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HPSD is now the Harvard Forum for International Development (HFID)



We have changed our name to more accurately reflect our mission and spirit as the premiere international development group at Harvard College.

The concern was this – are we staying true to the words in our name? Are we considered a “Project”? Are our international programs truly “Sustainable”? If so, under what definition of sustainability? As HPSD’s involvement with its flagship Nicaragua program came to a close when we picked up the reins of leadership, we believed our tenure was an ideal juncture to launch a new and improved HPSD.

After many drawn-out discussions and brainstorming, our exec board ultimately voted to change our name to the Harvard Forum for International Development last semester. “Forum” because we value intellectual discussion through content pieces as well as critical exchanges of opinion on the morality and power relations inherent in our own international projects. “International Development” because we encompass wide-ranging subjects and projects from global health to microfinance, from education to humanitarian aid. Taken together, our new name more appropriately fits our identity; HFID facilitates critical discussion and action in international development grounded on a humble commitment to ethics.

HFID Fall 2012 in Review


HFID’s Continuing Partnerships

Kasiisi Project in Uganda:

  • Project teams addressing school nutrition and mobile health clinic.
  • Anticipated projects in agriculture, conservation, women’s empowerment, financial literacy.
  • Team trips to Uganda planned for Summer 2013

Lead Us Today in Zimbabwe:

  • Fundraising Dinner Reception (December 5). Donations directed to LUT’s leadership training of Zimbabwean high school students.

HFID Starting New Partnerships with:

VOA in San Paulo, Brazil

  • Teaching math, astronomy, and physics to public high school students in Brazil for Scientific Olympiads

Microfinance Initiative

  • New project approved for 2013! Visit our International Programs page to learn more.

Fall 2012 Forum: “Delivering Humanitarian Aid in Times of Crisis” (November 8th)

Funding from Harvard Global Health Institute Grant


  • Dr. Hilarie Cranmer (Director of Education at Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Harvard School of Public Health)
  • Michael Delaney (Director of Humanitarian Response, Oxfam America)
  • Jon Shaffer (Community Engagement Coordinator, Partners in Health)

How do humanitarian organizations effectively deliver humanitarian aid in areas of crisis?  How do NGOs react to delicate political situations?  How do aid workers react to tenuous circumstances? Our panelists shared their experiences in the field – coordinating aid in regions of civil conflict, natural disasters, and political instability – and offered a frank perspective on the challenges and downfalls that organizations are confronted with when delivering aid and medical services to developing countries.

International Service Preparation Series (ISPS) for Harvard College Students (November 4 and 11)

Co-sponsored by the Phillip Brooks House Association


  • A two-part interactive seminar series giving students traveling abroad for J-term the tools to prepare for, reflect on, and impact-evaluate their travels.

Luncheons with Guest Speakers

  • Dr. Brian Swann, DDS, MPH. Chief of Oral Health Services, Harvard School of Dental Medicine Clinical Instructor, (October 5)
  • Patrick Hamm, PhD. Harvard Lecturer on Sociology, (November 2)

Content Pieces

  • Included case studies on PlayPumps, TOMS Campaign; meaning of the poverty line; development economics; population aging and its effect on international development

HPSD 2011-2012 Year in Review

Co-Host of 2011 Millennium Campus Network (MCN) Harvard Conference (September 16-18)

HPSD helped plan and coordinate the 2011 MCN Harvard Conference attended by over a 1,000 students worldwide and led a workshop on “Creating Community Partnerships”

Co-Sponsor of “Establishing Peace, Security, and Justice after Conflict: Perspectives from the UN” with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (September 27)

United Nations Development Program officials discussed their experiences and the challenges they face developing policy and implementing programs to address peace, security, and justice in post-conflict societies. Featured Sofia Candeias, Chief of the Access to Justice Project in DRC at UNDP’s Bureau of Crisis Prevention and Recovery, and Roma Bhattacharjea, Senior Gender Advisor for UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery.

Co-Host of “Re-imagining Accompaniment: Global Health and Liberation Theology” with Partners in Health (PIH) (October 24)

HPSD co-hosted a live screening on campus featuring a dialogue with Rev. Gustavo Gutierrez, John Cardinal O’Hara Professor of Theology and Kellogg Institute Faculty Fellow, and Dr. Paul Farmer, Kolokotrones University Professor at Harvard University and Founder of Partners in Health

Dinner with John Hammock, Former Director of Oxfam America (October 25)

HPSD presented an informal discussion of international development with John Hammock of Tuft’s Fletcher School, author of “Practical Idealists: Changing the World and Getting Paid,” and former director of Oxfam America.

