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Kevin Rudd

Kevin Rudd

Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

 

Experience

Mr. Rudd served as Australia’s 26th Prime Minister (2007-2010, 2013) and as Foreign Minister (2010- 2012). He led Australia’s response during the Global Financial Crisis, reviewed by the IMF as the most effective stimulus strategy of all major economies. Australia was the only major developed economy not to go into recession. Mr. Rudd was a co-founder of the G20, established to drive the global response to the crisis, and which through its actions in 2009 prevented the global economy from spiraling into depression.

As Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mr. Rudd was active in regional and global foreign policy leadership. He was a driving force in expanding the East Asia Summit to include both the U.S. and Russia in 2010, having in 2008 launched an initiative for the long-term transformation of the EAS into a wider Asia Pacific Community. On climate change, Mr. Rudd ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2007 and legislated in 2008 for a 20% mandatory renewable energy target for Australia. He represented Australia at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Summit which produced the Copenhagen Accord, for the first time committing states to not allow temperature increases beyond two degrees. He was a member of the UN High Level Panel on Global Sustainability and is a co-author of the report “Resilient People, Resilient Planet” for the 2012 Rio+20 Conference. Mr. Rudd drove Australia’s successful bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for 2012-14. His government also saw the near doubling of Australia’s foreign aid budget to approximately $5 billion, making Australia then one of the top ten aid donors in the world. He also appointed Australia’s first ever Ambassador for Women and Girls to support the critical role of women in development and reduce physical and sexual violence against women.

Domestically, Mr. Rudd delivered a formal apology to indigenous Australians. In education, his government introduced Australia’s first nation-wide school curriculum, undertook a record capital investment program in Australian schools with the building of thousands of new state-of-the-art libraries, as well as introducing the first mandatory national assessment system for literacy and numeracy standards. In health, Mr. Rudd in 2010 negotiated the National Health and Hospitals Reform Agreement, the biggest reform of and investment in the health system since the introduction of Medicare 30 years before. His government established a national network of leading-edge cancer-care centers across Australia, before introducing the world’s first ever plain-packaging regime for all tobacco products. To improve the rate of organ and tissue donation, he established the National Organ and Tissue Transplant Authority. In 2010, he introduced Australia’s first paid parental leave scheme and implemented the biggest increase in, and reform of, the age pension in a century. He also founded the National Broadband Network to deliver high-speed broadband for every household, business, school, hospital and GP in the country.

Mr. Rudd is President of the Asia Society Policy Institute in New York. ASPI is a “think-do tank” dedicated to second track diplomacy to assist governments and businesses on policy challenges within Asia, and between Asia, the U.S. and the West. He is also Chair of the Independent Commission on Multilateralism where in 2015-6 he leads a review of the UN system. Mr. Rudd is a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School where in 2014-15 he completed a major policy report on “Alternative Futures for U.S.-China Relations.” He is a Distinguished Fellow at Chatham House in London, a Distinguished Statesman with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, and a Distinguished Fellow at the Paulson Institute in Chicago. Mr. Rudd is a member of the Comprehensive Test Ban Organization’s Group of Eminent Persons. He is proficient in Mandarin Chinese, serves as a Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, and co-chairs the China Global Affairs Council of the World Economic Forum.

Mr. Rudd in his private capacity has established the National Apology Foundation to continue the work of reconciliation and closing the gap with indigenous Australians, as well as the Asia Pacific Community Foundation to promote regional security, economic, and environmental cooperation, and the development of effective regional institutional architecture for the future.

 

 

By Date

 

2015

CICA

June 19, 2015

"The Rise of two Asias"

Op-Ed, The Straits Times

By Kevin Rudd, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Chinese political, economic and foreign policy influence in Asia will continue to grow significantly, while China will also become a more active participant in the reform of the global rules-based order.

A core geopolitical fact emerging is that we are now seeing the rise of what (analyst) Evan Feigenbaum has described as "two Asias": an "economic Asia" that is increasingly dominated by China; and a "security Asia" that remains dominated by the United States.

