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Former Newton mayor Setti Warren will be joining the Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy in July as its next executive director.
Center Director Nicco Mele announced Warren’s appointment in an email Thursday. Warren will be replacing Nancy Palmer, the Center’s retiring longtime executive director.
Mele said as executive director, Warren will not only be responsible for the daily operations of the Center, but will also be in charge of helping him “set strategy and direction.”
Warren previously served as the mayor of Newton, Mass. from 2010 to 2018 and entered the 2018 governor’s race as a Democrat, before dropping out in April due to a lack of funds and poor name recognition among voters.
Mele said that although choosing the center’s next leader was a “tough decision” among a “strong group of finalists,” Warren stood out for his leadership ability as the mayor of a city and for his various roles in higher education and politics.
“Being a mayor is both about kind of the politics and the vision but also about the nitty-gritty and the details, and that combination is just a rare one,” Mele said.
Warren also served in the Clinton White House, was active duty in Iraq from 2007 to 2008, and served as an intelligence specialist in the U.S. Navy Reserve.
Warren said he was “excited” to begin his role at the Center because of the “critical mission” it has to study “how people learn facts,” citing several Shorenstein Center projects around information disorder, new media platforms, and issues within the field of journalism.
"All of those areas are incredibly exciting because they are a part of the issues of our time, of today,” Warren said. “How are we, as a democratic society, going to be able to learn what the facts are and make principled decisions around them? The Center is in fact right in the middle of that.”
Warren also said he was “thrilled” to join the Shorenstein Center at this time, as the research institute prepares to launch several long-term research projects during the upcoming midterm and presidential elections.
“I'm thrilled that I will have the opportunity to work with an incredibly talented team led by Nicco, who is a real visionary when it comes to many of these issues,” Warren added. “I saw an opportunity to come in and be able to scale up the Center and to make sure it grows in a strategic fashion."
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