Former Prime Minister Dame Jacinda Ardern downed her Harvard textbooks to rub shoulders with Hollywood A-listers and political royalty at George and Amal Clooney’s second annual Albie Awards in New York.
The 400-person guest list for the Clooney Foundation for Justice benefit included a who’s who of world leaders, including Melinda Gates, the prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, and stars from Hollywood like Greta Gerwig, Emily Blunt, Daniel Craig and Scarlett Johansson.
The “Albies” are given to recognise individuals who have “defended justice”. Funds raised from the event, according to human rights attorney Amal Clooney, would go towards “providing free legal support to victims of human rights abuse”.
World Affairs Council of Washington DC communications director Yeganeh Rezaian and journalist Jason Rezaian posted a photo of a beaming Ardern.
She also snapped a pic with Bridge to Terabithia star AnnaSophia Robb at the gala (the seventh photo in the series of pictures below).
Ardern shocked the nation in January when she announced she was resigning as Prime Minister.
Due to her simultaneous Harvard fellowships at the Berkman Klein Centre for Internet and Society and the Kennedy School’s Centre for Public Leadership, Ardern has been in the US during this election season.
She will continue working on the Christchurch Call, an international effort to remove violent and terroristic content online, while she is a student at the institution.
Yesterday, Ardern didn’t let flash flooding in New York City stop her from getting her vote in for the New Zealand election.
In a post to Instagram this morning, Ardern said it’s the first time since she started voting that she hasn’t been involved in the campaign.
“Popping a ballot in the box felt just as important,” she said.
Ardern left little to the imagination on where her votes went, confirming she had given “two ticks for Chippy and the Labour team”.
Since resigning from her role as Prime Minister on January 19, Ardern was in relative obscurity before recently coming back into the spotlight to support causes close to her heart.
At the beginning of April, she delivered a valedictory speech to Parliament which capped more than five years spent as the Prime Minister, marked by a series of tragedies in the Christchurch mosque attacks, Whakaari/White Island eruption and Covid-19 pandemic - and Ardern’s globally respected responses to them.
At the end of April, Ardern revealed her new Harvard University post specialising in technology governance.
She made the announcement on her Instagram account, confirming she’d been invited to join Harvard University later this year.
In the post, Ardern explained she would take up the first tech governance leadership fellow at the Berkman Klein Centre and work with its research community.
In May, she reflected on her time as head of the country throughout the pandemic in a speech during the opening of the World Health Organisation’s 76th assembly in Geneva.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Ardern was in Montreal for the Global Progress Action Summit, a gathering of left-leaning political figures both past and present.
There, she was haggled on the street by an alt-right journalist, who accused of her being a hypocrite in a viral video.
Earlier this week, Ardern revealed she didn’t resign because of burnout and said she could have kept going.
The former PM appeared on the US talk show Good Morning America to reflect on her career and discuss her new life outside of politics.
She was in New York to speak during the Earthshot Innovation Summit - Prince William’s environmental charity.
Ardern described her life as “very different” almost nine months after her resignation, following 15 years of working in Parliament.
Rachel Maher is an Auckland-based reporter who covers breaking news. She has worked for the Herald since 2022.