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Back at Harvard, former Colombian president shares lessons of war, peace

Back at Harvard, former Colombian president shares lessons of war, peace

November 21, 2018

Juan Manuel Santos, the former president of Colombia and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize winner for his efforts to end more than 50 years of civil war in his country, has returned to Harvard.

This year, Santos is the Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), where he is sharing the lessons he learned as president and working on issues related to peace and reconciliation, poverty, human rights, and the environment.

Santos earned a mid-career master’s in public administration from HKS in 1981. He also was a Nieman Fellow in 1988, a year he said he still...

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A fond sendoff for former Harvard dean

A fond sendoff for former Harvard dean

November 20, 2018

At the beginning of last week’s faculty reception that celebrated Michael D. Smith’s deanship of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), Harvard President Larry Bacow joked about the long line of presenters — “47 of them” — prepared to offer praise and appreciation for the former leader.

Though the group actually taking the podium would in fact number only six, their shared stories resonated deeply with an audience who responded with extended applause and heartfelt laughter.

Bacow led the program with an anecdote about first meeting Smith at an honorary-degree dinner at Annenberg...

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Building bridges can foster cooperation between uncooperative groups

Building bridges can foster cooperation between uncooperative groups

November 7, 2018

When it comes to cooperation, science has shown, not all social networks are created equal.

While some have been shown to intrinsically lead to cooperation, other studies have suggested that certain structures not only lead to a breakdown in cooperation, they can produce outright spite.

But even in those most extreme cases, Harvard researchers say, it still may be possible to come back from the brink.

If those noncooperating communities can be loosely connected to each other or to larger social networks, it is possible for cooperation to emerge, according to a study co-...

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Wood receives Planck-Humboldt Medal

November 7, 2018

In the inaugural award ceremony held Wednesday in Berlin, Robert Wood, together with the American mathematician Sam Payne, received the Max Planck-Humboldt Medal, and British astrophysicist Catherine Heymans received the Max Planck-Humboldt Research Award.

The prestigious prizes, which are funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMFT), recognize extraordinary scientists with outstanding future potential.

As an electrical engineer and roboticist, Wood has made numerous critical contributions to the field of robotics, and specifically to the subfield of soft...

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And the election winner is: Whoever you think it is, analysts say

November 7, 2018

Partisans hoping to proclaim victory after Tuesday’s midterm elections got their wish: Democrats racked up enough wins to seize control of the House of Representatives in January for the first time since 2010, while Republicans added at least two seats to what was a slim advantage in the Senate.

That means it’ll be business as usual in the Senate, with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) remaining as majority leader, but a major realignment in the House, with Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) expected to return to her perch as speaker, with Democrats running the committees.

Though voters...

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Colleagues, friends mourn death of Harvard sociologist Devah Pager

November 7, 2018

Devah Pager, the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Sociology of Public Policy, died Friday at her home in Cambridge surrounded by family and friends. She was 46.

A pioneering scholar whose work deeply influenced thinking on mass incarceration and racial discrimination in employment, Pager also mentored dozens of students in their research and career ambitions.

“She was a force of nature who accomplished a superhuman quantity and quality of work in a tragically short amount of time, and her impact on scholarship and policy is hard to overstate,” said Jason Beckfield, chair of the...

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Harvard student pens manifesto on menstruation

Harvard student pens manifesto on menstruation

November 7, 2018

For Nadya Okamoto ’20, there has rarely been a time when life wasn’t unsteady.

Whether living with friends in high school during a time of financial instability for her family or amid her non-stop multitasking as a student/social entrepreneur/public speaker, the junior from Portland, Ore., is relentlessly searching for balance.

“I’m a work-hard-play-hard kind of person,” said Okamoto. “People assume because I’m Asian that I have a ‘tiger mother,’ but that’s not the case. I have no pressure from my mom around school or academics. She just...

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Changing temperatures are helping corn production in U.S. — for now

November 6, 2018

The past 70 years have been good for corn production in the Midwestern U.S., with yields increasing fivefold since the 1940s. Much of this improvement has been credited to advances in farming technology, but researchers at Harvard University are asking if changes in climate and local temperature may be playing a bigger role than previously thought.

In a new paper, researchers found that a prolonged growing season due to warmer temperatures, combined with the natural cooling effects of large fields of plants, have had a major contribution to improved corn production in the U.S.

“Our...

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