Founded in 2017 by former Secretary of State John Kerry, the Kerry Initiative is an interdisciplinary program that tackles pressing global challenges through teaching, research, and international dialogue.

Kerry, a 1966 graduate of Yale College, was named Yale’s first-ever Distinguished Fellow for Global Affairs as part of the Initiative.

The Kerry Initiative leverages Kerry’s insights, experiences, and relationships on a global scale, collaborating with students and faculty from across the university and deepening the Yale experience to have greater interaction with the world beyond campus. In partnership with the Yale Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, the Kerry Initiative advances Yale’s long tradition of preparing the next generation of world leaders.

Through the initiative, Kerry partners with scholars from across Yale, applying their shared expertise to questions of global importance:

  • failed and failing states and the challenge of authoritarian populism
  • rising sectarianism and violent extremism
  • climate change and other environmental threats
  • capacity building, global economic opportunity, and development

A key part of the initiative includes Kerry Convenings and Kerry Conversations. These events, intended to develop new approaches to solving these crucial challenges, are held at Yale and in various locations overseas.

Teaching and research are fundamental to the Kerry Initiative. In Fall 2017, Kerry led a seminar course that was open to students from across the university. He regularly engages with students at the Yale Law School, School of Management, Divinity School, School of the Environment, and the Jackson Institute. Through the Kerry Fellows Program, Yale undergraduate, graduate, and professional students collaborate with Kerry on leading-edge research and high-profile publications for a global audience.

Yale has a rich history of educating leaders for positions of responsibility around the world. Graduates include five U.S. presidents; four U.S. secretaries of state; the presidents or prime ministers of Mexico, South Korea, and Germany; numerous ambassadors; and many heads of private and non-profit enterprises that contribute to the public good, such as Human Rights Watch, Mercy Corps, Ashoka, Unite for Sight, and the Peace Corps.