Celebrating Nicholas Burns’ Tenure as Faculty Chair, 2010-2018

| Dec. 20, 2018

On June 18, 2018, Nicholas Burns, Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations, officially passed the baton to his successor as MEI Faculty Chair, Tarek Masoud, Sultan of Oman Professor of International Relations. is transition concluded eight years of leadership, during which both the Middle East and MEI experienced profound transformations. From the time he assumed the role of faculty chair in 2010, Burns and Director Hilary Rantisi partnered to foster exponential growth in students, programs, community, and reach.

Burns supported expansive efforts to recruit and fund students from the region, more than tripling the number of students from Arab countries at HKS. 60 students from the region attended HKS on five new fully-funded fellowships supported by the Kuwait Program, Emirates Leadership Initiative, Sammy Offer Graduate Fellowship, Palestinian Monetary Fund, and the newly announced Rawabi Fellowship. MEI also created new opportunities for students to learn on campus and in the region: hundreds of public events; the student-run Journal for Middle East Politics and Policy (hksjmepp.com); increased funding for student research and internships in the region; and a J-term course with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health  and a policy eld visit to the UAE through ELI. All told, 262 students traveled to the region for such learning opportunities with MEI funding during Burns’ eight years.

Those eight years also saw a rapid expansion of funding and cross-campus collaborations: renewing the flagship Kuwait Program twice and launching ELI with the HKS Center for Public Leadership, a regional program in Jordan with HKS Executive Education, and the Religion, Conflict, and Peace (RCP) Initiative with Harvard Divinity School. These programs also supported research on regional policy issues across the University: MEI Research Fellowships annually host dynamic emerging scholars; experts from the highest levels of public service and academia come to campus as ELI Senior Fellows and Kuwait Foundation Visiting Scholars; and MEI Faculty Research Grants have supported 27 path-breaking faculty research projects.

Finally, Burns and Rantisi formed a core group of Faculty Affiliates, bridging diverse policy fields and regional expertise to serve as a backbone for MEI’s programs. Burns now joins that distinguished group – even as he spearheads a new Project on Europe and the Trans- atlantic Relationship and leads the Future of Diplomacy Project at the Belfer Center – and will continue to engage with MEI as it opens a new chapter in its history.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Mawhorter, Christopher, ed. Celebrating Nicholas Burns’ Tenure as Faculty Chair, 2010-2018.” (December 20, 2018).