Posted by: Academy of Achievement | 09/04/2013

haft500Nathaniel Haft, Class of 2011
Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation Fellow, Foreign Service Officer,
U.S. Department of State

Prior to my studies as a Catherine B. Reynolds Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership, I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Peru, advising local farmers and artisans on business development. It was there that I gained a passion to pursue a career in American foreign policy. The Reynolds Fellowship pushed me to think boldly about the traditional role of government in diplomacy abroad. It also allowed me to develop a rich network of innovative thinkers in diverse fields — my fellow Fellows — and connected me with mentors who have led in both government and business.

After completing my fellowship, and while still a Master in Public Policy student at Harvard, I co-developed a model to estimate the carbon emissions of ship traffic along the St. Lawrence Seaway, a key international waterway jointly managed by the United States and Canada.  Our research was presented to the U.S. Department of Transportation, informing key policymakers of the relative environmental benefits of ship transport, and of the ways in which carbon emissions could be further reduced.

Since my time as a Reynolds Fellow, I have also served two tours as a Thomas R. Pickering Fellow with the State Department. In the Office of Combating Terrorism Finance, I worked at the center of innovative business-government cooperation, helping to develop methods to track Somali piracy finance networks. Later, while serving at U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal, I contributed to our efforts to reduce ethnic tensions in the run-up to scheduled national elections and the drafting of a new Nepali constitution.  Over the past six months, I have been studying the Albanian language full-time in preparation for my next assignment as a political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tirana, Albania.

I am grateful for the support of the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation which set me on a path to work at the center of American foreign policy. I look forward to staying connected with the Reynolds network, to incubating new ideas with my dynamic cohort of Reynolds Fellows, and to continuing to think in new ways about American leadership abroad.

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