Spring 2024 Hauser Leaders

Jacinda Ardern

40th Prime Minister of New Zealand

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was born in the city of Hamilton, New Zealand, and grew up rurally. She attended high school before completing a Bachelor of Communication Studies in Public Relations and Political Science at Waikato Management School from 1999 to 2001. 

Post-university, she worked as an advisor in the office of then-Prime Minister Helen Clark, in London for the British Government Cabinet Office and as an Assistant Director in the Department for Business and Enterprise, and on a review of Policing in England and Wales. 

Jacinda Ardern joined the New Zealand Labour Party at age 18 and entered New Zealand’s Parliament in 2008. She became Prime Minister of New Zealand in October 2017 and resigned from that role in January 2023. 

In 2022 Jacinda was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Harvard University.

In 2023 Jacinda was appointed the Dame Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. 

Jennifer Raab 
President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Stem Cell Foundation 

Jennifer J. Raab is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF), one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to accelerating cures for the major diseases of our time through stem cell research. She was named to the post in January 2024.

Prior to leading NYSCF, Ms. Raab served for twenty-two years as President of Hunter College, stepping down in June 2023. During her tenure, she transformed Hunter into the “crown jewel” of the City University of New York and a model for public higher education nationwide. Among her achievements at Hunter were the construction of a state-of-the-art research facility in Manhattan’s Weill Cornell Belfer Center and the development of institutional partnerships with leading medical and scientific research institutions, including a $50 million NIH clinical translational research grant with Weill Cornell Medical College.

Ms. Raab significantly expanded philanthropic support for the college, raising more than $531 million. Her efforts translated into major increases in student scholarships and endowed faculty chairs, while providing support for innovative academic initiatives. Concurrently, she increased Hunter’s footprint in the arts and humanities, building new libraries, galleries, and theater space, establishing centers for Jewish Studies, Asian Studies, and other interdisciplinary initiatives, and rehabilitating and repurposing Roosevelt House into a public policy institute. She also launched the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College and raised $52 million to expand Hunter College Nursing school and develop a community health nursing program with the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation.

Her work has garnered many awards and accolades, including election in 2016 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2022, she earned the Gold Honor Medal for distinguished service to society and humanity from the National Institute of Social Sciences. Ms. Raab has received additional honors from organizations including the Martina Arroyo Foundation, Albany Law School, United Way of New York City, and the Kennedy Child Study Center.

Earlier in her career, she served as Chair of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, where she was widely recognized for her stewardship of the agency tasked with safeguarding and conserving the city’s historic structures and architectural legacy. Previously, Ms. Raab was a litigator at Cravath, Swaine & Moore and at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, and as a director of public affairs for the New York City Planning Commission. More recently, she served on the NYC Charter Revision Commission under Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

A graduate of Hunter High School, Ms. Raab received her BA with distinction in all subjects from Cornell University, a Masters in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton, and a JD cum laude from Harvard Law School where she was a writer and staff editor for the Women’s Law Journal.

Rochelle Walensky
19th Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2021-23), Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School (2012-2021), and Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, Massachusetts General Hospital (2017-2021)

Dr. Rochelle Walensky served as the 19th Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2021-23), Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School (2012-2021), and Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, Massachusetts General Hospital (2017-2021). Dr. Walensky is an infectious disease clinician whose research career is guided by a belief that the clinical and economic outcomes of medical decisions can be improved through the explicit articulation of choices, the systematic assembly of evidence, and the careful assessment of comparative costs and benefits. She has focused these beliefs on mathematical model-based research toward the promotion of global access to HIV prevention, screening, and care. Her ground-breaking work has motivated changes to US HIV testing and immigration policy; promoted expanded funding for HIV-related research, treatment, and the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPfAR); and led to policy revisions toward aggressive HIV screening – especially for the underserved – and earlier treatment in resource-limited international settings.  In light of these contributions, Dr. Walensky has been an active member of policy discussions at the WHO, UNAIDS, the DHHS HIV Guidelines Committee, and the NIH Office of AIDS Research. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine.

Dr. Walensky served on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic in Massachusetts until beginning her tenure at the CDC on January 20th, 2021.  While at the CDC, Dr. Walensky led the nation - and the world - through unprecedented times, navigating the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic and further facing the largest density of diverse infectious threats likely ever seen in this country. During her tenure, she participated in nearly 100 press conferences and countless media appearances, and provided testimony at 17 Congressional hearings.

Dr. Walensky received her BA (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 1991) from Washington University in St. Louis; her MD from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (1995) and her MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health (Clinical Effectiveness, 2001).  She completed her Internal Medicine residency at the Johns Hopkins Hospital (1995-1998) and her Infectious Disease fellowship at the Massachusetts General/Brigham and Women’s Hospital combined program (1998-2001).   She is married to Loren Walensky, MD, PhD, a physician-scientist and pediatric oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Boston Children’s Hospital.  The Doctors Walensky have 3 sons ages 19, 22, and 24.