Dear Students, Alumni, Faculty and Friends

Greetings, welcome to the Hart Leadership website, and thank you for 24 great years. I am filled with gratitude as I retire from Duke. In a special tribute at my retirement symposium, one of my former students, Ishan Thakore, told an engaging story about our adaptive leadership approach, which I share with you here:

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Stories from the HART
To honor the 30th anniversary of our program, we created a Story Quilt to capture the leadership journeys of a few of the 12,000+ members of our community.
Updated Stories!
Tony Brown Developing Leaders for the Real World

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.

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Robert Korstad Rooted in History and Activism

Robert Korstad, Professor of Public Policy Studies and History, served as director of Hart Leadership Program from 1995-2001. He was instrumental in the creation of Service Opportunities in Leadership (SOL) and the Hart Fellows Program.

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Alma Blount Stories With Purpose

Alma Blount was director of the Hart Leadership Program from 2001 to 2018. She began teaching adaptive leadership at Duke in 1994, and applied her interests in politics, narrative writing, and systems thinking to the way she ran Service Opportunities in Leadership.

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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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Service Opportunities In Leadership

SOL is an intensive 12-month leadership program for Duke undergraduates that combines academic study, research service learning, mentoring, and leadership training.


The Hart Fellows Program

The Hart Fellows Program offers recent Duke graduates ten-month fellowships with international humanitarian organizations.


Enterprising Leadership Initiative

ELI challenges undergraduates and alumni to make positive contributions to society and to pursue innovative ideas that enhance communities.


Research Service-Learning Pathway

The RSL Pathway fuses research, service and critical reflection with core public policy courses.

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“My constant concern with what was the right thing to do kept me in the domain of applied ethics, striving often to apply the ethical theories I had so studiously examined in my theological studies to real-life issues and dilemmas.”


Saved for a Purpose

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