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Jennifer Spence Named Project Director of Arctic Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center

| Mar. 18, 2024

Jennifer Spence at Arctic Circle Assembly 2023

Jennifer Spence at the Arctic Circle Assembly 2023 in Iceland, moderating a panel on Indigenous knowledge, food security, and innovation. (Image: Arctic Circle/Flickr)

Cambridge, MA – The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School is pleased to announce the appointment of Jennifer Spence as Project Director of the Center’s Arctic Initiative. As Project Director, she will steward the Initiative’s scholarship, policy engagement, and youth leadership training on the challenges being created by climate change in the Arctic.

Spence has served with distinction as a Senior Fellow for two years, leading the Initiative’s work on Arctic governance, resilience, and responses to permafrost thaw. “Dr. Spence has energetically advanced the Initiative’s goals with insightful publications, coalition building, and leadership roles in international meetings,” said John Holdren, Faculty Co-Chair, with Henry Lee, of the Arctic Initiative. “Her insight, experience, and vision will be crucial to the continued success of this project.”

Prior to joining the Arctic Initiative, Spence served as Executive Secretary of the Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group. She is also an Adjunct Professor with Carleton University’s Northern Studies Graduate Program. She has eighteen years of experience working for the Canadian government in senior positions related to strategic planning, leadership development, and resource, conflict, and change management.

In accepting the appointment, Spence said: “Now more than ever, we need thoughtful and informed analysis to guide Arctic policies. The Arctic Initiative has established itself as an important partner, working with experts, knowledge-holders, and officials, to provide concrete and pragmatic advice during a period of dramatic change in the region. It is my honor and pleasure to lead this amazing team.”

Brittany Janis, the former Associate Director of the Arctic Initiative, will remain closely involved with the Initiative while stepping into an expanded leadership role as the Associate Director of both the Belfer Center’s Environment and Natural Resources Program and the Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program. “We have been so fortunate to have Dr. Spence with us these past two years,” she said. “I am very excited to continue to partner with her in this new role to further our programs’ shared mission of informing policies for a cleaner, healthier, and more innovative world.”

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Hanlon, Elizabeth. “Jennifer Spence Named Project Director of Arctic Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center.” News, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, March 18, 2024.

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