Policy

Climate change is the existential challenge of our time. My passion for climate and sustainability policy, especially at the municipal level, is grounded in my desire to strengthen transatlantic relations and make governance more democratic and inclusive.

PAE Cover.png
KSR Cover Image.png
Strasbourg Report Cover.png

For my Policy Analysis Exercise (master's thesis) at the Harvard Kennedy School, I worked with the City of Helsinki to develop a strategy for stakeholder engagement in the Helsinki Energy Challenge, a €1 million competition for innovative solutions that will allow Helsinki to decarbonize its district heating system. In Helsinki, I conducted 18 interviews with government officials, industry stakeholders and civil society.‚Äč My 43-page report includes a literature review, conceptual framework, qualitative analysis of the interviews, and a set of 15 recommendations prioritized based on evaluative criteria.

Screen Shot 2020-07-01 at 2.51.30 PM.png

In June 2020, I published an op-ed, "With Green Participatory Budgeting, Racial Justice and Climate Justice Go Hand in Hand" in Gotham Gazette. In the piece, I make the case for a green recovery in New York City featuring a participatory budget focused on climate change, which "would represent a strong investment in New York communities most affected by COVID-19 and racism — which are often the same communities most vulnerable to the effects of climate change."

I served as a managing editor for the Kennedy School Review's 20th anniversary print issue, Democracy Displaced: Reimagining Policy for the Next Decade. As the pandemic rightly consumes our attention, we urgently need creative solutions for all the other policy issues — climate, democracy, immigration, the global economy, privacy, cities, criminal justice and more. The 32 pieces in this journal, written by Kennedy School students and outside experts, aim to contribute to that dialogue.

DW Screen Shot.png

I was interviewed live on German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle following Chancellor Angela Merkel's commencement address at Harvard in May 2019. I spoke about the speech's implications for transatlantic relations and climate action. A clip of the interview is in the YouTube video above, and I was quoted in a DW article that ran in German and other languages.

I was selected to participate in the Innovation Policy Internship Program organized by the Embassy of France in the United States and the Consulate General of France in Boston in June and July 2019. The program brings together American and French students to offer innovative solutions for the French public sector. My internship with the City and Eurométropole of Strasbourg tackled the following challenge: "How to better engage all citizens, in particular the most isolated, to contribute to public policymaking?" In the above video, I explain my interest in the program.

Over the course of my internship with the Conseil de Développement of Strasbourg, I produced a 96-page report recommending methods to reinvigorate participatory democracy, including a participatory budget at the level of the metropolitan area. The report focuses on social groups that are traditionally isolated from public life. In conducting research during the internship, I consulted with local stakeholders, including municipal agencies, Council of Europe officials and civil society.

I published an article, "Think Global, Act Local: European Cities on the Front Lines of Climate Action," in the Kennedy School Review's 19th print journal in April 2019. The article explores the critical work being done by city networks in Europe to push for ambitious climate action within the context of the European Union's green governance structure, which includes actors like the European Commission and the Member States.

  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram

© 2020 by Nikhil Alexander Kumar