Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to Join Kennedy School as Fellow

Ban Ki Moon Humanitarian of the Year
In 2014, Ban Ki-Moon accepts the Harvard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year award in Memorial Church.

Former United Nations Secretary-General and Kennedy School alumnus Ban Ki-Moon will be returning to campus this month as the third Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow, the school announced on Thursday.

Ban, who served two terms as Secretary-General of the UN from 2007 through 2016, had recently returned to his native South Korea and was reportedly contemplating a presidential bid.

His decision to come to Harvard for the remainder of the spring semester comes after he announced on Feb. 1 that he would not be running.

In an interview Wednesday, Kennedy School Dean Douglas W. Elmendorf said that Ban will be actively engaging with both students and faculty at the Kennedy School during his time at Harvard.

“He won’t be teaching a regular course, because the semester is well underway and visiting fellows don’t teach regular courses,” Elmendorf said. “But he will be participating in a number of classes, talking with our faculty members, spending time with other visitors to the school, and meeting with students.”

“He’s coming because he wants to dive into the rich environment of the school, and we’re delighted that he’ll be coming to do that,” Elmendorf added.

In a press release announcing the fellowship, Ban said that he looks forward to returning to the Kennedy School, where he has “very fond memories” of his time as a student.

“The Fellowship will be a wonderful opportunity for me to reflect upon my years in public service, to connect with scholars and students throughout the Harvard community, and to continue my work on the important public policy issues I remain very passionate about,” he added.

The fellowship is reserved for “high-profile leaders who are transitioning out of public office or other leadership positions,” according to the press release. Former President of Finland Tarja Halonen and former President of Mexico Felipe Calderón had previously been selected for the fellowship.

“We’re so lucky at the Kennedy School that distinguished public leaders like Ban Ki-Moon want to come and talk with students and faculty of the school, because these leaders bring understanding of the forces in the world that affect societies,” Elmendorf said.

“That perspective of distinguished practitioners is a perfect complement to the perspective of distinguished scholars on our campus,” he added.

—Staff writer Derek G. Xiao can be reached at derek.xiao@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @derekgxiao.

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