Amid his high-profile and controversy-laden visit to Germany and the UK last week, Congress president Rahul Gandhi sealed a deal that could have a major bearing on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, by bringing on board Harvard professor Steve Jarding to manage the party's campaign.
Not only is Jarding not new to Indian politics -- he managed the Samajwadi Party's (but not its ally Congress') ill-fated 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly election campaign -- his credentials speak of a world of experience as an educator, lecturer, writer and political consultant.
READ: HAS THE CONGRESS FOUND ITS NEW 'BRAHMASTRA' FOR 2019 POLLS?
Here's a look at what Steve Jarding's and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government's websites have to say about him:
His educational background:
- He's graduated with a degree in government from the University of South Dakota and has a master's degree in government from the University of Oklahoma
- In 1987 Jarding was selected as the outstanding graduate student as a PhD student in the Government program at Oklahoma
As a professor and lecturer:
- He's taught at the prestigious Harvard University since 2004 after having been selected to serve as a fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics
- He teaches the following courses:
- Running for Office and Managing Campaigns - Course is designed to show students how to set up a state-of-the-art political campaign operation to win elective office in the United States and around the world
- The Making of a Politician - Course is designed to explore what it takes to be a successful politician by concentrating on taking any student regardless of their communication skills at the outset and transforming them into an accomplished
- In 2013 Jarding's course at Harvard on Campaign Management was twice nominated for a "Most Influential Course Award" in American colleges and universities by the Strengthening Learning and Teaching Excellence Initiative
- In 2016, Jarding was voted Teacher of the Year by the Kennedy School student body
- He's also lectured in places as wide apart as Spain, Romania and Brazil on subjects like political campaign management and media training techniques
Political campaign and analyst work:
- Jarding's tryst with political campaigns began in the 1980s
- He's been a part of US senate, gubernatorial and presidential campaigns for various Democratic candidates
- On at least one occasion he's held a post with the Democratic party
- As per reports, he's worked on campaigns for Hillary Clinton, former Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and others
- Interestingly, his website doesn't make mention of his campaign work with Akhilesh Yadav and the Samajwadi Party in India
- Jarding also regularly offers commentary to national and international news organizations
- He's the founding partner and CEO of SJB Strategies International, which advises candidates and causes around the world
- He's lectured or consulted internationally for campaigns or causes in Asia, Africa, South America and Europe
- He's co-authored the book - "Foxes in the Henhouse: How the Republicans Stole the South and the Heartland and What the Democrats Must Do to Run 'em Out". Amazon describes the book as follows
"An irreverent and in-depth examination of the rise of the Republican Party in the American South and Midwest informs readers about unethical Republican practices while making recommendations on how Democrats can regain the majority by addressing regional concerns about issues ranging from gun control to gay marriage"
He's the author of the "American" chapter on political advertising in the 2017 international textbook, “Handbook on Political Advertising”.
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