Special Olympics CEO, Diplomats Selected HKS Fisher Fellows

The Harvard Kennedy School announced Friday the spring 2012 recipients of its Fisher Family Fellowship, an award that recognizes excellence and innovation in diplomacy and brings fellows to Cambridge to engage with both Kennedy School students and the broader Cambridge community.

The Fisher Family Fellows program, established in 2010 by the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs’ Future of Diplomacy Project, has selected three recipients: Shyam Saran, the Indian government’s former foreign secretary; Javier Solana, who has served as NATO secretary general and the European Union's high representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy; and Timothy P. Shriver, the president and chief executive officer of Special Olympics.

“The premise of the Fisher Family Fellowship is to bring diplomats who have generally speaking just left the scene to the Kennedy School, so that they can use it as a venue to publicly reflect,” said Cathryn A. Cluver, executive director of the Future of Diplomacy Project.

Saran and Solana will join the Fisher Family program’s inaugural fellow, Said Tayeb Jawad, who has served as Afghanistan's ambassador to the United States, to share some of their most recent experiences as diplomats in the thick of the international affairs scene.

In addition to diplomats-in-residence, who spend anywhere from a few days to a month in Cambridge, the Fisher Family Fellow program brings journalists, academics, and prominent nonprofit leaders to Harvard. Past years’ selections have included individuals such as New York Times and International Herald Tribune columnist Roger Cohen and Princeton professor Anne-Marie Slaughter, a Harvard Law School graduate.

“The Fellows program gives Harvard students very direct access to how international affairs are changing on the front lines, said Cluver. “As over 40 percent of the Kennedy School’s student body is international, we try to reach a certain level of diversity in selection to help teach about issues that are borderless.”

In interest of achieving what Cluver referred to as a “geopolitical and geostrategic balance,” the Fellows program has selected three individuals with very different backgrounds and approaches to the issues of modern diplomacy. Shriver, who will retain his position with the Special Olympics during his time at Harvard, is the first head of a major non-governmental organization to be a fellow in the program’s history.

“Through the growth of the Special Olympics, Tim has shown understanding and compassion to be essential elements of what modern diplomacy is,” said Cluver, adding that “international affairs are no longer just state to state, and diplomacy is no longer just men in ties sitting around mahogany tables.”

Saran will be in residence from Feb. 13 to Feb. 17, Solana during the month of April, and Shriver during the first week of April.

—Staff writer Ethan G. Loewi can be reached at ethanloewi@college.harvard.edu.

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