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

Center Welcomes Global Leaders

High-level officials and scholars share expertise with students

This fall, the Belfer Center welcomed several distinguished leaders as new senior fellows and visiting scholars. These eight new arrivals come from a range of high-profile public policy backgrounds, and each brings significant and varied expertise to Harvard Kennedy School.

Wendy Sherman is in residence this semester as a senior fellow with the Belfer Center and a fellow with the Institute of Politics. Robert Blackwill and James “Sandy” Winnefeld come to the Belfer Center as non-resident senior fellows. Ambassador Sherman arrived at the Kennedy School directly from her position as the nation’s lead negotiator on the Iran nuclear deal and under secretary for political affairs at the State Department. Admiral Winnefeld retired in July as America’s second-highest-ranking military officer as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He previously led the USS Enterprise in combat operations in Afghanistan after 9/11.  Ambassador Blackwill has served in a number of top posts from the Middle East to India, working in both Bush presidencies.

At the Belfer Center, Ambassador Sherman is exploring the politics of forgiveness. To examine the role of political forgiveness, or lack thereof, in international relations, she is looking at truth and reconciliation mechanisms and their impact and at historic results when a regime or country has forgiven or been forgiven for past actions so that relationships can move forward.

Ambassador Blackwill’s work at the Belfer Center focuses on the concept of the national interest and the identification of vital U.S. interests.  Also, as director of the U.S.-Israel Security Project, Blackwill seeks to facilitate strategic dialogue and analysis among American and Israeli elites.

Admiral Winnefeld’s focus at the Center is clarifying the hierarchy of national security interests. He is exploring the idea that casting security situations against an abstract, enduring, and prioritized list of national security interests could help policymakers make better decisions regarding use of force, resource allocation, senior leader bandwidth management, and risk assessment. 

Former Tunisian Economic Infrastructure and Sustainable Development Minister Hedi Larbi has joined the Belfer Center’s Middle East Initiative as this semester’s Kuwait Foundation Visiting Scholar. Larbi, who also served recently as advisor to the MENA vice president at the World Bank, is leading a seven-week study group focused on the Arab social contract.

Robert Danin also joined the MEI as a senior fellow. Danin served at the National Security Council for three years and received the State Department’s Superior Honor Award for his many years of Middle East experience as a career State Department official. At the  Center, Danin is presenting and speaking with students and faculty on issues ranging from regional responses to the Iran nuclear deal to U.S. interests in the Middle East. 

The Future of Diplomacy Project also has announced three Fall 2015 Fisher Family Fellows.  They include Douglas Alexander, former UK shadow foreign secretary; Jairam Ramesh, a member of Parliament from India’s Andhra Pradesh and a leader in international climate negotiations; and former NATO Secretary-General and Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen. The three Fisher Fellows are working with students to prepare them for international relations in the 21st century.

“The Belfer Center is honored to be joined by such distinguished leaders,” said Belfer Center Director Graham Allison. “Each of them brings unique experience and insights that enrich our students and faculty.”

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Center Welcomes Global Leaders.” Belfer Center Newsletter (Fall/Winter 2015-2016).