Former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who led her country through a devastating mass shooting, will be temporarily joining Harvard University later this year, Kennedy School Dean Douglas Elmendorf said Tuesday. Ardern, a global icon of the left and an inspiration to women around the world, has been appointed to dual fellowships at the Harvard Kennedy School. She will serve as the 2023 Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow and a Hauser Leader in the school’s Center for Public Leadership beginning this fall. “Jacinda Ardern showed the world strong and empathetic political leadership,” Elmendorf said in statement, adding that Ardern will "bring important insights for our students and will generate vital conversations about the public policy choices facing leaders at all levels.” Also Read: Hipkins sworn in as New Zealand PM after unexpected resignation of Jacinda Ardern Ardern, who was just 37 when she became prime minister in 2017, shocked New Zealanders when she announced in January she was stepping down from the role after more than 5 years because she no longer had “enough in the tank” to do it justice. She was facing mounting political pressures at home, including for her handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which was initially widely lauded but later criticized by those opposed to mandates and rules. She said she sees the Harvard opportunity as a chance not only to share her experience with others, but also to learn. Also Read: New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern to leave office next month, sets October election "As leaders, there’s often very little time for reflection, but reflection is critical if we are to properly support the next generation of leaders,” she said. Ardern's time at the Cambridge, Massachusetts, university will also include a stint as the first tech governance leadership fellow at the school's Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. The center has been an important partner as New Zealand worked to confront violent extremism online after a white supremacist gunman killed 51 people at two mosques in the city of Christchurch in 2019, Ardern said. The gunman livestreamed the slaughter for 17 minutes on Facebook before the video was taken down. Two months after the shooting, Ardern launched the Christchurch Call with French President Emmanuel Macron. The initiative's goal is to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online. More than 50 countries joined the initiative, including the United States, Britain, Germany and South Korea, as well as technology companies like Facebook parent company Meta, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, YouTube, Zoom and Twitter. "The Center has been an incredibly important partner as we’ve developed the Christchurch Call to action on addressing violent extremism online," Ardern said, adding that the fellowship will be a chance not only to work collaboratively with the center’s research community, but also to work on the challenges around the growth of generative AI tools. Jonathan Zittrain, co-founder of the Berkman Klein Center, said it's rare for a head of state to be able to immerse deeply in a complex and fast-moving digital policy issue. “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," he said in a statement. Ardern said she planned to return to New Zealand after the fellowships.
When Jacinda Ardern announced this week she was stepping down as New Zealand's prime minister, speculation began almost immediately about what she might do for a second act. When she leaves, she will have accumulated 15 years experience as a lawmaker and five-and-a-half years as leader. She will also be just 42 years old. Observers say she has all sorts of career possibilities open to her. Ardern said she was leaving the job because she no longer has “enough in the tank to do it justice” and has no immediate plans for her own future other than to spend more time with her fiancé and 4-year-old daughter. Read more: New Zealand's Ardern, an icon to many, to step down “I’ll have to admit I slept well for the first time in a long time last night," Ardern told reporters Friday, adding that she felt both sadness and relief. Stephen Hoadley, an assistant professor of politics and international relations at the University of Auckland, said he couldn't imagine Ardern would remain at home over the long term, given her energy and skills. “She has the potential, she has the ability, she has the profile, she has the acceptability to do a whole lot of things," Hoadley said. “Give her a few weeks to rest up, and to refill the tank, to use her phrase. But I would imagine by the end of this year, she’ll be off and running on a whole new career line.” Hoadley pointed to the career path of Helen Clark, another former New Zealand prime minister who went on to become a top administrator at the U.N., leading the development program. “Jacinda could be tapped by any number of United Nations, or charitable, or philanthropical, or other kinds of organizations,” Hoadley said. “There are many, many possibilities, and her profile is so high that I think she would have her pick.” Climate Change Minister James Shaw, who first met Ardern in about 2007 and has remained friends, said he was in shock but also not wholly surprised when Ardern told him of her plans to resign. “It's been a really intense five years,” Shaw said. On top of a busy legislative program, Shaw said, Ardern had needed to steer the country through a series of crises, including a mass-shooting at two Christchurch mosques that left 51 people dead, a volcanic eruption that killed 22, and the coronavirus pandemic. On top of that, Ardern also bore the brunt of a growing number of threats, Shaw said, and a toxic, misogynistic online culture that had grown worse in recent years. Read more: New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern to leave office next month, sets October election “What I hope is that she can get some time at the beach with her family, uninterrupted, for a while,” Shaw said. He said he believes Ardern when she says she doesn’t yet have firm plans for the future. “I think she could do pretty much whatever she wants from this point,” Shaw said. “Jacinda is one of the most selfless, determined, publicly-minded people I have ever met," Shaw added. "So I would imagine that whatever it is, it will be in the public interest.”
