Swanee Hunt is the Eleanor Roosevelt Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. She founded the Women and Public Policy Program, a research center concerned with domestic and foreign policy, which she directed for more than a decade. She is also core faculty at the Center for Public Leadership and senior advisor to the Carr Center Program on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery.
Rwandan Women Rising
Duke University Press, forthcoming, 2017
In the spring of 1994, the tiny African nation of Rwanda was ripped apart by a genocide that left nearly a million dead. After the violence subsided, Rwanda’s women—drawn by the necessity of protecting their families—carved out unlikely new roles for themselves as visionary pioneers creating stability and reconciliation in genocide’s wake. Today, sixty-four percent of the seats in Rwanda’s elected house of parliament are held by women, a number unrivaled by any other nation.
While news of the genocide reached all corners of the globe, the nation’s recovery and the key role of women are less well known. Rwandan Women Rising shares the stories of some seventy women—heralded activists and unsung heroes alike—who overcame unfathomable brutality, unrecoverable loss, and unending challenges to rebuild Rwandan society. Their accomplishments provide important lessons for policy makers and activists who are working toward equality elsewhere in Africa and other post-conflict societies.
Worlds Apart: Bosnian Lessons for Global Security
Duke University Press, 2011
Worlds Apart tells of a well-meaning foreign policy establishment often deaf to the voices of everyday people. Its focus is the Bosnian War, but its implications extend to any situation that prompts the consideration of military intervention on humanitarian grounds. Ambassador Swanee Hunt served in Vienna during the Bosnian War and was intimately involved in American policy toward the Balkans.
Half-Life of a Zealot
Duke University Press, 2006
Swanee Hunt’s life has lived up to her Texas-size childhood. Daughter of legendary oil magnate H. L. Hunt, she grew up in a household dominated by an arch-conservative patriarch who spawned a brood of colorful offspring. Her family was nothing if not zealous, and that zeal—albeit for more compassionate causes—propelled her into a mission that reaches around the world.
This Was Not Our War
Duke University Press, 2004
This Was Not Our War shares amazing first-person accounts of twenty-six Bosnian women who are reconstructing their society following years of devastating warfare. A university student working to resettle refugees, a paramedic who founded a veterans’ aid group, a fashion designer running two nonprofit organizations, a government minister and professor who survived Auschwitz—these women are advocates, politicians, farmers, journalists, students, doctors, businesswomen, engineers, wives, and mothers.
Here is an unusual opportunity to break open the traditional concept of security and tackle an array of leadership skills while examining the little understood structure of women’s critical role in preventing or stopping violent conflict. Working in groups, students formulate concrete policy recommendations for women’s full inclusion in formal and informal peace processes. The course bridges theory and practice, providing students close interaction with inspiring women leaders from conflicts worldwide. In addition, students receive individual classroom coaching to develop nuanced presentation skills that have a big impact on leadership. Grades are heavily based on an analytical briefing paper for a policy-maker, as well as class participation. Role-play, debate, video clips, films, a mock policy briefing, and small group work enrich learning beyond readings, lectures, and classroom discussion. Many students describe this course as not only iconoclastic, but also transformational. They also say it is a relief to hear gender acknowledged as a significant factor in the field of international security.
Human Trafficking, Slavery, and Abolition in the Modern World
Guest Lecturer for Dr. Orlando Patterson, Harvard University
Dr. Patterson’s course surveys the nature, types and extent of modern servitude, distinguishing broadly between those resulting from international trafficking such as trans-national prostitution, human smuggling into bonded labor, child soldiering and organ trafficking, and more intra-national forms such as debt-bondage and the domestic exploitation of women and other vulnerable groups. Examines the conceptual and theoretical issues raised in attempts to distinguish among these types of differential power relations; the empirical difficulties of estimating the magnitude of what are inherently secretive processes; and the ideological controversies surrounding the subject. Explores ethical, socio- political and practical issues raised by these trends.
Peacebuilding from the Ground Up
Co-taught with Anthony Wanis St. John, Harvard Law School
When we think of negotiating peace, most of us imagine diplomats seated at an international summit or behind-closed-doors at Camp David. In fact, full peace never simply comes from negotiated agreements, regardless of how good they are. The ‘construction’ of peace is something that begins before, continues through and after the negotiation of a formal peace agreement. Concretely, it includes things like people-to-people contacts across enemy lines, reconciliation, human rights, dialogue, the non-violent resolution of differences, and the implementation of a range of smaller agreements. We live in a time of rampant violent conflict and social injustice. We can often feel helpless at the mercy of elected leaders and high-level dignitaries. This course gives participants an opportunity to explore the vast range of ways in which everyday people make the world we live in more peaceful. We will see how the negotiation of sustainable peace is more possible than ever as more people learn the skills, concepts and examples that provide us with the knowledge and tools to transform the communities, societies, and ultimately, the world we live in. We will look at real conflicts and peacebuilding situations around the world, from Spain to Sri Lanka. We will also dialogue about the efforts we can make in our own lives to be agents of building peace.
The Choreography of Social Movements
What motivates masses to demand change? How has religion motivated leaders and shaped crusades for a better American society? Where do you fit into that scene? We will analyze essential elements of American social movements: values, historical moments, leadership, strategy, resources. Students will apply this framework to past and current movements, learning through literature, lectures, guest speakers, documentaries, and discussions. Major assignment will challenge student to design a movement they would lead.