Current Kistefos Fellows 2015/2016
Returning student Hanne spent the summer interning at Bayti Real Estate Investment Company in Rawabi and Ramallah, Palestine. There, she developed a launch strategy for Rawabi City’s entertainment park. Rawabi is the first planned city built for and by Palestinians in the West Bank. Its goal is to provide a new population center for Palestine and a new economic initiative that will contribute to permanent job generation and sustainable long-term growth for the Palestinian economy. Hanne contributed to the real estate investment company’s launch plan by conducting industry research, project financial analysis, and procurement, allowing her to draw on skills from both her MPA and MBA programs.
Value of HKS
Now back at HKS, Hanne says, “I would like to tackle societal problems and make a social impact from the private sector (like I did in Palestine this past summer), but I am looking for ways in which I may contribute to the Norwegian public sector by doing so.”
Andreas has spent the past decade focusing on conflict prevention and human rights. Throughout the years, his managerial responsibility has grown and his role has become more political. Until recently, he performed as a manager without formal theoretical competency, but he now sees a need to develop his managerial thinking as well as gain an increased political understanding to improve his capabilities as manager.
This realization became clear when he served as country director for Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) in Myanmar from 2011 to 2014.
“Much time and effort was spent navigating the fast-changing political landscape, trying to explore the new opportunities provided by the reform process in the country. As NPA engaged directly in the peace process—which was not without controversy—I needed to have a constant focus on political analysis, diplomacy, networking and media handling. I was asked to take over the country program of an international NGO with almost a thousand staff members, operating in the midst of a political quagmire in an African country. I declined, as I would like to attain more formal management skills prior to such a task. The degree offered by Harvard Kennedy School seems ideal, with the opportunity to combine relevant courses in management with courses in political theory and international relations.”
The value of HKS
“The program at Harvard would provide me with the opportunity to meet other professionals with similar experiences, albeit from different organizational and geographical contexts. I am eager to learn from the experiences of others, as well as to share my own. Additionally, I have always sought a good balance between management on the one hand and research and analysis on the other. I consider the two elements to be highly complementary and even codependent.”
Iver, who is a diplomat focused on peace issues at the Norwegian embassy in Havana, says his experience facilitating peace talks between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People’s Army (FARC) was eye opening. He saw the power of dialogue and negotiation in real time and his belief in humanity was reaffirmed as he observed how adversaries can work out differences by talking instead of fighting.
Additionally, Iver’s work with a team of Cuban diplomats became a learning experience on the importance of understanding and honoring different cultures and traditions. At the Norwegian embassy in Cuba, Iver held a high-level decision-making position that entailed significant financial responsibilities. As the head of development projects in Haiti, he managed financial support for projects in health, violence-reduction, and democracy-building, and he represented Norway at steering-committee meetings in the World Bank-managed Haiti Reconstruction Fund.
The value of HKS
At Harvard Kennedy School, Iver hopes to deepen his knowledge of negotiation, leadership, and financial management, and also “to become part of a community of talented people who work hard to make a difference in the world.
“Within five to ten years, I would like to represent my country in a multilateral institution, an experience highly appreciated in my organization. My long-term career goal is to become an ambassador for Norway, a country with a strong commitment to global development.”