Harvard Kennedy School Launches the Future of Diplomacy Project, a New Initiative on Diplomacy, Negotiations and Statecraft

Contact: Doug Gavel; Jim Smith
Phone: (617) 495-1115 (Doug Gavel); (617) 495-7831 (Jim Smith)
Date: November 29, 2010

Cambridge, MA – The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University is launching a unique initiative to promote the study and understanding of diplomacy, negotiation and statecraft in international politics.

The Future of Diplomacy Project aims to build upon Harvard Kennedy School’s (HKS) teaching and research on modern diplomatic practice, and to deepen the public understanding of diplomacy’s indispensible role in an increasingly complex and globalized world. It is based within the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and directed byNicholas Burns, professor of the practice of diplomacy and international politics. Cathryn A. Clüver serves as the Project’s executive director.

“In the wake of the extraordinary global events since 9/11, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, we are witnessing the return of diplomacy as the principle vehicle for international politics today. We believe this new Project will help to redefine diplomacy in a modern context through the eyes of leading international practitioners who will engage our students and faculty at the Kennedy School. Our aim is for the Kennedy School to build one of the world's preeminent programs on international diplomacy and politics," said Burns, the Project's creator and director.

The Project’s activities include an international speaker series, seminars with global governmental and non-governmental leaders, an interview series with leading international figures and research publications by resident and non-resident fellows. This year’s fellows include former Afghan Ambassador to the United States Said Tayeb Jawad, who currently serves as the Project’s inaugural Fisher Family Fellow. Ambassador Jawad is holding a study group on rebuilding Afghanistan and will deliver a public lecture on the reconciliation process in his country in late January.

Other resident and non-resident fellows, including former U.S. Under Secretary of State Marc Grossman, former U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce Kenneth I. Juster, former Singaporean diplomat Yvonne Yew, and David Phillips, director of the Program on Peace-building and Rights at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights, are engaging students on negotiation tactics, Middle East peace and transatlantic relations in a series of lectures and discussion groups. In addition, the Project will publish reports and papers focusing on new thinking on the future of the non-aligned movement in international relations and a monograph on the negotiations leading to the independence of Kosovo.

“The Future of Diplomacy Project, led by Professor Nick Burns, will inform our understanding of new actors that now shape the environment in which foreign policy is made,” said David T. Ellwood, dean of the Harvard Kennedy School and Scott M. Black professor of political economy. “And it will serve as another way for our students to learn from and engage with leading thinkers, negotiators, and diplomats, and to incorporate their ideas and perspectives into their own work in the foreign service, development, or non-governmental sector in the coming years.”

Recent speakers hosted by the Project have included Jim Steinberg, the U.S. deputy secretary of state, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, and Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Nicholas D. Kristof. Other speakers include the President of Latvia, Valdis Zatlers, the editor of the Financial Times, Lionel Barber, Alec Ross, senior advisor for innovation to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and U.S. Special Representative to Muslim Communities Farah Pandith.

“This new initiative is based on the conviction that the great majority of international problems today, from climate change to terrorism to nuclear proliferation, require international action that orchestrates all the instruments of power to resolve disputes,” said Belfer Center DirectorGraham Allison. “Nick’s ambition is to restore an appreciation of diplomacy as the first line of defense of our national interests and values.”

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