Former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is moving to Harvard University
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) – Former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who has her country through a devastating mass shootingwill temporarily join Harvard University later this year, Kennedy School dean Douglas Elmendorf said Tuesday.
A global icon of the left and an inspiration to women around the world, Ardern has been named to a dual fellowship at Harvard Kennedy School. She will serve as an Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow and Hauser Leader at the school’s Center for Public Leadership beginning in fall 2023.
“Jacinda Ardern has shown the world strong and empathetic political leadership,” Elmendorf said in a statement, adding that Ardern “will bring important insights to our students and will have important conversations about the policy choices that leaders at every level face.” .”
Ardern, who was just 37 when she became prime minister in 2017, shocked New Zealanders when she announced in January that she was step down from the role after more than 5 years because she didn’t have “enough in the tank” to do her justice.
She has faced mounting political pressure at home, including over her handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which was initially widely praised but later criticized by those opposed to mandates and rules.
She said she sees the opportunity at Harvard not only as a chance to share her experiences with others, but also to learn.
“As leaders, there is often very little time for reflection, but reflection is critical if we are to properly support the next generation of leaders,” she said.
Ardern’s tenure at the University of Cambridge, Massachusetts will also include serving as the first tech governance leadership fellow at the school’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.
The center was a key partner as New Zealand worked to combat violent extremism online after a white supremacist Gunman killed 51 people in two mosques in the city of Christchurch in 2019, Ardern said. The gunman live-streamed the massacre on Facebook for 17 minutes before the video was removed.
Two months after filming Ardern started the Christchurch Call with French President Emmanuel Macron. The aim of the initiative is to remove terrorist and violent extremist content from the Internet.
More than 50 countries joined the initiative, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and South Korea, as well as technology companies such as Facebook parent company Meta, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, YouTube, Zoom and Twitter.
“The Center was an incredibly important partner as we developed the Christchurch Call to Action Against Online Violent Extremism,” Ardern said, adding that the grant will not only be an opportunity to collaborate with the Center’s research community, but to be to work on the challenges surrounding the growth of generative AI tools.
Jonathan Zittrain, co-founder of the Berkman Klein Center, said it’s rare for a head of state to delve deeply into a complex and fast-paced topic of digital politics.
“Jacinda Ardern’s hard-earned expertise – including her ability to bring diverse people and institutions together – will be invaluable as we all seek viable solutions to some of the most pervasive problems online,” he said in a statement.
Ardern said she plans to return to New Zealand after the grants.
Associated Press writer Nick Perry contributed from Wellington, New Zealand.