Campus & Community

Orr named director for research at Belfer Ctr.

3 min read

Robert C. Orr, a leading authority on nation building and peace operations, has been named executive director for Research of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (BCSIA) at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

“Bob Orr is an accomplished policymaker and original thinker,” said Belfer Center Director Graham Allison. “He embodies the combination of ideas and practice we seek here at the center, and will be the ideal individual to help stretch the center to the next level.”

Orr is currently the director of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Washington program, where he leads the studies, meetings, and congressional programs of one of the nation’s oldest foreign policy organizations. He recently served as a member of the five-person delegation conducting the first independent review of postconflict operations in Iraq at the request of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III. Previously, Orr founded and directed a bipartisan commission on Post-Conflict Reconstruction sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Association of the U.S. Army.

During the Clinton administration, Orr served as deputy to the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, where he played a central role in negotiating and securing U.S. payment of its back dues to the United Nations. He also served on the National Security Council staff as director of Global and Multilateral Affairs, responsible for peacekeeping and humanitarian operations, as well as for multilateral negotiations leading to the Partnership for Security and Development signed by heads of state of the United States and 18 Caribbean nations. He has also worked as a journalist with CBS News in China and as a development worker with USAID in Kenya. He founded a nonprofit organization that serves refugees and immigrants in the United States.

Orr’s publications include “The United States and Nation Building” (forthcoming) and “Keeping the Peace: Multidimensional UN Operations in Cambodia and El Salvador” (with Michael Doyle and Ian Johnstone). He has also authored numerous articles, chapters, and op-eds on foreign policy, terrorism, peace operations, and the United Nations.

Orr holds a Ph.D. and an M.P.A. in International Affairs from Princeton University, and a B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has also studied in China, Taiwan, Japan, and Peru.

The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs is the hub of research, teaching, and training in international security affairs, environmental and resource issues, science and technology policy, and conflict studies at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. The center’s mission is to provide leadership in advancing policy-relevant knowledge about the most important challenges of international security and other critical issues where science, technology, and international affairs intersect. The heart of the center is its resident research community of more than 140 scholars including Harvard faculty, analysts, practitioners, and each year a new, interdisciplinary group of research fellows.