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

In 1949, the great American poet Langston Hughes published a short poem called “Freedom” that directly analogized democracy to a garden. “Freedom is a strong seed,” Hughes wrote, “Planted in a great need.”  The need for a genuine democracy, nurtured by a clear-eyed understanding of history and transformation, has never been greater, even as foundational rights seem to evaporate with the stroke of a Justice’s pen.  As a lifelong gardener, teacher, and democracy advocate, I have come to appreciate that roots and soil are as important as blooms when cultivating public-minded leadership.  That insight gives me hope even now when this thing we call Democracy seems not to be working.

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Announcing the 2022-23 Hart Fellows

The Hart Leadership Program is proud to announce the 2022-23 Hart Fellows. Since 1995, the Hart Fellows Program has provided recent Duke graduates with the opportunity to partner with community-based organizations for a 10-month immersive experience, where fellows conduct community based participatory research projects in collaboration with their host organizations, while simultaneously developing their own…

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2020-2021 Annual Report

Our mission is to create inclusive and innovative co-curricular programs for students who seek to practice and embody leadership in their public lives. We encourage them to create leadership as a public good by exploring their own aspirations and ambitions while learning to collaborate with community partners and change makers who together make leadership inclusive, enduring, and democratic. When students engage in this practice of community-based engagement and public service, they ask questions that inform lifelong passions dedicated to making the world a better and more just place.

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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. FOO

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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…