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

A Decade of Diplomacy: The Future of Diplomacy Project at 10


A Decade of Diplomacy at HKS

We set out a decade ago to put the study of diplomacy on the map at Harvard University. In creating the Kennedy School’s Future of Diplomacy Project, our goals were to encourage the development of courses on diplomacy and negotiations, to bring to the school some of the world’s most effective diplomats, and to encourage our students to become diplomats themselves.

Ten years later, we are proud of what we have accomplished. The Future of Diplomacy Project has become one of the most dynamic initiatives at the Kennedy School with a high degree of student participation and faculty support. We have brought over 350 global leaders to our campus to teach, debate, write, and engage with our community. We have sponsored hundreds of speakers, panels, conferences, and debates about diplomacy’s place in an increasingly complex global landscape.

One of our initiatives—the American Secretaries of State Project—has produced many hours of video interviews on diplomacy with all the living Secretaries of State from Henry Kissinger to Rex Tillerson. Many of them visited Harvard for dialogue with students from the Kennedy, Business, and Law schools. We have produced case studies and videoclips for use in Harvard classrooms. Professor Jim Sebenius (as lead author), Bob Mnookin, and Nick Burns published a book—Kissinger the Negotiator—as a result of this project.

For this anniversary publication, we have asked many of our former fellows to reflect on the geostrategic challenges ahead for diplomacy and statecraft and to offer their advice to the younger generation of rising leaders on the opportunities and challenges for diplomacy in the decade ahead.

As we plan for the next decades of diplomatic education at Harvard, we are hopeful about the impact that the hundreds of our alumnae and alumni serving in the U.S. government and other governments around the world will have to reduce international conflict and produce forward movement on the most consequential human challenges. These young graduates remain our project’s proudest achievement.

Nicholas Burns, Faculty Chair, Future of Diplomacy Project

Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook, Former Executive Director, Future of Diplomacy Project

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:A Decade of Diplomacy: The Future of Diplomacy Project at 10.” Edited by Nicholas Burns, Erika Manouselis and Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook. Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, Autumn 2021.

The Editors

Nicholas Burns