“My own experience grew out of questions I first asked myself in 1964, as I completed my third year at Harvard College, became active in the civil rights, and volunteered for the Mississippi Summer Project. There, I found a calling that I would pursue for the next 28 years–organizing migrant farm workers, community organizations, trade unions, and electoral politics. Like so many other activists, I was so absorbed in the work, I made little time to reflect or learn from it, much less, write about it. In 1991, hoping to deepen my understanding, I returned to Harvard, completed my undergraduate degree, a member of the class of 1964-92, an MPA in 1993, and a PhD in Sociology in 2000. When I joined the Kennedy School faculty, I discovered a second calling as a teacher, scholar, and advocate and found myself moved by values rooted in the same life experience that had set me on my path initially: the calling of my parents, a rabbi and a teacher; and our experiences living in postwar Germany, where my father served as army chaplain, working with Holocaust survivors in search of hope; and the Passover Seders that taught me that the journey from slavery to freedom is not confined to one people, place, or time; and the critical role of young people, contributing their critical eyes and hopeful hearts to the work of change and revitalization. “
Marshall Ganz, Senior Lecturer in Public Policy, entered Harvard College in the fall of 1960. In 1964, a year before graduating, he left to volunteer as a civil rights organizer in Mississippi. In 1965, he joined Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers. Over the next 16 years he gained experience in union, community, issue, and political organizing and became Director of Organizing. During the 1980s, he worked with grassroots groups to develop effective organizing programs, designing innovative voter mobilization strategies for local, state, and national electoral campaigns. In 1991, in order to deepen his intellectual understanding of his work, he returned to Harvard College and, after a 28-year “leave of absence,” completed his undergraduate degree in history and government. He was awarded an MPA by the Kennedy School in 1993 and completed his PhD in sociology in 2000. He teaches, researches, and writes on leadership, organization, and strategy in social movements, civic associations, and politics. His newest book, Why David Sometimes Wins: leadership, organization and strategy in the California farm worker movement was published in 2009, earning the Michael J. Harrington Book Award of the American Political Science Association.