Founder and Chair

Swanee Hunt chairs Inclusive Security, a Washington-based non-profit that consults with policymakers throughout the world on ways to involve women as decision makers in peace and security processes. With a network of more than 2,000 accomplished women, Inclusive Security conducts advocacy, leadership development, and research regarding the effect of inclusion to promote stability. Her team works in the world’s most volatile conflict zones, and she has been active personally in more than 60 countries.

Swanee Hunt began her work in this field while serving as US Ambassador to Austria from 1993 to 1997. She hosted negotiations and international symposia to stabilize the neighboring Balkan states and support women leaders throughout Eastern Europe. Building on her extensive work with US non-governmental organizations, she focused on the role of women in post-communist Europe.

Dr. Hunt is the Eleanor Roosevelt Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she founded the Women and Public Policy Program after completing her diplomatic service. She is a core faculty member at the Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership, and senior adviser to the working group on modern-day slavery at the Carr Center for Human Rights.

Hunt is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; she has authored articles for publications including Foreign AffairsForeign Policy MagazinePolitico, International Herald TribuneChicago TribuneBoston Globe, and the Dallas Morning News. Her first book, This Was Not Our War: Bosnian Women Reclaiming the Peace, won the 2005 PEN/New England Award for non-fiction. Her memoir, Half-Life of a Zealot, was published in 2006. Her third book with Duke University Press, Worlds Apart: Bosnian Lessons for Global Security, was released in September 2011. Her latest book, Rwandan Women Rising, was published in 2017.

She is chair of Hunt Alternatives, a private foundation headquartered in Washington, DC. Along with Inclusive Security, the foundation operates programs that support leaders of social movements (Prime Movers) and combat the demand for purchased sex (Demand Abolition). Other major foundation initiatives have included advancing political parity for women in high office in the US and strengthening youth arts organizations.

Raised in a corporate family in Dallas, Texas, Hunt made her mark as a civic leader and philanthropist in her adopted city of Denver, where for two decades she led community efforts on public education, affordable housing, homelessness, women’s empowerment, and mental health services, working with two mayors and the governor of Colorado.

She has had more than a dozen one-woman shows of her photographs in five countries. Her musical composition, “The Witness Cantata,” for five soloists and chorus, has been performed in six cities. She holds two master’s degrees, a doctorate in theology, and four honorary degrees. For 25 years, she was married to conductor Charles Ansbacher, who passed away in 2010. Her world includes their three children, and a menagerie of cat, parrot, horses, bison, and grandchildren.

Click here to see books and articles by Swanee Hunt »

In Bosnia, Who Picked Up the Pieces?

Ambassador Hunt and Vice Chair Miki Jacevic reflect on the disconnect between policymakers and those living at the heart of violence during the Bosnian war. Women tried to bridge that gap—and their example spurred Hunt to champion inclusive approaches to creating more enduring peace.