Campus & Community

Orr joins UN as assistant secretary general, Kayyem to assume Belfer Center role

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Robert C. Orr, executive director for research at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government (KSG), left his post this month to become assistant secretary-general of the United Nations. In his new role, Orr is the UN’s top official responsible for policy and planning, and the senior-most American policy-maker. Orr, who formally assumed this position on Aug. 16, will be working directly with the secretary-general in his office.

“While on the one hand, Bob’s appointment represents the Belfer Center’s continued success in providing the most able candidates for positions of leadership in international affairs, on the other, it means we are losing a valued colleague,” said Belfer Center director Graham T. Allison Jr. “Bob has advanced the center’s mission with fresh initiatives, expanded areas of research, and stronger relationships with Washington and beyond. His energy and talents are evident throughout his work, including within the KSG and Belfer Center community, where his collegiality has proved infectious. I thank him for his service, and wish him well in his future endeavors. We will all miss him.”

Orr’s new position used to be held by John Ruggie, who left the UN to become the Evron and Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of International Affairs at KSG in 2001.

In the wake of Orr’s departure, senior fellow Juliette Kayyem will assume the role of the Belfer Center’s executive director for research. For the past three years, Kayyem has been a lecturer and resident scholar at the center, serving both as executive director of KSG’s Executive Session on Domestic Preparedness – a terrorism and homeland security research program that ran from 1999 through 2003 – and as co-director of Harvard’s Long-Term Legal Strategy for Combating Terrorism.

“We are fortunate to have someone with Juliette’s expertise and energy to fill the gap at the Belfer Center at this critical moment,” said Allison. “She has been a leader in understanding and fostering public debate about emerging threats to our nation’s security. All of us at the Belfer Center look forward to working with her.”

Kayyem writes frequently on counterterrorism, law enforcement, homeland security, and U.S. national security strategy. She is co-editor of “First to Arrive: State and Local Response to Terrorism” (MIT Press, 2003). Kayyem testifies frequently before Congress and serves on the board of advisers to a number of governmental and private institutions.

She is also a national security analyst for NBC News and a frequent commentator on National Public Radio. From 1999 to July 2001, Kayyem served as former house minority leader

Richard Gephardt’s appointee to the National Commission on Terrorism, a congressionally mandated review of how the government could better prepare for the growing terrorist threat. Before that, she served as a legal adviser to Attorney General Janet Reno, where she worked on a variety of national security and terrorism cases. Kayyem is a 1991 graduate of Harvard College, and a 1995 graduate of Harvard Law School.