Belfer Center Newsletter Fall 2020

| Fall 2020

From Government Service to Policy Research, Center Advances a More Secure Future

Ash CarterFrom the Director

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Between the pandemic, social unrest, and an election for the ages, a Center dedicated to advancing policy relevant research and mentoring the next generation of leaders has never felt more relevant. 

As you’ll see in this newsletter, we haven’t let remote work slow us down. Our research and programming on issues ranging from climate change to transatlantic relations are reaching more people than ever. We are proud to have members of our community serve the new administration in Washington. And see below for expert recommendations on what the Biden team should prioritize in its first 100 days.

Pre-pandemic, I walked daily around campus to connect with the remarkable people who make this place run. I miss those connections. But we have not and will not stop connecting our expertise and insights with policymakers and the public to help build a better world.

President-elect Joe Biden removes his face mask as he arrives to introduce his nominees and appointees to key national security and foreign policy posts at The Queen theater, Tuesday, November 24, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware.
Carolyn Kaster/AP

First 100 Days: Mapping Policy Priorities for the Biden Administration

As the new presidential administration prepares to take office, we asked our scholars and practitioners: In your issue area, what one policy step would you advise the Biden administration to prioritize in its first 100 days?  These experts—many of whom previously served in government—share their advice.

Step Inside a Glacier

Halla Logadóttir, Co-Director of the Arctic Initiative, teaches her Kennedy School class from Iceland’s Langjökull glacier. She takes the class - and us - inside the glacier, asking What can glaciers tell us about climate of the past? Step into the glacier through this video.

More on Environment:
Arctic Builds Resilience to Climate-Related Challenges (with video) »
Celebrating Clean Water for Carolina Kids »

Top Tech Innovators for Public Good

In its inaugural Tech Spotlight recognition ceremony, Ash Carter and the Technology and Public Purpose Project (TAPP) celebrated three outstanding initiatives that represent the best in responsible development of technology for the public good. Watch the top recipients’ conversation with Carter and WIRED’s Nicholas Thompson here.

More on Technology:
Bring Top STEM Talent to Capitol Hill »

U.S.-China Bipolar Rivalry

 This fall, the Economic Diplomacy Initiative, led by Aditi Kumar, Nicholas Burns, and Lawrence Summers, hosted discussions on the U.S.-China economic relationship, including the digital dimension of competition between the countries.

More on Security:
Election Implications for North Korea Policy »

Two Key Reports Help Forge the Future of American Foreign Policy

Blueprint for a 21st-Century Diplomatic Service

The United States Foreign Service is confronting one of the most profound crises in its long and proud history.  The Future of Diplomacy Project has released a new report, A U.S. Diplomatic Service for the 21st Century, with detailed recommendations for revitalizing the Foreign Service. The report is the culmination of a years work led by Ambassadors Nicholas Burns, Marc Grossman, and Marcie Ries.

More on Diplomacy:
Julie Bishop, Federica Mogherini, and Peter Wittig discuss U.S. foreign policy »

Revitalizing the Transatlantic Relationship

The Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship and the German Council on Foreign Relations have produced a strategic plan with recommendations to governments in the U.S., Europe, and Canada. Stronger Together: A Strategy for Revitalizing Transatlantic Power provides recommendations for  renewing, revitalizing, and retooling “the most powerful democratic community in modern history.” 

Election Security: Behind the Scenes

West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner explains how the Defending Digital Democracy Project’s trainings and playbooks helped keep 2018 and 2020 elections secure.

More on Cyber:
Who Has the (Cyber) Power? »

Agents of Change: Diversity in Intelligence

More than 600 participants – many from the Intelligence Community (IC) – took part in a remote conference this fall focused on building a more diverse and capable IC.

More on Diversity: 
#SharetheMic Cyber Campaign »
The Nuclear Field Looks Inward »

"The response to the conference, across the IC, private sector, and academia, has been incredible...[Analysts] who said they had become disillusioned about the state of diversity told me they've become reinvigorated."

 – Jeff Fields

Staying Safe Today, Preparing for Tomorrow

Since March, Belfer Center scholars and practitioners, including John P. Holdren and Juliette Kayyem, have answered pandemic-related questions and provided detailed steps to prepare for and better respond to future pandemics.

More on COVID-19:
Samantha Power on "The Can-Do Power: America's Advantage and Biden's Chance" »

View from the Arab World

As part of a new Middle East Initiative event series, View from the Arab World, MEI hosted Iraqi/British journalist and political analyst Mina Al-Oraibi, Editor-in-Chief of The National newspaper based in Abu Dhabi. She shared her views of the U.S. and democracy.

"The past four years in the United states have in some ways made people question democracy."

– Mina Al-Oraibi


People in the Spotlight

Fredrik Logevall

We asked Fredrik Logevall why he decided to write JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-56, what some of his "aha" momentwere during research, and whether he thinks JFK would have been elected in 2020. Read his insightful responses.

Erika Manouselis

A common element in Erika Manouselis’s life is bridges. The Future of Diplomacy Project Coordinator connects people, ideas, and actions. Most recently, she has led efforts around Center diversity, inclusion, and belonging.

Welcome, MTA Executive Director Francesca Giovannini

Welcome to Francesca Giovannini, new Executive Director of the Project on Managing the Atom. She brings extensive experience in nuclear non-proliferation, international security, and multilateral diplomacy.


Meet our 2020-2021 Fellows - 240+ Remarkable Scholars

New Publications

Newest Belfer Center Books »

  • JFK: Coming of Age (Logevall)
  • Lynching and Local Justice (Jung and Cohen)
  • Beyond 9/11 (Bersin, Kayyem, Chappell)
  • America in the World (Zoellick)
  • Secrecy, Public Relations and the British Nuclear Debate: How the UK Government Learned to Talk about the Bomb, 1970–83 (Salisbury)


International Security Journal Highlights »

  • Hub and Spokes System
  • Death Dust
  • Putin and Russian Foreign Policy
  • U.S. Attitude Toward Laws of War and Noncombatant Immunity

Belfer in Brief

Delve into this sampling of significant events, activities, and recognitions from our programs and projects.

Our Applied History Project and International Security Program this fall offered event series looking at history's impact on today’s challenges and today’s influence on the future world order. Our National Security Fellows have forged a new connection with national security executives, while Fellows with our Middle East Initiative and Cyber Project have been recognized for best papers and outstanding work in cybersecurity, respectively.

Cyber Project Non-Resident Fellow Priscilla Moriuchi. Photo courtesy Recorded Future.


79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138

Ash Carter, Director
Eric Rosenbach, Co-Director
Aditi Kumar, Executive Director

Editor: Sharon Wilke, Associate Director of Communications

Designer: Andrew Facini, Publishing Manager

Multimedia: Benn Craig, Multimedia Producer

Digital Outreach: Julie Balise, Digital Communications Coordinator

Josh Burek, Director of Global Communications & Strategy

The Communications Office would like to thank the following staff members for their assistance in producing this newsletter: Maria Barsallo Lynch, Jacob Carozza, Caitlin Chase, Carly Demetre, Jeff Fields, Grace Headinger, Brittany Janis, Susan Lynch, Julia Martin, John Park, Tara Tyrrell, and Lauren Zabierek.

 All photos by Belfer Center unless otherwise noted.




For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:

Belfer Center Fall 2020 Newsletter. Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School. (Fall 2020)