Kennedy Scholars 2022

New Kennedy Scholars for 2022-23

The Trustees of the Kennedy Memorial Trust are delighted to announce the selection of seven new Kennedy Scholars for the 2022-23 academic year. All will receive substantial scholarships to attend Harvard University for postgraduate study, following a competitive UK-wide selection process. The new Scholars embrace a broad range of academic and professional interests, but are united by a determination to make a positive difference to society through their academic research and future careers. In addition to the new 2022-23 Kennedy Scholars listed below, one Scholar initially selected in 2020 will commence their course in 2022, due to disruptions relating to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Kennedy Scholarships were established as part of the UK's national memorial to US President John F. Kennedy, following his assassination in 1963. The Scholarships were envisaged as a "living memorial" which would invest in future generations and advance the ideals with which President Kennedy was closely associated: intellectual endeavour, leadership, and public service. Offered by the Kennedy Memorial Trust each year, more than 550 Kennedy Scholarships have been awarded since the programme's inception, with alumni going on to distinguished careers in a wide range of fields and professions.

Dr Amar Ahmed, 29
Master of Public Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Amar is currently an academic internal medicine physician practising in Northwest London. He attended Birmingham Medical School where he received several prizes and grants, one of which funded research training at the renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He was amongst the highest ranked candidates nationally for the competitive London Academic Foundation Programme, which allowed him to pursue research in translational cardiology at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London.

Amar has worked on the clinical frontline throughout the COVID pandemic in some of the country’s worst affected hospitals, and unfortunately suffered the loss of his own mother to the virus. It was here where he developed a responsibility to advocate for patients who observe barriers to advocate for themselves. Amar is now passionate about combining his academic clinical career with entrepreneurship in health technology to advocate for these patient populations. He hopes attending the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health will enable him to do this, as well as furthering his understanding of institutional management and innovation within health systems so as to transform current care models.

Tasila Banda, 29
Master in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School (jointly pursuing an MBA at Harvard Business School)

After graduating from Cambridge University with a BA in Law, Tasila worked as a corporate lawyer specialising in mergers and acquisitions at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer for five years. Tasila is passionate about equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace and in her community. She has channelled this interest into various initiatives as co-chair of Freshfields’ London Women’s Network and as a leading member of the Black Affinity Network. Tasila is also trustee of the Girls Friendly Society – a feminist charity providing opportunities for girls to build friendships, confidence and learn. Whilst at Freshfields, Tasila was seconded to UK Government Investments, the UK government's centre of excellence in corporate governance and finance. She advised officials on complex litigation, investments, privatisations and corporate governance matters. She developed a keen interest in the intersection of the private and public sectors and how they can operate to alleviate inequity.

Tasila will complete a Master in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and a Master of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. She believes that ensuring women and people of colour can achieve their full potential at work requires collaboration between the public and private sectors – an idea she wants to explore further at Harvard.

Vidit Doshi, 28
Master in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Vidit wants to focus his career on tackling the climate and biodiversity crises. He graduated with a first-class degree from Oxford in Biology and went on to study Economics at Cambridge as a postgraduate. It was here he learned the environmental damage that would stem from the climate crisis but also how well-designed policies could create the right incentives for societies to act quickly. He joined the civil service at a time when Brexit was the most immediate crisis and spent two years at the Department for Exiting the European Union preparing for the economic consequences of ‘no deal’. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he worked in 10 Downing Street on data and international policy analysis. He now works on international climate policy in the Cabinet Office and helped develop a new G7 initiative to catalyse investment into green infrastructure in developing countries.

At Harvard, Vidit plans to spend his time learning about cutting-edge climate policy formulation from around the world and how to deliver new infrastructure at pace. He hopes to bring these experiences back to the UK to help accelerate its transition to net zero.

Oliver Hamlet, 27
Master in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Oliver wants to help develop policies which will accelerate the delivery of urban housing and transport in the UK. His motivation is driven by time spent working with infrastructure investors, from which he identified a lacuna between the social and commercial merits of projects and the policy processes which repeatedly stymied their development. Given a growing trans-Atlantic emphasis on strengthening public infrastructure, he wants to understand how to reform public policy to reduce barriers faced by major project developers.

Oliver studied at Durham University, graduating with First Class Honours in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. He spent four years at L.E.K. Consulting’s transport practice, where he helped establish the viability of a proposed US high-speed railway line. He also worked with the Department for Transport to end the UK’s rail franchising model, bringing the network under national leadership. For the last year, he has been employed at the Tony Blair Institute, where he has worked with political leaders in the Middle East to develop net-zero compatible climate strategies.

