Swanee Hunt

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Swanee Hunt
Swanee Hunt.jpg
United States Ambassador to Austria
In office
November 4, 1993 – October 18, 1997
Preceded by Roy M. Huffington
Succeeded by Kathryn Walt Hall
Personal details
Born (1950-05-01) May 1, 1950 (age 66)
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Charles Ansbacher
Relations H. L. Hunt (father)
Helen LaKelly Hunt (sister; 1949)
June Hunt (sister, 1944)
Ray Lee (brother, 1943)[1]
Children Three
Occupation Diplomat, professor
Website swaneehunt.com

Swanee Grace Hunt (born May 1, 1950), Eleanor Roosevelt Lecturer in Public Policy, at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, is the founding director of the Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP) at the Kennedy School,[2][3] and former United States Ambassador to Austria.


A daughter of oil tycoon H. L. Hunt, she grew up in Dallas, Texas, where she attended the Hockaday School. [4] She lived in Denver, Colorado, for many years, where she was active in many community and philanthropic activities. Her several siblings include sisters Helen LaKelly Hunt and June Hunt. She has a BA in philosophy, two master's degrees, and a doctorate in theology. Hunt is an expert on women in politics, having conducted research, training, and consultations with women leaders in some 60 countries. She is the chair of the Washington-based Institute for Inclusive Security (including the Women Waging Peace Network) which advocates integrating women into peace processes.

In 1981, she co-founded the Hunt Alternatives Fund with her sister Helen. The organization is focused on strengthening youth arts organizations, supporting leaders of social movements, opposing sex work, and increasing philanthropy. Based in Denver until 1997, the organization was relocated to Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1997, when Hunt founded WAPPP at Harvard University. She has lectured at Harvard's business, law, divinity and education graduate schools.

Swanee Hunt was appointed as ambassador to Austria in 1993, where she was notable for writing a weekly newspaper column and radio program. She also organized women's conferences in Bosnia and otherwise worked to secure peace in the former Yugoslavia.

She is active in Democratic politics (in contrast to most others in the Hunt family, who have historically supported Republican and conservative causes) and, in addition to fundraising events for candidates, she convened Unconventional Women, a six-hour program featuring more than 20 female political leaders for an audience of 3000 in Denver during the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Swanee Hunt has earned dozens of U.S. and international awards, recognitions, and inductions from leading organizations, highlighting her achievements as a diplomat, academic, activist, and artist, as well as her commitment to global and local philanthropy.

Her awards and acknowledgments have come from organizations including:

  • The United Way
  • The International Peace Center
  • The National Mental Health Association
  • The White House Project
  • Women for Afghan Women
  • The Women's Image Network Awards Humanitarian Tribute [5]

Her book, This Was Not Our War: Bosnian Women Reclaiming the Peace, won the 2005 PEN/New England Award for non-fiction[6] and includes a forward by former president Bill Clinton.

In addition to receiving medals of honor from both the government of Austria and the Province of Graz, Swanee Hunt has been inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame[7] as well as the National Women's Hall of Fame. She is also a photographer; her work has been shown in more than a dozen solo exhibitions. Her musical composition, "The Witness Cantata," has been performed in six cities.

She was married to the conductor Charles Ansbacher, who died on September 12, 2010. She has three children, among them filmmaker Henry Ansbacher, and three grandchildren.



External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Roy M. Huffington
U.S. Ambassador to Austria
Succeeded by
Kathryn Walt Hall