Former Congresswoman Jane Harman ’69 was the keynote speaker at Harvard Law School on Nov. 6, at an event sponsored by HLS Democrats and HLS Republicans. In a question-and-answer session with Dean Martha Minow, Harman reflected on her political career and discussed a range of issues from the fallout from the midterm elections to U.S. intelligence, foreign policy and the evolving threat of terrorism.
In her introduction, Dean Martha Minow praised Harman, who is teaching at Harvard Law School this semester as the Steven and Maureen Klinsky Professor of Practice for Leadership and Progress, as “one of the most outstanding public servants in this country.” Minow said: “Her leadership while on the Hill, her expertise having to do with some of the hardest issues in this country—dealing with counterterrorism and armed services— and her pioneering approach to leadership – whether it’s being a strong woman who supports strong woman, or other kinds of issues, we are unbelievably lucky that she is here.”
Harman has been serving as director, president and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars since she resigned from Congress in 2011. At HLS, she is teaching a course titled “My Journey: Tough Policy Decisions and the Rule of Law.”
During her nine terms in Congress, Harman represented the aerospace center of California in Congress and served on all the major security committees: six years on Armed Services, eight years on Intelligence, and eight on Homeland Security. During her long public career, Harman has been recognized as a national expert at the nexus of security and public policy issues. She received the Defense Department Medal for Distinguished Service in 1998, the CIA Seal Medal in 2007, and the CIA Director’s Award and the Director of National Intelligence Distinguished Public Service Medal in 2011.
Harman joined the Woodrow Wilson Center in 2011 as its first female director, president and CEO. Prior to serving in Congress, she was a top aide in the United States Senate, Deputy Cabinet Secretary to President Jimmy Carter, Special Counsel to the Department of Defense, and in private law practice.
She is a member of the Defense Policy Board, State Department Foreign Policy Board, the Director of National Intelligence’s Senior Advisory Group, and the Homeland Security Advisory Committee. She was a member of the CIA External Advisory Board from 2011 to 2013.