Former Australian Prime Minister Named Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School

Contact: Sharon Wilke, Belfer Center Communications
Phone: (617) 495-9858
Date: February 21, 2014

CAMBRIDGE, MA. -- Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia, has been named a Senior Fellow with Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He will work at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and will also be a Visiting Fellow with Harvard’s Institute of Politics. He will start at Harvard in February 2014.

At the Belfer Center, Rudd will lead a major research effort on possibilities and impacts of a new strategic relationship between China and the United States. With China on track to surpass the U.S. as the world’s largest economy during the next decade, the initiative will explore the shape of a new relationship and its impact on the global order. Mr. Rudd is a Chinese language speaker, a student of Chinese history, and has lived and worked in China. His China-related career goes back 30 years. Mr. Rudd’s work will complement the China efforts already underway at the Belfer Center and the Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.

As a Visiting Fellow with the Institute of Politics, Rudd will meet with students and student groups, leading discussions on topical issues and on his experience in public and political service. In addition, he will work with Harvard research center staff and participate in public policy classes with students and Harvard University faculty.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Kevin Rudd joining the Harvard community,” said Belfer Center Director Graham Allison. “Drawing on lessons learned during a distinguished career in politics and government, he will bring a unique strategic and practical perspective on a range of international challenges. His expertise on China will be invaluable to our collaboration with the Ash Center in exploring China’s rise and possible responses by the U.S. and international community.”

Tony Saich, director of Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center, said, “Kevin's appointment brings a wealth of practical experience and thoughtful analysis to our work on geo-politics, especially with respect to the US-China relationship. This is the defining relationship for this century and having a new, objective set of eyes to help us think through consequences and strategies is invaluable.”

“The Institute is pleased to welcome former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd back to Harvard as part of a unique partnership with the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs,” said Harvard Institute of Politics Director Trey Grayson. “As a former head of government who is also extremely knowledgeable about China and many topics, Prime Minister Rudd was a hit with students as an Institute guest speaker last April. As an Institute Visiting Fellow this spring, here for a much longer period, we are sure even more undergraduates will take advantage of the opportunity to learn from and engage with him – and that his presence will create strong interest among faculty and the entire University community.”

"I am delighted to be working at Harvard,” said former Prime Minister, the Honorable Kevin Rudd. “I am very much looking forward to working in America's oldest university, as well as the leading university in world rankings. I believe the China project is important if we are to advance both the concept and the substance of what the Chinese call ‘a new type of great power relationship’ between Washington and Beijing. This will also impact China's neighbors in Asia, and in time the future of the broader regional and global rules based order."

Although he left government service last November, Rudd remains engaged in a range of international challenges including global economic management, climate change, and sustainable development. As Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, he was active in global and regional foreign policy leadership and was a driving force in expanding the East Asia Summit in 2010 to include both U.S. and Russia. As Prime Minister, he led Australia’s response during the global financial crisis. Australia's fiscal response to the crisis was reviewed as one of the most effective stimulus strategies in the world with Australia the only major advanced economy not to go into recession. Mr. Rudd is also internationally recognized as one of the founders of the G20 which drove the global response to the crisis. On climate change, Rudd ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2007 and legislated in 2008 for a 20 percent mandatory renewable energy target for Australia. He was a co-author of the recent report of the UN Secretary General's High Level Panel on Global Sustainability – “Resilient People, Resilient Planet" and chairs the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Fragile States.

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