The Hart Leadership Program is a distinctive Sanford School of Public Policy program offered to all Duke University undergraduates, including public policy students. With guidance from innovative faculty, it challenges students to practice the art of leadership in public life.

Founded in 1986 with a generous gift from Milledge A. Hart III and his family, HLP was the first endowed leadership program for undergraduates in the United States. Since then, thousands of Duke undergraduate students have participated in HLP courses or experiential programs.

    HLP uses a four-pronged approach:

    • Courses give students analytical frameworks for grappling with the problems facing our global community.
    • Immersion experiences outside the classroom help students see how policy works in the real world.
    • Writing and discussion challenge students to reflect critically on their experiences and make sense of them.
    • One-on-one mentoring helps students develop the skills, confidence and motivation to translate their learning into action.

    The Hart Leadership Program offers 5-8 courses each semester, serving an average of 200 Duke undergraduate students a year. Around 50 students participate in HLP’s experiential-learning programs every year, which include:

    • Service Opportunities in Leadership: An intensive 12-month leadership program for Duke undergraduates that combines academic study, research service-learning, mentoring and leadership training.
    • The Hart Fellows Program offers recent university graduates a 10-month fellowship with innovative organizations domestically and abroad. A competitive application process takes place each spring. Since its inception in 1995, more than 100 fellows have worked in 40 countries.
    • The Political Engagement Project is a leadership initiative for public policy majors interested in politics and includes coursework, support for summer internships, and mentoring.

    Preparing Public Leaders

    "Through innovative teaching and thoughtful community engagement, the Hart Leadership Program has inspired generations of Sanford students to pursue worthy public purposes.” HLP Director Andrew Nurkin

    2021-22 Hart Fellows


    Aly Diaz

    Aly Diaz will work with Glory House Miami, an organization that provides services to survivors of sex trafficking. She will assist the organization in developing a text outreach program to communicate with survivors and inform them of the resources available.

    Read Aly's story

    Kemunto Okindo

    Kemunto Okindo will spend the Hart Fellowship working in Kigali, Rwanda with MASS Design Group, an organization which advocates for architecture and infrastructure that promotes social justice.

    Read Kemunto's story

    Hope Jackson

    Hope Jackson will utilize the Hart Fellowship to partner with the reproductive justice non-profit For The Village in San Diego, California which will offer free doula services and comprehensive reproductive health education for black and low-income families.

    Read Hope's story