Former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that she will be leaving politics for a more sedate academic environment at Harvard University this fall, thanks to two scholarships she has been awarded. According to a press announcement from the institution, she has been assigned to dual fellowships at the Harvard Kennedy School.
She will be the Hauser Leader in the School’s Center for Public Leadership, a program where leaders from various sectors help students and faculty build leadership skills, and the Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow, a program for high-profile leaders transitioning out of public service roles.
“Jacinda Ardern showed the world strong and empathetic political leadership,” said Kennedy School Dean Douglas Elmendorf in the news release. “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.”
“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 the release. “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 is also finishing up a separate fellowship at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, where she will research methods to limit extremist propaganda online. On Wednesday, Arden said on Instagram that she will be engaging in “some speaking, teaching, and learning.”
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Two months after the 2019 terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, which left 51 people dead, she helped develop an initiative called Christchurch Call to battle terrorist and violent extremist content online. She noted that Harvard had been a key collaborator in her work for Christchurch Call.
The assailant had posted a manifesto and live-streamed the attack online. During her absence, Ardern will miss the New Zealand general election, but she has promised to return after completing her fellowships. She said, “After all, New Zealand is home!” In 2017, at the age of 37, Ardern became the third female leader of New Zealand and one of the youngest leaders in the world when she was elected prime minister.
Only the second world leader to give birth while in office, she did so less than a year after taking office. She presided over several disasters during her term in office, including the Christchurch terrorist incident, a fatal volcanic eruption, and a worldwide epidemic.
As a result of her compassion while guiding New Zealand through these difficulties and her decision to bring her infant daughter to the United Nations General Assembly, she rose fast to become a progressive global icon. But at home, her support waned due to rising prices, housing shortages, and economic uncertainty.
The capital city of Wellington experienced violent anti-lockdown rallies, and she was the target of death threats. In January, Ardern unexpectedly resigned, citing a lack of energy as the reason she would not be running in the next election.
She gave her farewell address earlier this month, addressing all the geeks, crybabies, huggers, mothers, and ex-Mormons of the world and assuring them, “You can be all of these things.” You can not only participate, but also take the helm. “The same as me”
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