Former prime minister Jacinda Ardern has revealed her new Harvard University post specialising in technology governance.
Ardern made the announcement on her Instagram account, confirming she’d been invited to join Harvard University later this year.
In the post, Ardern explained that the role would see her take up the first tech governance leadership fellow at the Berkman Klein Center and work with its research community.
She will also be involved in work around the growth of generative AI tools.
As part of her role, Harvard has revealed Ardern will be studying ways to improve content standards and platform accountability for extremist content online, and also to examine artificial intelligence governance and algorithmic harms.
In her social media post, the former leader said she’d hinted at her plans to do “some speaking, teaching, and learning” alongside her previously announced jobs working as a special envoy to the Christchurch Call and joining the Earthshot board.
“Harvard have been a really important partner in the Christchurch Call work,” said Ardern.
“My semester there later this year will also be an opportunity to take up the first tech governance leadership fellowship at the Berkman Klien Center.”
Ardern said she will also be sharing her experiences at the historic university campus through her time speaking both in New Zealand and abroad.
The former Prime Minister already has a connection to Harvard University: She was honoured with the Harvard Kennedy School Center for Public Leadership’s Gleitsman International Activist Award in 2020.
Ardern also delivered a commencement address at the University last year.
At the time, Harvard President Larry Bacow called Ardern “one of the most respected leaders on the world stage” and that she “modelled compassionate leadership” to bring empathy and science-based solutions together to address challenges.
Harvard University announced her new post this morning, referring to Ardern as having earned international acclaim through her leadership of the country over the last six years.
The news was revealed by Kennedy School Dean, Douglas Elmendorf.
“Jacinda Ardern showed the world strong and empathetic political leadership,” said Elmendorf.
“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.”
The post will last a semester. She will return to New Zealand “at the end of the fellowships”.
Ardern’s new role is a part of the Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Program, which Harvard established with support from Greek author, Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki.
It provides the chance for high-profile leaders who are transitioning from public service roles to spend time in residence at Harvard Kennedy School.
The Hauser Leaders Program, which is based in the School’s Center for Public Leadership, has historically brought several high-profile leaders from public, private and nonprofit organizations to campus each semester “to engage with students and faculty on building skills in principled leadership”.
Ardern added in the statement she was “humbled” to be given the opportunity to join the program.
“Not only will it give me the opportunity to share my experience with others, it will give me a chance to learn,” she said.
“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.”
Jacinda Ardern became the world’s youngest female head of government, at age 37, when she took office in 2017 as New Zealand’s prime minister.
She stepped down from her role leading the country at the beginning of this year.
In her addresses to the media, she said she’d hoped to leave a legacy as a leader who “can be kind but strong”.
Harvard University referred to some of Arden’s highlights whilst serving in office, acknowledging the widespread praise for her leadership style and “strong response” to the Christchurch Mosque Attacks in 2019, which killed 51 people.
She also faced protests against her vaccine policy during the Covid-19 pandemic but earned broad support for the strict lockdown and public health policies that observers credited with saving tens of thousands of lives in New Zealand.
Ardern graduated from the University of Waikato in 2001 and became the youngest member of Parliament in 2008.
She has twice been named to Time Magazine’s Most Influential People list.