Ex-New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to join Harvard

Ardern has been appointed to dual fellowships at the Harvard Kennedy School

New Zealand Ardern Jacinda Ardern makes her final speech to New Zealand's Parliament in Wellington, on Wednesday, April 5, 2023 | AP

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who helped lead her country through a devastating mass shooting, will be joining Harvard University later this year, Kennedy School Dean Douglas Elmendorf said Tuesday.

Ardern, a global icon of the left and an inspiration to women around the world, has been appointed to dual fellowships at the Harvard Kennedy School. At Harvard Law, Ardern will focus on the study of online extremism and at the Kennedy School, she will study building leadership and governance skills. The fellowships will begin in the autumn. “While I’ll be gone for a semester (helpfully the one that falls during the NZ general election!) I’ll be coming back at the end of the fellowships. After all, New Zealand is home!” Ardern told the Guardian.

Ardern was given an honorary doctorate of law in 2022 and received a standing ovation when she delivered a speech at Harvard’s commencement on gun control and democracy. Though Ardern will be away, she will continue work on the Christchurch Call, an inter-governmental and tech company pledge to prevent extremist and terrorist content from being spread online. 

She will also continue to be on the board of Prince William’s Earthshot Prize, which awards five prizes of 1 million GBP each year for work providing solutions to major environmental problems.  

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