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Former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to Join Harvard as Fellow this Fall

Then-New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to graduates at Commencement for Harvard’s Class of 2022.
Then-New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to graduates at Commencement for Harvard’s Class of 2022. By Dylan J. Goodman
By Thomas J. Mete, Crimson Staff Writer

Three months after resigning as prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern will join Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Law School in the fall for three fellowships, according to Tuesday press releases from the schools.

This fall, Ardern will join HKS as an Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow, a position that allows leaders stepping out of public service roles to reside at the school. She will also serve as a Hauser Leader in HKS’ Center for Public Leadership, which also supports high-profile figures to meet faculty and students.

At the Law School, she will be the first Knight Tech Governance Leadership Fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, where she will study artificial intelligence regulation and risks, as well as improvements to accountability standards for extremist online content.

Ardern said in the press release that she is “incredibly humbled” to join Harvard because the fellowships will allow her to “share my experience with others” and provide “a chance to learn.”

“As leaders, there’s often very little time for reflection, but reflection is critical if we are to properly support the next generation of leaders,” she added.

Ardern shocked the world in January when she announced that she would be resigning as prime minister, explaining she did not have “enough in the tank,” to face reelection this coming October. In the months prior, Ardern was also facing falling approval ratings amid frustrations over the high cost of living and rising interest rates.

Ardern was elected to her post in 2017 at age 37, becoming New Zealand’s youngest prime minister in 150 years. The prominent feminist leader — who gave birth while in office — quickly rose to international prominence as a progressive icon. In 2019, she received praise for her response to the deadliest mass shooting in New Zealand’s history in which a white supremacist killed 51 Muslim worshippers in two mosques.

“Jacinda Ardern showed the world strong and empathetic political leadership,” HKS Dean Douglas W. Elmendorf said in the press release.

“She earned respect far beyond the shores of her country, and she will bring important insights for our students and will generate vital conversations about the public policy choices facing leaders at all levels,” he added.

In 2022, Ardern delivered the address in the University’s 371st Commencement, where she received an honorary law degree. In 2020, she received the Gleitsman Activist Award from the HKS Center for Public Leadership.

—Staff writer Thomas J. Mete can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @thomasjmete.

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