09 Sep

Dear Students, Alumni, Faculty and Friends

Welcome to our new website. As we approach our 30th anniversary, we in the Hart Leadership Program are proud of the fact that more than 10,000 undergraduates at Duke have taken our leadership classes, or participated in our experiential learning programming around the world. Our core faculty has been here for over two decades. Why is it that we still have a passion for teaching and mentoring? Why is it that many of our former students still stay in touch, sending us updates about their lives and the leadership lessons they continue to learn in their work and in their roles as engaged citizens? What is the special spirit of this program?

We’ve designed this website to try to tell the story more completely. It is a work in progress, and we need your help. If you have been part of the leadership development process here, you know it is a story about formation. It is a story about getting out into the world, learning how to read complex contexts, take risks, build relationships, and form community.  It is about learning to work with conflict productively, dealing with differences, and engaging others in difficult work. It is about opening our eyes to life on the planet right now, locating a sense of purpose, finding our voices, and taking action.

We have never shown much interest in tooting our own horns, and we see no reason to head in that direction now. What we do want to do, though, is a better job of telling the story of what this program is all about, what we mean by leadership for public life, and why it is worth the time and effort to cultivate it as a lifelong practice.  What do we mean by leadership?  How do we try to teach it? Why does it matter? Why has our program been able to generate such a vibrant sense of community? Why and how has it been connected to such a diverse array of compelling, creative projects during the past three decades? Why and how has our educational model been adapted to such a cool collection of programs here at Duke, and beyond?

So here is a start. We are launching this website to share the story in a more robust way. Stay tuned as we continue to build the site this year. If you are one of our current or former students, we hope you will connect with us by adding ideas for a digital story quilt via the “Stories” section of the website, or attend one of the gatherings described in the “Network” section. Come back and visit the site again as we add more content, and help us reflect upon the values and practices that continue to shape our work together.


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