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Former New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern joins Berkman Klein Center as Knight Tech Governance Leadership Fellow

Former New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern joins Berkman Klein Center as Knight Tech Governance Leadership Fellow

The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University is thrilled to announce Jacinda Ardern as its first Knight Tech Governance Leadership Fellow. Ardern served as the 40th Prime Minister of New Zealand from 2017 to 2023. The fellowship begins this fall.

Ardern is known globally as a dedicated and effective leader in pursuing greater online platform accountability and content moderation standards through the Christchurch Call, a community of over 120 governments, online service providers, and civil society organizations sparked by the livestreaming of deadly mass killings by a white supremacist at two mosques in Christchurch in March 2019, which killed 51 people.

“I am delighted to be formally working with the Berkman Klein Center,” said Prime Minister Ardern. “The Center has been an incredibly important partner as we’ve developed the Christchurch Call to action on addressing violent extremism online. Emerging technologies such as AI present huge opportunities to address online harms, but also challenges. My time with BKC will allow me to collaborate with the excellent team as we advance the work of the Christchurch Call.”

At the Berkman Klein Center, Ardern will further the mission of the Christchurch Call in collaboration with the Center’s vibrant, collaborative research community of multi-disciplinary scholars and practitioners. She will additionally work closely with BKC leadership to explore emerging challenges of governance to protect against algorithmic harms during a critical moment of the explosive proliferation of generative AI tools.

“It’s rare and precious for a head of state to be able to immerse deeply in a complex and fast-moving digital policy issue both during and after their service,” said Professor Jonathan Zittrain, BKC Co-Founder and Faculty Director. “Jacinda Ardern’s hard-won expertise — including her ability to bring diverse people and institutions together — will be invaluable as we all search for workable solutions to some of the deepest online problems.”

Ardern is also noted for the exceptional results of her data-driven, evidence-based public health policy during her nation’s grappling with the COVID crisis.

“We are so deeply impressed by Jacinda Ardern’s track record of leadership in both accelerating political will and engaging those responsible for the design and deployment of technologies to create a better, safer, more inclusive future,” said Berkman Klein Center Executive Director Sue Hendrickson. “Her expertise meaningfully enhances our Center’s work as a space of advanced learning and action on critical societal technology issues. I look forward to working with her to continue the mission of the Christchurch Call and address global challenges presented by emerging technologies.”

The Knight Tech Governance Leadership Fellowship at the Berkman Klein Center spans the academic year beginning August 1, 2023, through August 31, 2024. Also today, Harvard Kennedy School announced that Ardern has been appointed to dual fellowships there — as 2023 Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow and as a Hauser Leader in the School’s Center for Public Leadership.

This fellowship furthers the Berkman Klein Center's role as an interfaculty initiative grounded at Harvard Law School that currently hosts complementary work through its Institute for Rebooting Social Media, a research initiative to accelerate progress towards addressing social media’s most urgent problems, including misinformation, privacy breaches, harassment, and content governance.


We are social investors who support a more effective democracy by funding free expression and journalism, arts and culture in community, research in areas of media and democracy, and in the success of American cities and towns where the Knight brothers once published newspapers.


The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University is dedicated to exploring, understanding, and shaping the development of the digitally-networked environment. A diverse, interdisciplinary community of scholars, practitioners, technologists, policy experts, and advocates, we seek to tackle the most important challenges of the digital age while keeping a focus on tangible real-world impact in the public interest. Our faculty, fellows, staff, and affiliates conduct research, build tools and platforms, educate others, form bridges, and facilitate dialogue across and among diverse communities.

Sam Hinds
Director of Communications