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Blackwill To Leave Iraq Post

By Michaela N. De lacaze, Crimson Staff Writer

A former assistant dean of the Kennedy School of Government (KSG) will step down from his post as President Bush’s leading adviser on Iraq policy this week—but he won’t be returning to Harvard.

Robert D. Blackwill, the deputy assistant to the president and Coordinator for Strategic Planning for National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice, left the KSG in 2001 to become the U. S. Ambassador to India.

Before the elections, Blackwill told Rice that he would resign from his post, which he had occupied since August 2003.

Blackwill could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Graham T. Allison, Director of the KSG Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (BCSIA), said that he had spoken with Blackwill but that Blackwill had not committed to return to Harvard.

While Allison said it was his “hope and objective” to lure Blackwill back into teaching at KSG, he said that Blackwill had other prospects for now.

He said that Blackwill was “going into a business opportunity,” but did not know the details.

In addition to serving as an assistant dean during his time at the KSG, Blackwill was the KSG’s first Belfer Lecturer in International Security and a board member of the BCSIA.

Before entering academia, Blackwell had dedicated 22 years to the Foreign Service and the U.S. State Department.

Allison added he hoped Blackwill would remain on the board of the BCSIA in the future, despite the fact that his status as a Belfer lecturer has expired owing to his prolonged absence.

KSG hiring policy states that lecturships only last for five years, and that lecturers cannot be away for more than two years at a time.

“Bob was a highly regarded teacher at the School,” former KSG dean Joseph S. Nye Jr. wrote in an e-mail yesterday.

When Blackwill returned in 2003 from his two-year stint as U. S. Ambassador to India, the KSG announced in a press release that he would resume his teaching duties at Harvard, but Blackwill went straight to the White House instead.

“President Bush snagged him and kept him in the White House,” Allison said.

Nye said that Blackwill told him that “he decided to stay in the government because the President appealed to him for help. He wound up handling the highly difficult portfolio for Iraq on the National Security Council.”

A White House official said that Blackwill “has been a diligent and dutiful servant of the people and he has decided that now, after the elections, [was] a good logical time to pursue other interests.”

He added that this week will be Blackwill’s last in the White House. “We thank him for his service,” the official said.

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