Former Secretary of State John Kerry to Deliver 2017 Graduation Address at Harvard Kennedy School

CAMBRIDGE MA – Former United States Secretary of State John Kerry will deliver the Graduation Address to the Harvard Kennedy School Class of 2017 at 2 p.m. on May 24 at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), HKS Dean Douglas Elmendorf announced today.

Kerry is Yale University’s Distinguished Fellow for Global Affairs where he is leading the Kerry Initiative on public policy innovation from foreign policy to climate change, as well as serving as the inaugural Visiting Distinguished Statesman at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He served as the nation’s 68th Secretary of State, assuming office in February 2013.

During his tenure at the State Department, Kerry was a respected global leader on a wide range of international issues, including nuclear proliferation, the battle against radical extremism, climate change, and humanitarian crises. Kerry negotiated a unity government in Afghanistan to help keep the country from splintering apart. He became the first Secretary of State to meet with Iran’s foreign minister since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, and he was the State Department’s negotiator and architect of the landmark 2015 agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear program. He also helped negotiate the 2016 Paris Agreement, an international climate change accord designed to significantly reduce global carbon emissions.

A graduate of Yale University and Boston College Law School, and a Vietnam combat veteran who spoke out against the war when he returned home, Kerry began his career in Massachusetts government as a prosecutor in Middlesex County. He was elected lieutenant governor of Massachusetts in 1982 and to the U.S. Senate two years later where he would serve five terms.

Kerry became chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2009, where he played a key leadership role on myriad foreign policy and national security challenges facing the United States and acted as a diplomatic troubleshooter during President Obama’s first term. During his time in Congress, Kerry also held senior positions on the Finance, Commerce, and Small Business committees and served as a member of the bipartisan Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction.

“John Kerry is a remarkable public servant who has dedicated decades working for peace, security, humanitarian and social justice, and the fight against human-caused climate change,” said Dean Elmendorf. “We are delighted that he will deliver the Graduation Address to the HKS Class of 2017.”

The address will be live-streamed on the HKS website: http://www.hks.harvard.edu/live. Journalists interested in covering the address should contact the HKS Communications Office at 617-495-1115.

Media Contact: Doug Gavel, (617) 495-1115