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Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Religion and Public Life
Assistant: Rosita Scarfo

J. Bryan Hehir is the Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Religion and Public Life.  He is also the Secretary of Health and Social Services on the staff of Cardinal Sean O’Malley in the Archdiocese of Boston.  Previously he served on the faculty of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service (1984-92) and on the Harvard Divinity School faculty (1993-2001) including three years as the Chair of the HDS Executive Committee.  In Washington D.C., he served on the staff of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops (1973-92) working on issues of foreign policy and domestic policy, including being the staff director of the Catholic Bishops pastoral letter (“The Challenge of Peace” – 1983).  From 2002-2003 he was President of Catholic Charities USA, the nationwide network of social service agencies for the Catholic church in the United States.  In the Archdiocese of Boston, Fr. Hehir represents Cardinal O’Malley to four social service agencies and also serves as a liaison to Catholic health systems in the Archdiocese.  He was a member of the Vatican Delegation to the United Nations (1973 and 1978).  At HKS he is a Faculty Associate at the Carr Center for Human Rights and at the Safra Center for Ethics and the Professions.  His teaching, research and writing focus on ethics and foreign policy and the role of religion in world politics and in American society. 

            Hehir is a recipient of the MacArthur Award, the Laetare Award (University of Notre Dame), the American Academy of Religion’s Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion, and the Kennedy School’s Carballo Award for excellence in teaching.

            He is member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.  He serves on the Board of the Arms Control Association and the Roundtable for Church Management.


Transparent Engagement

Harvard Kennedy School is proud of its energetic involvement in the world. To better understand how to solve public problems by improving policy and leadership, we engage directly with policymakers, public leaders, governments, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit businesses whose activities affect those problems. However, we recognize that such engagement can raise questions about perceived and potential conflicts of interest, so we disclose publicly the key professional activities of our faculty outside the Kennedy School.

Outside Professional Activities For J. Bryan Hehir

Outside Professional Activities:

(For the following lectures, I received compensation and travel)

  • Guest Lecturer: National Defense University, Washington, D.C. (1987-present): Topic: “Ethics and Strategy”
  • Catholic Health Association: Direct a seminar annually for “Future Leaders” (2011 – present)
  • Villanova University: Lecture on Just War Ethics and the Third Nuclear Age (March 2019)
  • Catholic Charities USA: Lecture for National Staff (May 2019)
  • Georgetown University: Lecture on “Vatican Diplomacy: Three Models” ( November 2019)

Board Membership:

  • Member of the Board of Trustees: The Leadership Roundtable for Church Management
  • Member of the Board of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies
  • As a dimension of my role in the Archdiocese, I am a member of the Board of Trustees of (1) Catholic Charities Bureau of the Archdiocese of Boston; (2) St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children (Dorchester); (3) St. Ann’s Home (Methuen); (4) The Planning of Office for Urban Affairs (Boston); (5) The Archdiocesan Labor Guild; (6) Caritas Cubana; (7) President of TSA
  • Member of the Board of Trustees: The World Peace Foundation



Phone: 617-494-7776
Assistant: Rosita Scarfo


Human Rights
International Relations & Security

Mailing Address

Harvard Kennedy School
79 John F. Kennedy St.
Cambridge, MA 02138