Hillary Clinton Visits Harvard

{shortcode-024dc6af9d979a889c1ebd4809ecb88925f31407} UPDATED: March 4, 2017 at 1:42 p.m.

Hillary Clinton was on Harvard's campus Friday to discuss her time as Secretary of State and attend a luncheon in Kirkland House.

Clinton took part in an interview as part of the“ American Secretaries of State Project: Diplomacy, Negotiation, and Statecraft”, a joint project of the Kennedy School, Law School, and Business School, according to a statement from the Kennedy School.

Harvard’s Institute of Politics hosted a “Fireside Chat” with Secretary Clinton Friday morning in Kirkland House’s with undergraduate members of the IOP’s Student Advisory Committee. Five spots for the Kirkland event with Clinton were given to Kirkland residents Thursday evening.

Clinton served as Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. Clinton ran for President of the United States beginning in May 2015, and lost the election in a victory many across the University found upsetting and surprising. Throughout her campaign, Clinton enjoyed wide support amongst both Harvard students and faculty—a Crimson survey found that roughly 87 percent of undergraduates planned to vote for the former Secretary of State in November’s election.


The American Secretaries of State Project is an effort between the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affair’s Future of Diplomacy Project and the Law School’s Program on Negotiation. Begun in 2012, it plans to interview all living former U.S. Secretaries of State about their experiences conducting international negotiations while in office.

Law School Professor Robert H. Mnookin, Business School professor James K. Sebenius, and Kennedy School professor R. Nicholas Burns lead the project and conducted the interview with Clinton. Sebenius said the interviews with the secretaries focus on challenges they faced in office and also their political experiences with three different geographical regions—the Middle East, Russia or the former Soviet Union, and China.

“We cut it two ways, and one’s around the challenging negotiations and what we can learn from them, and that’s a special interest of all of ours,” Sebenius said. “And the other is looking at the experiences of each of these Secretaries through kind of a regional focus.”

The three professors jointly teach “Great Negotiators, Effective Diplomacy, and Intractable Conflicts”, a class on political negotiation open to students from the Law School, Business School, and Kennedy School. Burns said he and the other professors will incorporate the interviews into a variety of forthcoming projects, including a book on the negotiations of the American Secretaries of State, a series of PBS documentaries, and case studies for use in Harvard classes.

“It really has given us a sweep of American foreign policy through the eyes of the former living Secretaries of State,” Sebenius said.

Clinton is the seventh Secretary of State to take part in the project. In spring 2015, the professors hosted former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright at Harvard as part of the project. In her interview with the professors, Albright spoke about her international negotiations in both her roles as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and as the first female Secretary of State.

The project’s leaders have also interviewed former Secretaries of State George P. Shultz, James A. Baker III, Henry A. Kissinger, Colin L. Powell, and Condoleezza Rice about their experiences in international negotiations. The three professors are also currently writing a book on the negotiations of Secretary Kissinger.

John Kerry, who most recently served as Secretary of State under former President Barack Obama, is the only other living former Secretary who has not yet been interviewed as part of the project.

—Staff writer Brittany N. Ellis can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @britt_ellis10.


Recommended Articles