Perry World House Perry World House Announces Marie Harf as Incoming Executive Director

January 16, 2024
By Perry World House

Marie Harf headshot

Perry World House (PWH) at the University of Pennsylvania announced today that Marie Harf will become the institute’s next executive director.

Harf comes to Penn from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where she has been serving as the executive director of external relations and marketing. Previously she worked as a senior advisor and deputy spokesperson for Secretary John Kerry at the U.S. Department of State, as the foreign policy director on Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, as the executive director of political organization Serve America, and as a Middle East analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency. Since 2017, Harf has been an on-air commentator for Fox News. She also previously co-taught a class on religion and global affairs with Steven Weitzman at Penn in 2019.

“I am delighted that Marie will be joining Perry World House as the executive director and thrilled to welcome her back to campus,” said Perry World House Interim Director Michael Weisberg. “Marie brings to this invaluable role a deep experience in foreign policy analysis, strategic communications, and higher education that is crucial for our continued upward trajectory. In addition, we will look to Marie for her steady leadership and strong guidance, drawing on her impressive background in government and academia, as we approach Perry World House’s tenth anniversary. Her remarkable background and depth of knowledge will be critical as Perry World House cements our reputation as a policy-relevant center for global affairs.”

In her new role, Harf will have a broad set of responsibilities, including programmatic leadership, administrative oversight, and financial and operational management of PWH. She will partner with the faculty director to advance PWH’s thematic research agenda, including a broad range of programmatic activities. She will also strengthen PWH’s global impact, catalyzing its impacts in policy communities around the globe.

“I am honored to join the Perry World House family and to work alongside its extraordinary staff, affiliated faculty, and fellows. In this period of global upheaval, Perry World House plays a crucial role operating at the intersection of academic rigor and policy impact. I look forward to helping the University community navigate this unsettling global moment in thoughtful, constructive ways through PWH’s programming and research,” said Harf. “I am also excited to connect the exceptional work of Penn’s faculty on international issues—across schools and disciplines—to the policymaking process and public conversation. Finally, I am thrilled to return to Penn in this role and to once again have the privilege of working with Penn’s impressive students.”  

“Marie emerged from an extremely talented pool of candidates, standing out for her deep experience in Washington, DC, her thorough knowledge of religion and international relations, and her strong record of leading teams in government and academic settings,” said Penn’s Vice Provost for Global Initiatives Ezekiel Emanuel. “Marie demonstrated great enthusiasm for PWH and Penn throughout the interview process and we are confident that she will be a strong and effective leader.”

Harf will formally assume the executive director role on February 5, 2024.

Perry World House’s mission is to bring the academic knowledge of the University of Pennsylvania to bear on some of the world’s most pressing global policy challenges, and to foster international policy engagement within and beyond the Penn community. Located at the heart of Penn’s campus, it draws on the expertise of the university’s 12 schools and numerous globally-oriented research centers to educate the Penn community and prepare students to be well-informed, contributing global citizens. At the same time, Perry World House connects Penn with leading policy experts from around the world to develop and advance innovative policy proposals.