Harvard Elections: International Call to Action

Did you know that 1 in 5 Harvard Alumni are international, but only 2 of the 30 Overseers and 3 of the 18 HAA Elected Directors live outside the US?

International alumni comprise 20% of all Harvard Alumni, yet they are underrepresented on Harvard’s Board of Overseers and amongst the Harvard Alumni Association’s Elected Directors --- because only 15% of international alumni vote in the elections.

 Your vote can change this.

As little as 200 votes can make the difference as to whether a candidate is elected or not.

We can make that difference! Together with international clubs around the world, the Harvard Club of Australia is reaching out to you and all the alumni in our region and asking you to vote in the elections that start on April 1st (EST).

The outstanding international candidates on the current ballot won’t be elected without your support. You can vote for up to five candidates on the Overseers ballot and up to six on the HAA Elected Directors ballot. Even if you only consider voting for the international candidates, please vote.

Why does it matter?

The history of the Overseers goes back to the foundation of Harvard in 1636, and all its members are Harvard alumni, who are nominated and elected by alumni.  It is a standout factor in Harvard’s governance that makes it unique.  The Overseers’ purpose is to maintain Harvard’s academic excellence and its ability to make a difference in the world (which also reflects on our own credentials).  Their primary role is to lead the academic and administrative visiting committees to the Graduate Schools and the College.

Having an international voice within the University is important to current international students and to our alumni community. Nothing could have made that clearer than the international students’ experience with remote learning this past year. The University was slow to recognize the impact of distance and time differences, resulting in inequitable outcomes for many international students, including classes and exams in the middle of the night. Better international representation will help address challenges like these.

The Harvard Alumni Association Elected Directors are the “at large” members of the HAA Board who represent all alumni. Without international Elected Directors, we miss out on this representation which has an impact on our clubs and other alumni initiatives.

How to be Counted

Your online ballot will arrive in an email from the Elections Services Corporation (ESC) from this address: harvard@mg.electionservicescorp.com . (Harvard also will mail paper ballots to alumni who have not opted out, but under the current circumstances they are unlikely to arrive in time to meet the May 18th voting deadline.) If you don’t receive a ballot, please check your spam folders.

If you would like more information on the Overseers candidates beyond that included with the ballot, Harvard Magazine has interviewed all the Overseers candidates and their full responses are here: https://harvardmagazine.com/2021/01/harvard-overseer-prospects-views . 

Would you like to know more?

Here is a link to two recent Townhalls for International club leaders organized by the Asia Pacific HAA Board Directors. The panel included former Overseers, current HAA Elected Directors, and members of the HAA Board’s Nominating committee. The distillation of Harvard governance and the role we play as alumni is empowering. (Both Townhalls cover the same content, but from the perspectives of different panelists.)

Let’s be included

We know that the international community has much to offer Harvard. We embody global perspectives, bringing to the table knowledge of the diverse communities in which we live and the challenges and opportunities across academia, business, culture, and politics.

Participating in the elections for the Overseers and the HAA Elected Directors is probably the best way in which international alumni can express our support for Harvard, give voice to our international alumni community, and ensure an inclusive learning environment for international students.

Let’s vote!