Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs today announced the launch of the Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship, an effort to help reinvigorate a continental bond that has anchored global order, provided peace and stability, and fueled economic expansion for seven decades.
As the US “sous-Sherpa” or “Sherpa” for all four Nuclear Security Summits, Amb Holgate was responsible for designing the format, content, and process for the Summits, and for leading and/or representing the US in negotiations over the Summits’ outcomes. She will share insights into the unique multilateral forum represented by the Summits, and the various approaches and tools that were utilized in seeking tangible, meaningful nuclear security commitments and behavior from Summit participants.
Ambassador Laura S.H. Holgate served as U.S. Representative to the Vienna Office of the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency from July 11, 2016 to January 20, 2017. The United States Mission to International Organizations in Vienna works with seven major organizations of the United Nations system based in Vienna: the International Atomic Energy Agency; the UN Office on Drugs and Crime; the Preparatory Commission of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization; the UN Office of Outer Space Affairs; the Wassenaar Arrangement; the UN Commission on International Trade Law; and the UN Industrial Development Organization. In this role, Ambassador Holgate advanced President Barack Obama’s commitment to design and implement global approaches to reduce global threats and seize global opportunities in the areas of nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear security, verification of the Iran Deal, nuclear testing, counterterrorism, anti-corruption, drug policy, export control, and the Nuclear Suppliers Group. She also promoted gender balance in the staff and programming of the Vienna-based international organizations.
Ambassador Holgate was previously the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism and Threat Reduction on the National Security Council. In this role, she oversaw and coordinated the development of national policies and programs to reduce global threats from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons; detect, identify, secure and eliminate nuclear materials; prevent malicious use of biotechnology; and secure the civilian nuclear fuel cycle. She was also the U.S. Sherpa to the Nuclear Security Summits and co-led the effort to advance the President’s Global Health Security Agenda.
From 2001 to 2009, Ambassador Holgate was the Vice President for Russia/New Independent States Programs at the Nuclear Threat Initiative. Prior to that, Ambassador Holgate directed the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fissile Materials Disposition from 1998 to 2001, and was Special Coordinator for Cooperative Threat Reduction at the Department for Defense from 1995 through 1998, where she provided policy oversight of the “Nunn-Lugar” Cooperative Threat Reduction program.
Ambassador Holgate received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in politics from Princeton University and a Master of Science Degree in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and spent two years on the research staff at Harvard University’s Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government. She is a past President of Women in International Security and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She and her husband live in Arlington, Virginia.