Former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is heading to Harvard.
Ardern wrote that she’ll join Harvard University as a fellow later this year in a post on Instagram Tuesday. She wrote that her semester there will include research, speaking engagements and learning, as well as “work on the challenges around the growth of generative AI tools.”
“I am incredibly humbled to be joining Harvard University as a fellow — not only will it give me the opportunity to share my experience with others, it will give me a chance to learn,” Ardern said in a statement. “As leaders, there’s often very little time for reflection, but reflection is critical if we are to properly support the next generation of leaders.”
Ardern, who gave the Harvard commencement speech in May 2022, was awarded the Harvard Kennedy School Center for Public Leadership Gleitsman International Activist Award in 2020. During her commencement speech, she challenged graduates to “save a seat for others, to make room for others, to ensure that the opportunities afforded by your education do not enrich your life alone.”
Ardern will be a 2023 Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow, which Harvard said is for “high-profile leaders who are transitioning from public service roles,” and a Hauser Leader in the Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership, where she’ll “engage with students and faculty on building skills in principled leadership.” The dual fellowship begins this fall.
“Jacinda Ardern showed the world strong and empathetic political leadership,” Kennedy School Dean Douglas Elmendor said in a statement. “She earned respect far beyond the shores of her country, and she will bring important insights for our students and will generate vital conversations about the public policy choices facing leaders at all levels.”
Ardern became prime minister in 2017 when she was 37, and her Labour Party won in a landslide in 2020. She was praised by supporters for her handling of terrorism, natural disasters and COVID-19 during her time in office, and she stepped down in January, saying she “no longer had enough in the tank.”
Ardern has other plans for life after elected office. Earlier this month, she took an unpaid role as special envoy for Christchurch Call, an initiative to fight online extremism she co-founded with French President Emmanuel Macron following the 2019 shooting targeting worshippers at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. She also joined the board of trustees of Earthshot Prize, an environmental group founded by Prince William.