Joseph Nye, Ph.D. ’64, University Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, is a world-renowned authority on foreign policy and power. Through decades of leadership — as associate dean for international affairs, director of the Center for International Affairs, and dean of the Harvard Kennedy School — he has fundamentally shaped how Harvard educates students and world leaders.
The author of 14 academic books, Nye famously formulated and popularized the concept of “soft power,” recognizing that a country’s power resides not merely in its ability to coerce, using the hard power of its military or economic influence, but also in its ability to persuade, through the attraction of its culture and ideals to the rest of the world. Nye put his scholarship into practice through years of high-level government service in the Carter and Clinton administrations. He served as chair of the National Intelligence Council, among many other leadership positions, and received Distinguished Service medals from the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and the Intelligence Community.
David Gergen, public service professor of public leadership, cites Nye as his principal reason for coming to the Kennedy School decades ago. “Joe Nye has been a pillar of strength at Harvard for 55 years, earning universal praise for his scholarship, his influence upon international relations, his leadership of University institutions, his service to country, and critically, his high standards of ethics and integrity,” he said. “He has become a living embodiment of all that Harvard aspires to be.”