Kennedy School Alumna and Husband Honored by South African Government

July 29, 2008
by Kathryn McGhee

Nadine Hack MPA/MC 1987 has become a household name in many parts of Africa and rightly so. She has worked as a passionate advocate for more than three decades on behalf of a host of vital social causes – from economic development to female empowerment to HIV/AIDS prevention – affecting millions across the continent. In recognition of the myriad contributions made by Hack and her husband Jerry Dunfey, the two were recently awarded South Africa’s highest honor, the National Order, equivalent to the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom.

As founder, CEO and President of beCause Global Consulting, Hack advises corporations, foundations, nonprofits and governments on cause-related strategies, philanthropic initiatives, and the organizational structure required to sustain both. But even prior to coming to the Kennedy School, Hack was organizing people for social action. An early example of her inspirational leadership took place at Nairobi University, Kenya in 1985 when Hack helped orchestrate the closing unity rally for the Decade of Women United Nation’s Forum. Some 17,000 women representing governments and NGOs from throughout the region attended.

From the 1970s to the early 1990s Hack worked closely with Wangari Maathai’s Global Greenbelt Movement, for which Maathai won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. Hack also served as a delegate to a UNICEF Symposium in Zimbabwe, and as part of former New York City Mayor David Dinkins’ delegation to South Africa during 1991 negotiations for a democratic and multi-racial future.

In recent years, Hack has worked with Coca-Cola Africa to create and implement HIV/AIDs prevention, testing and treatment plans for employees of its bottling affiliates in 53 different countries, and has helped launch the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre, the Africa Leadership Academy in Ghana, and Global Youth Connect in Rwanda to promote human rights. In recognition of her various efforts throughout the African continent, Hack has received multiple awards.

South African Ambassador Sheila Sisulu said of Hack, “Wherever there is a group of people needing outside voices to raise awareness of their plight, you will find Nadine.” African Archbishop Desmond Tutu describes her as “dedicated, intelligent, able, and among those wonderful people who have done so much to make the world a better place.” She has received several awards for her work throughout the African continent.

Hack’s social activism was certainly inspired by her Kennedy School education. She fondly recalls the personal interactions she had with faculty, and the unique blend of academics and practitioners who regularly link theory with practice.

“While they had divergent political and policy perspectives, what they shared in common and was of great interest to me was the seamless way in which they integrated their academic insights with their fascinating real-life experience,” she recalled. Her classes, she said, have “provided insight throughout my career and continue to drive my work in the public realm.”

Image of Nadine Hack and Jerry Dunfey being given South African honor

Nadine Hack and husband Jerry Dunfey were awarded the National Order of South Africa, an honor equivalent to the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom.

South African Ambassador Sheila Sisulu said of Hack, “Wherever there is a group of people needing outside voices to raise awareness of their plight, you will find Nadine.”


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