Co-Sponsor of “Explore Careers with NGOs: Panel and Mixer” with the Office of Career Services (March 27)

Panelists discussed their work at various non-governmental organizations including Partners in Health, Amnesty International, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy, and AMIGOS de las Americas. After the panel, an informal mixer provided an excellent opportunity to continue talking with panelists as well as other individuals with experiences at NGOs.

HPSD Spring 2012 Panel: “What is Sustainable Development” (April 13)


  • John Briscoe (Professor of the Practice of Environmental Health at School of Public Health, Professor of the Practice of Environmental Engineering at SEAS)
  • Clifford Lo (Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition at School of Public Health, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at HMS)
  • Robert Paarlberg (Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College, Associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs)

Our panelists discussed what sustainability means in each of their fields (engineering, pediatrics, and agriculture) and answered questions posed by our moderator and the audience. This topic is of particular concern to our organization because one of our two main purposes is to increase on-campus awareness about issues in development, and though most experts agree that it is important for economic development to be sustainable, sustainability is defined differently in different fields.

Luncheons with Guest Speakers

Michael Kremer, Gates Professor of Developing Societies in the Department of Economics at Harvard University, (February 27)

Lant Pritchett, Professor of the Practice of International Development at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, (March 28)

Nathan Nunn, Paul Sack Associate Professor of Political Economy at Harvard University, (March 7)

Kristin Sulewski, M.Ed. Candidate in International Education Policy at Harvard Graduate School of Education, (November 18)

Julia Cage, PhD Candidate in Economics at Harvard University, (February 13)

Anshul Kumar, Graduate student in Sociology at Harvard University, (April 4)

Two-part International Service Preparation Series (ISPS) for Harvard College Students (April 25-26)

The purpose of these workshops are to begin a discussion on how to develop projects in partnership with communities. ‪Working in partnership with communities and building relationships in a way that fosters mutuality is an essential aspect of development work. Only once a firm relationship focused on mutuality, equality, and trust has been established should a group begin to think about projects. Also important in development work is integrating your experience into your everyday life. How do you represent your experience at home? How do you gauge whether or not you have accomplished your mission when you arrive back home? These workshops included discussion on articles such as Ivan Illich’s “To Hell with Good Intentions” and topics including the ethicality of randomized controlled trials as well as an interactive malaria project simulation.

Fundraiser at UNO Chicago Grill in Harvard Square (April 21)

HPSD raised funds through UNO’s doughraiser with a percentage of bills donated directly to HPSD’s international programs.

Continuing Partnership with Lead Us Today in Zimbabwe

Lead Us Today is a registered non-profit in Zimbabwe whose mission is to inspire, mobilize and empower young Zimbabweans to lead development efforts in their communities. Lead Us Today achieves its mission by partnering with high schools and providing leadership training. Students are organized in clubs in which they design and implement community development projects of their own design and choosing. In one year, Lead Us Today has trained 118 students in 8 high schools who have mobilized over 400 of their peers in completing 16 service projects including cleaning campaigns, orphanage visits, and HIV/AIDS patient nutritional programs. In all, students in our program have invested over 15,000 hours in five communities and impacted close to 1,200 people.

Lead Us Today was awarded an Honorable Mention in the 2012 I3 Harvard College Innovation Challenge.

Started New Partnership with the Kasiisi Project in Uganda

In Uganda, only 15% of students attend secondary school. Most girls are unable to complete primary school. The Kasiisi Project builds primary schools, funds higher education scholarships, trains teachers, promotes literacy with books and computers, provides school lunches daily, runs a girls support program, and encourages conservation education.

Partners in Health thank Roses for Haiti team for donation

Partners in Health just sent HPSD a thank you letter about the Roses for Haiti contribution. Earlier this semester HPSD donated $3,315 to PIH which it raised through a campus-wide fundraiser on Valentine’s Day.

We wanted to share this letter with those of you who sold, trimmed, delivered and purchased those roses. Thank you all.

Take a look:

Join us for a panel discussion on Measuring Success in Development

Measuring Success in Development

While project evaluation is crucial for any development project, there is still much controversy over how it should be conducted. Panelists will discuss what kinds of metrics are used in the field today, how “success” is determined, and what challenges arise in determining success.

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Pizza and Mike’s Pastries will be provided!

Moderated by:
- Steven Bloomfield: Executive Director, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs

- John Hammock: Associate Professor of Public Policy at Tufts; Former President of Oxfam America; Former Director of ACCION International
- Salmaan Keshavjee: Chair of the WHO Green Light Committee; Assistant Professor at the Harvard Medical School; Physician at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital
- Clifford Lo: Director of the Harvard Human Nutrition Program; Medical Education Coordinator of the Harvard Medical School Division of Nutrition
- Marc Shotland: Director of Training and Senior Research Manager at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab
- Andrew Thorne-Lyman: Former Programme Advisor to the United Nations World Food Programme