Arani Kajenthira, a research fellow with the Science, Technology, and Public Policy program, shares a light moment during a discussion of her recent work on the water-energy-food nexus and implications for agricultural policy making in the Middle East.
Fellows Enrich Belfer Center and Harvard Kennedy School with Vital Research, Dialogue
Newsletter Article, Belfer Center Newsletter, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Author: Sharon Wilke, Associate Director of Communications
Several times each week, the Belfer Center library is filled with students, faculty, and fellows eager to listen, challenge, and exchange information and ideas triggered by the day’s presentation. Many of these talks are by one of the Center’s more than 70 research and senior fellows.
These dynamic sessions enrich presenter and participants. They provide opportunities for Belfer Center fellows to learn, test rationales, theories, and conclusions, and to hone their research and presentation skills with an audience of peers and veteran academics, practitioners and experts in their fields and related areas. The fellows contribute significantly to the breadth and depth of dialogue that makes the Belfer Center thrive.
The fellowship program has been an integral part of the Belfer Center since its founding in 1973. As envisioned by Center founder Paul Doty, the program helps prepare future generations of leaders in international security and other critical fields where science, technology, environmental policy, and international affairs intersect. It is an essential component of the Center mission to advance policy-relevant knowledge about the most important challenges in these arenas.
Research Fellows Contribute Depth and Breadth to Issue and Policy Debates
This year, the Center is hosting nearly 60 pre- and post-doctoral research fellows who hail from more than 17 countries and have worked in government, academia, and business. Selected through a highly competitive process, the fellows stay at the Center for one or two years. Fellows work within one of the following Center programs or projects: International Security Program (ISP), Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program (STPP), Environment and Natural Resource Program (ENRP), Energy and Technology Innovation Policy research group (ETIP), Project on Managing the Atom (MTA), the Initiative on Religion in International Affairs (RIIA), Broadmoor Project, Middle East Initiative (MEI), Future of Diplomacy Project (FDP), and the Geopolitics of Energy Project.
Most research fellows conduct their own research during their tenure at the Center, often completing dissertations and books or switching gears to a new focus. Other research fellows join Center teams working on grant-funded projects. Following are a few of the Center’s many talented research fellows:
- Trevor Findlay, a joint research fellow with ISP and MTA, drew a large crowd at the library recently with his presentation “The IAEA and Fukushima: Best Laid Plans, Reality Checks, and Doing it Better Next Time.” A former Australian diplomat and current director of the Canadian Centre for Treaty Compliance at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, Findlay is working on a project to strengthen the International Atomic Energy Agency.
- Jonas Meckling, a research fellow with the Geopolitics of Energy project, specializes in global energy and climate politics. Originally from Germany, he worked in international environmental policymaking with the European Commission. He recently published a book titled Carbon Coalitions: Business, Climate Politics, and the Rise of Emissions Trading.
- Annie Tracy Samuel, an ISP research fellow who holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and Israel, is completing her dissertation on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Iran-Iraq War. Her research interests include Iranian security and foreign policy, the role of Islam in military and foreign policy, and U.S. policy in the Middle East.
- Mansour Salsabili, a joint research fellow with ISP and MTA, is a senior political expert on leave from Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A disarmament expert whose previous work at the United Nations included reforms to the Non-Aligned Movement, his current research is on nuclear non-proliferation.
- Arani Kajenthira, a research fellow with STPP who completed her doctorate at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, is a biological engineer working with the ETIP research group on the role of public policy in management and distribution of water resources, particularly in light of climate change.
Some fellows are selected to conduct research through specific Center fellowships. These include Ernest May Fellows in History and Policy and Stanton Nuclear Security Fellows who generally are in residence for a year. Fisher Family Fellows are selected by the Future of Diplomacy project to spend a week or two each semester making presentations, teaching classes, and meeting with students.
Senior Fellows Share Real-World Experience, Insight
In addition to research fellows, the Center community includes several senior fellows. These highly experienced and respected specialists in their fields come to the Center for a year or more, bringing insight and expertise that they share with the greater Harvard community. Current senior fellows include Olli Heinonen, Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, and William Tobey, whose research focuses on nuclear issues. Richard Rosecrance is an expert on U.S.-China relations, Ben Heineman on corporate governance and policy and Chuck Freilich on security and governance in the Middle East. Cristine Russell focuses on environmental/media issues and Rami Khouri on the Middle East.
International and Global Affairs Student Fellows Prepare for Leadership, Service
The Belfer Center provides funding for International and Global Affairs (IGA) student fellows, known as Belfer IGA (BIGA) fellows. The BIGA Fellowship Program prepares a community of high-achieving Harvard Kennedy School students with strong analytical, research and leadership skills and awareness of the importance of service in the international and global arena.
Center Alumni Serve in Government, Academia, NGOs
Since its founding in 1973, the Belfer Center has produced more than 500 alumni. These mostly former fellows make up a who’s who in the fields of international security and arms control, science and technology, environmental affairs, and diplomacy.
“There's not a single major graduate training program in the country and, to some extent, in the world, that does not have one, and often multiple, alumni of our center on their faculties,” according to Steven Miller, director of the International Security Program and one of the Center’s earliest fellows. A number of Center alums, he pointed out, are serving in government in the United States and elsewhere.
“The Belfer Center is, at its heart, people,” said Kevin Ryan, the Center’s executive director for research. “The fellows who come to the center refine their ideas and then proliferate them through discussions and debates with faculty academics, students, and policymakers and shapers who come from Washington and other capitals around the globe to hear new ways of thinking about vexing problems.”
For more information about this publication please contact the Belfer Center Communications Office at 617-495-9858.
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