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Past Project

The Kinder & Braver World Project: Research Series

The Kinder & Braver World Project: Research Series (danah boyd and John Palfrey, editors), is presented by the Born This Way Foundation & the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, and supported by the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.


This working paper series publishes short papers that synthesize existing peer-reviewed research or equivalent scholarship and provide research-grounded insight to the variety of stakeholders working on issues related to youth empowerment and action towards creating a kinder, braver world.  The papers grow out of different types of research (e.g., social science, mental health, medical, legal) and are aimed at different audiences (e.g., youth, parents, teachers, school boards, religious leaders, policy makers).  It will be developed in phases, and over time will cover a wide range of topics related to youth empowerment and the development of kindness and bravery.  The first phase, intended to provide insights to the new foundation, involved topics related to Youth Meanness and Cruelty.  The second phase focuses on Youth Movements for Social Change and The Role of Youth Organizations (see the call for papers).

We welcome feedback on these materials. Submissions, feedback, and other related queries can be sent to:


On February 29, 2012, Lady Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta launched the Born This Way Foundation with a mission to empower youth and inspire bravery in order to make the world a kinder, braver place. The first papers in this series were developed to provide the new Foundation with grounded insights.  At the launch event – held at Harvard in collaboration with the Graduate School of Education – Lady Gaga asked a room full of researchers to share scholarly insights in an accessible form with her, the public, and other advocates working to build a kinder, braver world.  This series has been developed to do precisely that.

Our Work 17

Dec 17, 2012

Youth Organizations and Positive Development

Lessons Learned from a Century of Girl Scouting

Since its inception in 2000, the Girl Scout Research Institute has employed a research-to-action approach so that insights from our work with girls and young women can directly…

Dec 17, 2012

Engaging Youth, Serving Community: Social Change Lessons from a 4H Rural Youth Development Program

Social change targeted at empowering youth requires youth and adults to work together as equals. Youth-adult partnerships create a platform to amplify youth voices. To succeed,…

Dec 17, 2012

How Participatory Action Research Can Promote Social Change and Help Youth Development

Participatory Action Research (PAR) is a process through which people investigate meaningful social topics, participate in research to understand the root causes of problems that…

Dec 17, 2012

The Value of Youth Organizing

Across the country, adolescents have become deeply involved in struggles for equity and social justice, as they work to promote a kinder, braver world. Although youth have long…

Dec 17, 2012

Youth and Social Movements: Key Lessons for Allies

We have much to learn from young people who are already engaged in mobilizing their peers, families, and communities towards positive social transformation. This paper discusses…

Dec 17, 2012

How to Engage Young People: Lessons From Lowell, MA

A youth organization’s success depends on young people’s participation within the local community. Many of the issues facing young people today reflect a poor engagement with…

Dec 17, 2012

Cultivating Young Women's Leadership for a Kinder, Braver World

There is not much research exploring leadership development and civic participation among youth, and even less among young women. Policymakers and others seeking to better serve…

Dec 17, 2012

Out of the Box: Positive Development & Social Change Through the Arts

From early childhood to adolescence, the arts can foster youth movements for social change through positive development. Students who experience high levels of arts enrichment…

Sep 17, 2012

Bullying in a Networked Era: A Literature Review

This research update presents an aggregation and summary of recent academic literature on youth bullying. The purpose of this document is to “translate” scholarly research for a…

Jul 12, 2012

Call for Papers: Short papers on Youth Movements for Social Change / Youth Organizations

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society is delighted to announce a Call for Papers for The Kinder & Braver World Project: Research Series (danah boyd and John Palfrey, editors)…

Apr 15, 2012

Implementing Bullying Prevention Programs in Schools: A How-To Guide

This document represents a “how to” guide for schools trying to determine how to implement effective bullying prevention and intervention programming. It offers ideas on how to…

Feb 29, 2012

Final Report: Symposium on Youth Meanness & Cruelty

As part of the official launch of the Born This Way Foundation, The Symposium on Youth Meanness and Cruelty took place at Harvard Law School on February 29th, 2012. Generously…

Feb 28, 2012

What You Must Know to Help Combat Youth Bullying, Meanness, and Cruelty

In order to empower youth to create a kinder and braver world, we must begin by making sure that youth are safe. Youth are not safe when they are being bullied, harassed, or…

Feb 23, 2012

Bullying Prevention 101 for Schools: Dos and Don’ts

This document provides a list of dos and don’ts for schools in developing anti-bullying practices and policies. The purpose of this document is to provide concrete ways in which…

Feb 23, 2012

Changing the Culture: Ideas for Student Action

The purpose of this document is to provide positive action items that students can take to make their schools and communities healthier places and to challenge meanness and…

Feb 22, 2012

An Overview of State Anti-Bullying Legislation and Other Related Laws

This document provides an overview, as of January 2012, of existing state anti-bullying laws, pending state and federal anti-bullying legislation, and other relevant federal and…

Feb 21, 2012

Announcing The Kinder & Braver World Project: Research Series

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University is pleased to announce The Kinder & Braver World Project: Research Series (danah boyd and John Palfrey, editors) as…