At Harvard, Oliver plans to strengthen his skillset in economics for public policy and hopes to gain experience working with officials responsible for rolling out the Biden Administration’s infrastructure spending priorities.

Alba Kapoor, 27
Special Student, Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Alba has recently worked at the Runnymede Trust, the UK's leading race equality think tank, managing the policy function for the organisation. She delivered large scale pieces of policy research and worked to set out Runnymede’s anti-racist agenda. As part of this role, she led the English civil society submission to the United Nations' Committee on the Elimination on Racial Discrimination. Her work at the Trust ranged from examining the links between structural racism and the climate crisis to curriculum reform.

Before that, she worked as a researcher for Members of Parliament in the House of Commons advising senior politicians on ongoing political developments, including in their positions on the Shadow front bench. Alba holds a degree in History and Politics from the University of Oxford, where her thesis looked at the history of Bengali anti-racist resistance in Tower Hamlets in the 1970s and '80s.

She is interested in dismantling structural racism and wants to use her time at Harvard to understand how contemporary anti-racist discourse in the UK is influenced by the US. She wants to investigate histories and structures of anti-racist activism and explore how to communicate and persuade around issues of race and racism.

Dr Haarith Ndiaye, 26
Master of Public Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Haarith is an academic junior doctor working in the NHS. He graduated from University College London (UCL) with an MBBS, ranking 3rd in his cohort, with a distinction, and on the Dean's list for exceptional academic performance. He also undertook a research-focussed BSc at UCL achieving first class honours, a national award from the British Society of Gastroenterology, and a position on the Dean's list.

Haarith is interested in healthcare system strengthening and capacity building on the international level. He has worked with the World Health Organisation on the development of the Universal Health and Preparedness Review (UHPR) and was part of the first pilot of the tool in the Central African Republic. Amongst other positions, he was also the UK Youth Health Delegate to the G7 summit where he crafted and presented policy solutions to pressing global health issues to Heads of State.

Haarith is excited to undertake the Master of Public Health (MPH) programme at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. In particular, he is looking forward to the Global Health field of study that he has selected, which will help him to better understand and address population health challenges in a global context.

Huw Spencer, 28
Master in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Huw graduated from the University of Oxford with a degree in modern languages, specialising in French and Spanish literature. He spent his year abroad studying politics at Sciences Po and learning tango in Argentina. After university, he returned north to work for a UK MEP in an attempt to understand how Brexit had come about. The experience consolidated his interest in education policy and the democratic mechanisms needed to make politics work for everyone. This led him to work at the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, initially as an analyst supporting the devolved agenda around children's services. He also set up a network for young people interested in policy aiming to make policymaking more inclusive and accessible across the region.

Originally due to attend Harvard in 2020, his place was deferred following the pandemic. He has spent the intervening period co-designing and delivering a new adolescent mental health programme, working with 160 secondary schools to better understand pupil wellbeing and create mechanisms for young people and communities to act on the findings. He intends to build on this policy experience at the Harvard Kennedy School, but also deepen his understanding of how policy is designed at all levels of government.

Maya Tutton, 24
Special Student, Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Maya Tutton is a leading youth campaigner, speaker and writer on the issue of sexual harassment in public spaces. As co-founder of Our Streets Now, the nationwide campaign tackling public sexual harassment, Maya has spent years working across policy, education and public affairs to make public spaces safer for women, girls and marginalised genders. With op-eds in The Times, the Guardian and the Telegraph, and interviews in national and international media from the New York Times to El País to the Today Programme, Maya is a prominent voice in the UK women’s rights sector. Maya’s campaigning has been recognised in Parliament, spotlighted as part of UN Women’s Generation Equality Program and included within Vogue UK’s Forces for Change.

Maya graduated from the University of Cambridge with a BA in Human, Social and Political Sciences (Class I with Distinction) and has published a chapter in Routledge’s ‘Misogyny as a Hate Crime’ reflecting on the nature of online youth-led campaigning. Whilst at Harvard, Maya’s studies will reflect her interest in intersectional feminism, with a particular focus on better understanding gender-based violence and the different avenues designed to tackle it.
Scholar Profiles
Abigail Tierney, 1998
"The Kennedy Scholarship gave me the opportunity to study the archives of American scientists which..."
Abigail Tierney, 1998