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Harvard Kennedy School

Leadership, Organizing and Action: Leading Change

Leadership, Organizing and Action: Leading Change
Feb 10—May 25, 2020
USD 2200

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Effective organizing requires an understanding of how to identify, recruit and develop leadership, build community around that leadership and harness the power from the resources of that community.

Leadership, Organizing and Action: Leading Change is an online executive program designed to help you learn how to organize communities that can mobilize power to make change.

Designed by Harvard Kennedy School, this 15-week online program offers a unique opportunity for those involved in organizing projects around the world to interact with others engaged in similar efforts, including leaders of civic associations, social movements, advocacy groups and nonprofits.

Organize Your Community to Enact Needed Change

Professor Marshall Ganz, Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, and his associates teach this online executive program about how to be a change leader. An expert in this area, Professor Ganz has coached people across the globe on how to use community organizing and leadership practices in social movements, electoral campaigns, community organizing, classroom instruction, workshops, lectures and writing.

Leadership, Organizing and Action will teach you how to:

  • Enable others to achieve shared purpose under conditions of uncertainty.
  • Develop leadership, build community around that leadership and turn resources of that community into the power to achieve change.
  • Develop your public narrative: story of self, story of us, story of now.
  • Learn the difference between organizing and mobilizing and why it takes organizing to create real change.


Leadership, Organizing and Action: Leading Change is a 15-week online program led by Professor Marshall Ganz. Presented through an engaging online platform, the program focuses on leadership and learning through live lectures, readings, discussions, reflection exercises and an organizing project.


We define leadership as accepting responsibility to enable others to achieve purpose in the face of uncertainty. This program explores how leadership is exercised using these practices:

  • Public narrative
  • Building relationships
  • Structuring leadership teams
  • Strategizing
  • Action

Learning: Organizing Projects

One key part of the program is your own critical analysis of your capacity to lead an organizing project. An organizing project requires (a) mobilizing a constituency to (b) collaborate with each other to (c) achieve a real change. You and your peers will learn why this approach is the most effective in addressing problems of power. You'll also learn the value of enabling people to mobilize the power/resources they need to solve their problems. How do they do that? By working together or by challenging others who hold power over them.

Who should attend

This program is designed for global leaders who are conducting real-life organizing projects that support their organization’s ongoing work.

Recommended applicants include:

  • Members of civic, social and political organizations
  • Nonprofit and NGO executives
  • Union leaders
  • Individuals working for advocacy groups and other social movements


Marshall Ganz grew up in Bakersfield, California, where his father was a Rabbi and his mother, a teacher. He entered Harvard College in the fall of 1960. He left a year before graduating to volunteer with the 1964 Mississippi Summer Project. He found a “calling” as an organizer for the Student No...

Next dates

Feb 10—May 25, 2020
USD 2200

How it works

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