Dear Students, Colleagues, & Friends of the Hart Leadership Program,

As we enter the fourteenth month of this global pandemic and many, though not all of us, receive our first and/or second immunization shots, we are grateful for the hopes, aspirations, and everyday know-how that has sustained us thus far through this remarkably challenging period.  As spring returns to Durham, I am also reminded of the joys and lessons of gardening and cultivation.  After hours attending meetings, teaching classes, or listening to students’ exciting project work on zoom each day, I have been eager and impatient to dig in the dirt and to plant tomatoes this past month. Too eager in fact. The abrupt cold snap that arrived on April Fools’ Day – and which frosted my tomatoes – reminded me of two things that gardening and leadership share: patience and a plan B.

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ESTD 1986

We're HLP.

The Hart Leadership Program challenges students to practice the art of leadership in public life. What is the art?  Lao-Tzu said it with minimal words: “With the best of leaders, when the work is done, the project completed, the people all say, ‘Amazing. We did it ourselves.'”  It’s taking on challenging work in groups, organizations, institutions and social systems–the kind of work that usually takes people beyond their comfort zones.  It requires courage, but it also builds it.  It tests us and forms us.  It helps us discover who we really are, and what we are capable of doing together, when we locate common purpose.  It’s about learning to ask big questions, and then hard questions.  It’s an art where groups become the unit of transformation, and where the right questions have the power to generate far more engagement and endurance than easy answers ever would.

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Political Engagement Project

PEP is a leadership initiative for Duke undergraduates interested in political engagement and includes coursework, support for summer internships, and mentoring.


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“Tony Brown came from the corporate world to become a Professor of the Practice at Sanford School of Public Policy in 1993. Tony’s approach centers on action-oriented learning that produces real results and challenges students to define their own moral fiber and values.”


Tony Brown

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News & Events

HLP students receive Duke leadership awards

Several current and former Hart Leadership Program-affiliated students won awards recognizing their achievements in leadership and service. Duke's annual "In The Spotlight" ceremony showcases individuals and organizations, nominated by members of the Duke community, whose influence has made a significant impact on University life and beyond. The students were honored at a ceremony on April…