 

 

Ambasse de France

May 25, 2015

"Paris Can't Be Another Copenhagen"

Op-Ed, The New York Times

By Kevin Rudd, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

As a former prime minister of Australia, I understand something of the political costs leaders must bear in aiming to reconcile the long-term interests of the planet with short-term national interests.

 

 

AP Images

April 16, 2015

America and China are rivals with a common cause

Op-Ed, Financial Times

By Kevin Rudd, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

When China’s economic output eventually surpasses America’s some time in the next decade, it will be the first time since the reign of George III that the world’s largest economy belongs to a country that is not western, not English-speaking and not a liberal democratic state. Yet, in the asymmetric world that is emerging, the US will remain the dominant military force. The fulcrums of economic and military power are separating. Can these changes in the distribution of power occur peacefully?

 

 

April 2015

SUMMARY REPORT: U.S.-China 21

Summary Report

By Kevin Rudd, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

The future relationship between China and the United States is one of the mega-changes and mega-challenges of our age. China’s rise is the geopolitical equivalent of the melting polar ice caps – gradual change on a massive scale that can suddenly lead to dramatic turns of events.

In this Summary Report of a longer forthcoming work, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, a senior fellow at the Belfer Center, asks if this defining trend of the 21st century can be managed peacefully? He argues that it can – if Washington and Beijing commit to placing their relationship on a stable, long-term footing.

Rudd's findings emerge from a major study he led at the Center on the possibilities and impacts of a new strategic relationship between China and the United States.

 

2014

Aspen Strategy Group

November 2014

The Crisis with Russia

Book

By Nicholas Burns, Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations, Harvard Kennedy School, Jonathon Price, Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, Joseph S. Nye, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor, Kevin Rudd, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Meghan L. O'Sullivan, Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School and Stephen Hadley

The Crisis with Russia is a collection of papers by preeminent U.S.-Russia policy experts, academics, journalists, and business leaders. This volume explores topics ranging from the history of the U.S.-Russia relationship, current developments in the Sino-Russian relationship, the NATO and European responses to Russian aggression in Eastern Europe, energy considerations, areas of potential U.S.-Russia cooperation, and finally, the broader question of U.S. national security and interests in the European region.

 

 

(AP Photo)

November 13, 2014

"Xi and Obama have shown leadership on emissions"

Op-Ed, Financial Times

By Kevin Rudd, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

In the cynical world of politics it is important, just occasionally, to give credit where it is due. The commitments on carbon emissions announced on Wednesday by President Barack Obama of the US and President Xi Jinping of China, supported by the significant diplomacy of Secretary of State John Kerry, are both environmentally substantive and politically influential. Between them, these countries account for 44 per cent of global carbon emissions – a share that is still rising.

 

 

(AP Photo/Andy Wong)

October 16, 2014

"Challenges China faces for its future"

Op-Ed, CNBC

By Kevin Rudd, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

China's political, economic and foreign policy over the next decade is not only fundamental to the country itself, but also to the wider Asia-Pacific region and – increasingly -- the world beyond.

China already represents 16 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP), rising to 28 percent by 2030. China is also by far the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Furthermore, continued maritime boundary disputes in both the East and South China seas are a significant continuing factor in the region's underlining strategic instability. How China deals with each of these challenges is therefore of significance to us all.

 

 

Al Jazeera English Photo

April 18, 2014

"How to Navigate the East China Sea Dispute between Japan and China"

Op-Ed, The Washington Post

By Joseph S. Nye, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor and Kevin Rudd, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

"...[T]he best we can aim for is to revive the wisdom of the original Zhou-Tanaka formula. One way of doing this, as some have suggested, might be to declare the islands a maritime ecological preserve dedicated to the larger good of the region. There would be no habitation and no military use of the islands or the surrounding seas. Ideally, China and Japan would agree, but that may be unlikely in the current climate. Other mechanisms could be explored to produce the same end."

 
Events Calendar

We host a busy schedule of events throughout the fall, winter and spring. Past guests include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.