Harvard University — Executive Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Duties & Responsibilities

The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs is the hub of Harvard Kennedy School’s research, teaching, and training in international security and diplomacy, environmental and resource issues, and science and technology policy. In 2018, for the fifth year in a row, the Belfer Center was ranked the world’s #1 University Affiliated Think Tank.

The Center has a dual mission: (1) to provide leadership in advancing policy-relevant knowledge about the most important challenges of international security and other critical issues where science, technology, environmental policy, and international affairs intersect; and (2) to prepare future generations of leaders for these arenas.

The Belfer Center seeks a highly talented leader to serve as Executive Director. Reporting to the Director and Co-Director, the Executive Director will have five main responsibilities:

First, the Executive Director will serve as a key member of the Center’s senior leadership team and as the Belfer Center’s Chief Operating Officer. The Executive Director will oversee and manage all financial, administrative and operational functions of the Center, including human resources, fellowship selection processes, and quality control of research funding submissions. The Executive Director will be responsible for building and maintaining a high-performing, positive organizational culture that values each member of the team. The Executive Director will be expected to use management and leadership best practices for training and professional development of staff throughout the Center.

Second, the Executive Director will be play a key leadership role in developing and contributing to the Center’s substantive and intellectual work. For example, the Executive Director could develop a new research initiative, come up with a communication strategy to magnify the impact of Center research, write research reports and other publications, and speak publicly about issues related to international affairs, science and technology. The Executive Director will be expect to develop her/his own area in which she/he strives to advance policy-relevant knowledge and have impact on an important issue.

Third, the Executive Director will work with the Harvard Kennedy School’s leadership, faculty, students, benefactors, and others in ensuring that the Center’s initiatives move forward and are integrated into the larger mission of the School. The Executive Director will serve as a key liaison between the Center and the Kennedy School, the Harvard community, and audiences beyond the University.

Fourth, the Executive Director will lead the Center’s work in support of students who have interest in science, technology and international affairs. The Executive Director will run the Belfer student fellowship program, and will be expected to develop and execute creative new ways to support and spark student interest in science and international affairs, including workshops, conferences, study groups, research seminars, and field work.

Fifth, the Executive Director will play a leadership role in maintaining and expanding a sustainable fundraising framework for the Center. The Executive Director will work closely with other Center and Kennedy School senior leaders in maintaining current donor relationships and cultivating new ones so as to increase the resources available to support the Center’s activities. In this effort, the Executive Director will work closely with the HKS Alumni Relations and Resource Development Office

Additional Information

Harvard University requires pre-employment reference and background checks.

Harvard University is committed to supporting a healthy, sustainable learning and working environment.

Basic Qualifications

Master’s and/or advanced professional degree and five years of increasingly challenging management experience in the private, public or non-profit sectors

Additional Qualifications

  • A minimum of three years of experience with finance, controls and budgeting, including the ability to read, understand and act on complex financial reports.
  • Proven experience in raising money and/or conducting business development.
  • A successful history of managing, motivating, supporting and leading teams.
  • Deep expertise in an area of science, technology and international affairs.
  • A demonstrated ability and commitment to develop and maintain productive relationships with a wide set of stakeholders, such as faculty, fellows, staff, students, senior government and private sector leaders, donors, and board members.
  • An entrepreneurial spirit and a demonstrated capacity launching and running new projects.
  • Outstanding communication skills.
  • Experience working/studying at the Harvard Kennedy School is strongly preferred.


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