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Difference Maker

Alumnus takes key position at the World Bank

To make a difference in the world, Harold Tavares, ’05, G’07, knew he needed a seat at the table where decisions are made.  

Tavares recently found such a position of influence at the World Bank Group, where he represents 23 African nations as an alternate executive director. 

“Where I am today, it has a lot to do with Bridgewater State and the experiences from Bridgewater,” he said of working at one of the largest international development organizations. “Bridgewater led me to the practice of thinking globally.” 

A native of Cabo Verde and a transfer student, Tavares felt comfortable on campus because pockets of Southeastern Massachusetts have a large immigrant population from the island nation. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in public administration. Both foreshadowed his work at the World Bank, which provides financing and technical assistance to support development in more than 170 countries. 

As a student, Tavares developed global connections by working with international students and programs. After graduating, he remained on campus, helping the university grow its international partnerships in countries such as Jordan and Belize. He also contributed to the launch of the Minnock Institute for Global Engagement.

Harold Tavares and President Fred Clark sit in front of a banner with a BSU seal.

He was also administrative director of the Mandela Washington Fellowship public management institute at BSU. The institute, which is part of a nationwide U.S. Department of State program, has welcomed about two dozen young African leaders to campus most summers since 2016.  

Tavares, who was chief of staff to Cabo Verde’s prime minister before accepting the World Bank job, stayed in touch with the fellows as they assumed larger roles in many of the countries he now serves at the World Bank.   

“That experience positioned me well,” Tavares said. “In this position, you have to know the culture and how the politics work because you represent them. You are their voice.” 

In his new role, Tavares is helping World Bank leaders address pressing challenges such as poverty, the COVID-19 pandemic, and climate change.  

“He was a stellar student,” said Dr. Michael Kryzanek, a retired political science professor who knew Tavares as a student and colleague. “He has a great personality and knows how to work with people. … He’s an example of someone who moved quickly and very effectively up the ladder of success.” 

Despite that ascension, Tavares is grounded by a simple yet powerful reason for public service: 

“It’s to see a better world and to work for the people.”  

Ultimately, he concludes, “I couldn’t have found a better place than Bridgewater.” 

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