301 Items

On the right is Miklhail S. Gorbachev with then Belfer Center Director Graham Allison on the left. With a Harvard Kennedy School JFK Jr. Forum backdrop behind them. 

Martha Stewart

News - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Mikhail S. Gorbachev’s Legacy

Former Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev, who is known for ending the Cold War, dissolving the Soviet Union, and changing the map of Europe, died Tuesday, August 30. He was 91.

We asked several Center experts for their thoughts on Gorbachev and his impacts – and how his life and actions are relevant to the challenges the world faces today.

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Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Technology Primer: Social Media Recommendation Algorithms

| Fall 2022

The use of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok is increasingly widespread, currently amounting to billions of users worldwide. Social media companies deploy proprietary recommendation algorithms to automate the selection, ranking, and presentation of content on the platform’s “feed” or recommended content section, every time a user opens or refreshes the site or app. However, social media recommendation algorithms have a range of privacy, security, information quality, and psychological concerns for users. 

A successful approach to the regulation of social media recommendation algorithms will require a combination of government regulation, self governance, and external oversight to facilitate value alignment across these diverse actors and tackle the various challenges associated with this technology. This publication explores the technical components of social media recommendation systems, as well as their public purpose considerations. 

In this March 17, 2014 file photo protesters rally outside the Iowa Air National Guard base, in Des Moines, against the use of drones to carry out military strikes. Diplomats in Geneva, Switzerland on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 began discussing at the United Nations whether new international laws are needed to govern the use of “killer robots” -  lethal autonomous weapons systems that could go beyond human-directed drones.

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

Analysis & Opinions - Daedalus

The Moral Dimension of AI-Assisted Decision-Making: Some Practical Perspectives from the Front Lines

| Spring 2022

This essay takes an engineering approach to ensuring that the deployment of artificial intelligence does not confound ethical principles, even in sensitive applications like national security. There are design techniques in all three parts of the AI architecture–algorithms, data sets, and applications–that can be used to incorporate important moral considerations. The newness and complexity of AI cannot therefore serve as an excuse for immoral outcomes of deployment by companies or governments.

Ukraine Votes at IAEA 64th General Conference

Dean Calma / IAEA

Analysis & Opinions - At the Brink

Did Ukraine Make a Mistake by Giving Up Nuclear Weapons?

| Mar. 30, 2022

In the 90s, Ukraine made the decision to dismantle the thousands of former Soviet nuclear weapons left on its territory. Nearly 3 decades later, Russia has invaded Ukraine using its own nuclear arsenal to bully other nations from interceding. In this special episode of AT THE BRINK, we explore whether Ukrainian denuclearization was a fateful mistake and if a nuclear Ukraine could have prevented the Russian invasion.

Announcement - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Belfer Center Annual Report 2021

| Feb. 02, 2022

An elementary law of physics states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

I like to think that a similar phenomenon exists in the Belfer Center’s line of work. In fact, I believe the principle of it is encoded in our DNA: when challenges and crises arise, we respond—and often with greater force and determination.

Photo of U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell speaking during a news conference at the United Nations headquarters Friday, Sept. 26, 2003. Powell, former Joint Chiefs chairman and secretary of state, has died from COVID-19 complications. In an announcement on social media Monday, Oct. 18, 2021 the family said Powell had been fully vaccinated. He was 84.

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

News - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Ash Carter: Remembering Colin Powell

| Oct. 18, 2021

Following the passing earlier today of former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell, Belfer Center Director and former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter released a statement with his condolences and memories of Colin Powell, a “Marshall-esque giant of American national security.” 


Ash Carter and Douglas Elmendorf in the JFK Jr. Forum.

Martha Stewart

News - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Afghanistan: A Conversation with Ash Carter

| Oct. 07, 2021

In his first public comments since U.S. forces withdrew from Afghanistan, former Secretary of Defense and Belfer Center Director Ash Carter joined Harvard Kennedy School Dean Doug Elmendorf for a wide-ranging discussion about Afghanistan during a JFK Jr. Forum event Wednesday, October 6. Their discussion ranged from national security and U.S. foreign policy over 20 years to the immense contributions and sacrifices made in Afghanistan and how best we can promote human rights going forward.

A complete video along with clips from the event are available here.  The transcript is accessible here.

Photo of the World Trade Center flag presented to friends and family of 9/11 victims at a memorial ceremony Sept. 11, 2013.

(AP Photo/Jason DeCrow, File)

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

6 Former Secretaries of Defense: We must memorialize the fallen in the global war on terrorism

| Sep. 08, 2021

In a Washington Post op-ed on 9/8/2021, six former Secretaries of Defense, including Ash Carter - now Director of the Belfer Center - urge Congress and President Biden to support legislation that would authorize construction of a National Global War on Terrorism Memorial.

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Announcement - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Ash Carter Congratulates Nicholas Burns on Nomination as U.S. Ambassador to China

| Aug. 24, 2021

In a note to colleagues and friends, Belfer Center Director Ash Carter congratulated the Belfer Center's Nicholas Burns on his nomination by President Biden to serve as Ambassador to China.