"Saradzhyan Brings Insight, Experience to Center’s U.S. - Russian Research"
Simon Saradzhyan is a Belfer Center Fellow
Author: Dominic Contreras
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: The US-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism
The English reporter and columnist A.N. Wilson once mused: “If you imagine writing 1,000 words a day, which most journalists do, that would be a very long book.” Not only would it be a long book, it would likely cover a multitude of subjects, themes, and ideas.
If Simon Saradzhyan, current fellow and former Russian journalist, were to write it, it would encompass everything from state and local politics in Russia and the Caucasus to issues of international security, nuclear terrorism, and diplomacy.
Between 1993 and 1999, Saradzhyan worked as a journalist, then as editor of the Moscow Times. Writing in both his native Russian and English, he contributed scores of articles and analysis for that and other publications, including the Times of London, Defense News, and Space News.
“As my portfolio expanded, I realized I had accumulated enough knowledge, experience, and skills to look beyond current headlines,” Saradzhyan said, “and I began looking for opportunities where I could translate that accumulated knowledge into some kind of product.”
In 2000, Saradzhyan enrolled at Harvard Kennedy School where his professors included the Belfer Center’s Graham Allison, Ashton B. Carter, and the late Ernest May. Being at the Kennedy School “immensely enhanced my understanding of how to approach a problem and how to propose solutions,” Saradzhyan said.
After graduating in 2002 with a master’s in public administration, Saradzhyan used his newly sharpened analytic skills as a consultant with the World Bank and United Nations, focusing on the North Caucasus. In 2008, at the invitation of Allison, Saradzhyan returned to the Kennedy School, where he joined the Belfer Center as a research fellow.
At the Center, Saradzhyan played a central role in one of the Center’s landmark projects, the 2011 “U.S.-Russia Joint Threat Assessment of Nuclear Terrorism,” which brought together senior Russian and U.S. intelligence and military officials to assess the ongoing threat of nuclear terrorism, a project he proposed. A follow-up paper is expected sometime next year.
Though no longer a full-time journalist, Saradzhyan continues to write prolifically. He regularly pens opinion and analyses pieces for both foreign and domestic publications and is co-writing a book chapter on Sino-Russian relations.
Asked to reflect on what kind of an impact institutes like the Belfer Center have on policy, Saradzhyan said that they have the “resources, intellectual fire-power, and freedom to propose ideas that impact trends that are of vital importance to nations and to the international community as a whole.”
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