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who was praised around the world for her handling of the nation’s worst mass shooting and the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, said Thursday she was leaving office. Ardern was facing mounting political pressures at home and a level of vitriol from some that hadn’t been experienced by previous New Zealand leaders. Still, her announcement came as a shock to people throughout the nation of 5 million people. Fighting back tears, Ardern told reporters in Napier that Feb. 7 would be her last day as prime minister. “I am entering now my sixth year in office, and for each of those years, I have given my absolute all,” she said. Ardern became an inspiration to women around the world after first winning the top job in 2017 at the relatively young age of 37. She seemed to herald a new generation of leadership — she was on the verge of being a millennial, had spun some records as a part-time DJ, and wasn’t married like most politicians. To many, she was the antithesis of U.S. President Donald Trump. Read more: New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern to leave office next month, sets October election In 2018, she became just the second world leader to give birth while holding office. Later that year, she brought her infant daughter to the floor of the U.N. General Assembly in New York. In March 2019, Ardern faced one of the darkest days in New Zealand’s history when a white supremacist gunman stormed two mosques in Christchurch and slaughtered 51 people. She was widely praised for the way she empathized with the survivors and New Zealand’s Muslim community in the aftermath. Less than nine months later, she faced another tragedy when 22 tourists and guides were killed when the White Island volcano erupted. Ardern was lauded globally for her country’s initial handling of the coronavirus pandemic. after New Zealand managed to stop the virus at its borders for months. But she was forced to abandon that zero-tolerance strategy as more contagious variants spread and vaccines became widely available. Ardern faced growing anger at home from those who opposed coronavirus mandates and rules. A protest against vaccine mandates that began on Parliament’s grounds last year lasted for more than three weeks and ended with protesters hurling rocks at police and setting fires to tents and mattresses as they were forced to leave. This year, Ardern was forced to cancel an annual barbecue she hosts due to security fears. Ardern last month announced a wide-ranging Royal Commission of Inquiry would look into whether the government made the right decisions in battling COVID-19 and how it could better prepare for future pandemics. A report is due next year. Some experts said that sexist attitudes played a role in the anger directed at Ardern. But her government also faced criticism that it had been big on ideas but lacking on execution. Supporters worried it hadn’t made promised gains on increasing housing supply and reducing child poverty, while opponents said it was not focusing enough on crime and the struggling economy. Farmers protested against plans to tax cow burps and other greenhouse gas emissions. Ardern had been facing tough reelection prospects. Her center-left Labour Party won reelection in 2020 with a landslide of historic proportions, but recent polls have put her party behind its conservative rivals. Ardern said the role required having a reserve to face the unexpected. “But I am not leaving because it was hard. Had that been the case I probably would have departed two months into the job,” she said. “I am leaving because with such a privileged role comes responsibility. The responsibility to know when you are the right person to lead, and also, when you are not.” She said her time in office had been fulfilling but challenging. Read more: Ardern, rival turn her hot-mic vulgarity into charity’s win “I know what this job takes, and I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice. It is that simple,” she said. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Ardern “has shown the world how to lead with intellect and strength.” “She has demonstrated that empathy and insight are powerful leadership qualities,” Albanese tweeted. “Jacinda has been a fierce advocate for New Zealand, an inspiration to so many and a great friend to me,” he added. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau thanked Ardern on Twitter for her friendship and “empathic, compassionate, strong, and steady leadership.” Ardern charted an independent course for New Zealand. She tried to take a more diplomatic approach to China than neighboring Australia, which had ended up feuding with Beijing. In an interview with The Associated Press last month, she’d said that building relationships with small Pacific nations shouldn’t become a game of one-upmanship with China. Ardern on Thursday also announced that New Zealand’s 2023 general elections would be held on Oct. 14, and that she would remain a lawmaker until then. It’s unclear who will take over as prime minister until the election. Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson announced that he won’t contest the leadership of the Labour Party, throwing the competition open. Labour Party lawmakers will vote for a new leader on Sunday. If no candidate gets at least two-thirds support from the caucus, then the leadership contest will go to the wider party membership. Ardern has recommended the party chose her replacement by the time she finishes in the role on Feb. 7. New Zealand Opposition Leader Christopher Luxon said Ardern had been a strong ambassador for the country on the world stage. He said that for his party “nothing changes” and it remains intent on winning the election and to "deliver a government that can get things done for the New Zealand people.” Ardern said she didn’t have any immediate plans after leaving office, other than family commitments with her daughter, Neve, and her fiancé Clarke Gayford, after an outbreak of the virus thwarted their earlier wedding plans. “And so to Neve, Mum is looking forward to being there when you start school this year,” Ardern said. “And to Clarke, let’s finally get married.”
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed on Saturday that she had tested positive for COVID-19. "Despite best efforts, unfortunately, I've joined the rest of my family and tested positive for COVID-19," Ardern posted on social media on Saturday morning. Ardern has been isolating at home with her family since Sunday when her fiancée Clarke Gayford tested positive. "We've been isolating since Sunday when Clarke first tested positive. Neve (Ardern's daughter) tested positive on Wednesday, and I returned a weak positive last night and a strong one this morning," said Ardern. Also Read: New Zealand welcomes back tourists as pandemic rules eased "To anyone else out there, isolating or dealing with COVID, I hope you take good care of yourselves," said Ardern. New Zealand recorded 7,441 new community cases of COVID-19, 2,503 of which were reported in the largest city Auckland, the ministry of health said on Friday. To date, the country has reported 1,026,715 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.
New Zealand has joined Australia in denouncing a graphic tweet posted by a Chinese official that shows a fake image of a grinning Australian soldier holding a bloodied knife to a child’s throat.