Barbara Jordan Award for Women's Leadership

This award honors one graduating student at Harvard Kennedy School for their commitment to building community and for serving as a role model for women aspiring to be leaders.


To nominate a graduating student, please submit a letter of support (to not exceed 500 words) describing how your nominee fulfills the award criteria listed below and indicate any specific ways the candidate you are nominating (or yourself) has leveraged leadership to advance women and gender equity during these unprecedented times. Please note that self-nominations are welcome. Nominations are due by 11:59 PM ET on Wednesday, April 28, 2021.

Nominations should be submitted via email to Laura Botero at Please include “Nomination for Barbara Jordan Award” in the subject line of your email. The Barbara Jordan Award for Women’s Leadership will be presented on Class Day.


About Barbara Jordan:

Barbara Jordan was a powerful politician, a riveting orator, and dynamic leader. She demonstrated, through her lifelong commitment to public service, that the barriers women face can be overcome through courage and purpose. She was the first black woman elected to the Texas Senate in 1966. As President Pro Tempore of the Senate in 1972, in the tradition of the Texas Senate, she became “Governor for a Day” -- the first black woman governor in the history of the United States. She later served as the first black Texan in the U.S. Congress representing the 18th Congressional District. In 1994, she served as Chair of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and, before her death in 1996, President Clinton awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom.