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Senior Research Fellow
Hauser Institute for Civil Society
Harvard Kennedy School
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Peter Bell is a senior research fellow at the Hauser Institute for Civil Society, where he is examining the role of humanitarian NGOs in multilateral diplomacy, and serving as chair of the facilitation group for the NGO Leaders Forum, a semi-annual retreat for chief executives of major U.S.-based international relief and development NGOs.
Before joining the Hauser Institute in 2008, Peter Bell was a visiting fellow at the Carter Center after having served as president of CARE USA for ten years. He had earlier been president of the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, senior associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, president of the Inter-American Foundation, and deputy undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. At the outset of his career, he worked for 12 years with the Ford Foundation, including 10 years with its Latin American program. His volunteer positions have included serving as co-chair of the Inter-American Dialogue, chair of the Bernard Van Leer Foundation, chair of CARE USA, a director of Human Rights Watch, a director of the International Center for Research on Women, and a trustee of the World Peace Foundation. He is a graduate of Yale College and holds a master’s degree in public affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.
“There was a day when most US-based transnational NGOs, including philanthropies like the Ford Foundation and relief and development organizations like CARE, regarded themselves as apolitical. Indeed, it was a basic tenet of their credos. But most sophisticated NGOs now recognize that clinging to that belief can actually cause harm, however inadvertently.”