organizing, and Action, and hear from participants in this past year's program discuss their organizing projects - a key aspect of the online program's curriculum.


Marshall Ganz on Organizing and Mobilization
Harvard Kennedy School PolicyCast
Posted on March 26, 2014
Click here to listen/download the podcast


Read about a past participant's experience from beginning to end of Leadership, Organizing and Action.

“The most unexpected part of the course was being challenged to think about and have reaffirmed what calls me to organise. This course gave me some of the most complex and challenging things to build in leadership and change work - hope, solidarity, unity and motivation. It was an honour to work with campaigners from all over the world, some dealing with life and death issues, and learn from them and be inspired by them through learning from their challenges, wins and mistakes. Hearing and learning from their stories will stay with me for life. And inform my work too."

- Katie Wiggins (Australia, National Tertiary Education Union) - LOA Participant

"I enjoyed the friendly environment which was offered even though it was online. Consulting hours with Marshall were great and personal. What I liked the most was that the answer was not given to us, but we had to come up with the answer through our reflection papers. My teaching fellow was always available for a consultation. She was open, friendly and constructive during our class sessions.”

- Magdaléna Karvayová (Czech Republic, Open Society Fund) - LOA Participant

“Though I have boundless respect for Marshall Ganz, I confess that I enrolled in Leadership, Organizing, and Action with some skepticism and serious questions. Within the first session, all my concerns were alleviated and I felt a tremendous sense of relief, gratitude - and even awe. I quickly realized that LOA was designed with deep attention to creating an experiential and multifaceted pedagogy, one in which lessons are explored and reinforced through reading, writing, listening to Marshall’s real-time lectures, coaching, group projects - and through testing and applying the learning to one’s practicum. Not only were my concerns about the pedagogy put to rest, but the material far exceeded my expectations - in quantity and quality (particularly in depth).”

- Michael Gagne (USA, Envision Peace Museum and the Earth Quaker Action Team) - LOA Participant


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