Latino Leadership

Administration August 2021 PREMIUM
Needed For Critical Impact

Written by Akiesha Ortiz, Educator and Senior Program Manager, U.S. Latino Leadership Center for Public Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School

As of January 2021, 9% of the representatives in Congress identify as Latino while six (a record-high) hold senate seats.  With 19% of the United States population identifying as Latino or Hispanic, leadership must be developed and tapped for dynamic system-wide impact. Housed in Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership, the U.S. Latino Leadership Fellowship offers student leaders the opportunity to develop the skills needed for this change, while connecting multifaceted talents through community and experiential learning.

The U.S. Latino Fellowship is a powerful collective of multitalented graduate leaders representing the beauty, strength, and wisdom of the Latino community. From the Caribbean to South America, whether born stateside or gifts who join our country, our students include doctors, educators, and economists that bring stories and perspectives to the table as developing leaders.

“As a first-generation student from a low-income, immigrant background, the U.S. Latino Leadership Fellowship at CPL was one of the greatest supports and resources to me while attending HKS. The financial support, along with the vital importance of community with the other Latinx fellows—all dedicated and passionate about serving Latinx communities—was vital to my success at HKS. Undoubtedly, without this fellowship’s support, I would not have been able to attend HKS” Dr. Oscar Echeverria Gucumtzi, MPP ’21.

As our country continues to evolve, Latino leaders must engage and act to spur action and change. The Center for Public Leadership encourages you to learn more about our fellowship and the benefits of being part of a cohort of change agents.

The United States Latino Leadership Fellowship

U.S. Latino Leadership Fellows have addressed disparities in their communities through efforts in public policy, education, economic development, health care, immigration, social entrepreneurship, and a variety of other fields.

The U.S. Latino Leadership Fellowship is a game-changing opportunity for practitioners, scholars, and activists ready to lead the transformation of U.S. Latino and other underserved communities.

U.S. Latino Leadership fellows are leaders who:

•  Create sustainable change in underserved communities by leveraging community assets.

•  Inspire new ideas and innovative change in local and national programs and policies.

•  Build cross-sector partnerships and collaborations.

What we offer

The fellowship provides:

Full tuition scholarship, health care fees, and a living stipend for a master’s degree program at Harvard Kennedy School.

•  A  comprehensive co-curricular leadership development program set within the Harvard ecosystem—a robust network of faculty, students, and opportunity.

•  Engagement with mentors and highly accomplished leaders who will enhance your ability to impact the communities you serve.

The award

Up to four recipients each year will receive full tuition, health insurance, and a $25,000 annual stipend during their full course of study at Harvard Kennedy School (one to two years).


The fellowship is open to all admitted master’s degree program students at Harvard Kennedy School. This includes domestic students from underrepresented groups with an interest in business, medicine, law, education, and public health, who are encouraged to apply.

Applicants will be considered based on their leadership potential and demonstrated interest in reducing disparities in Latino and other underserved communities in the U.S. Successful candidates will also demonstrate excellent academic credentials.

The fellowship experience

Fellows will participate in a required yearlong co-curricular program designed by Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership. This not-for-credit program is intended to inspire, provide concrete opportunities for leadership skill-building, and connect fellows with an interdisciplinary network of peers and mentors that will last a lifetime.

The fellowship co-curricular program includes dinner seminars, an annual retreat, and robust field experiences grounded in discussions with visionary leaders whose work has had a significant impact on marginalized communities. The program will also focus on strengthening core competencies central to public leadership.

The co-curricular program also provides a hands-on leadership learning lab where fellows can workshop new ideas, problem-solve intractable challenges, and receive valuable feedback. Fellows play an active leadership role in driving programming that directly impacts their learning and that of their peers. When Fellows graduate, they join the ranks of over 600 innovative and highly accomplished CPL alumni who are forging transformative change across sectors.

The Center for Public Leadership gratefully acknowledges the generosity of the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust and the Coca-Cola Foundation for their support of the U.S. Latino Leadership Fellowship.  

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