Executive Director at Harvard University, Center for European Studies
Elaine Papoulias is the Executive Director of the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard, one of the largest regional studies centers at the University and the oldest such center in the United States. She is responsible for overall management and administration of the Center and its many initiatives which promote the interdisciplinary understanding of European history, politics, economy and societies. She also oversees the Center’s grants programs, as well as strategic planning, development and stewardship activities.
From 1999-2012, she served at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) as Director of the Kokkalis Program on Southeastern Europe, integrating this region into HKS academic and executive education programs, as well as co-curricular initiatives across the University, developing it into the school’s hallmark of Europe-focused activity and its regional model. Her outreach and strategic efforts helped increase the population of Southeast European students at the Kennedy School by more than five hundred and fifty percent. Moreover, her academic and professional mentoring of students helped to support their success in building careers at high levels of government, international organizations, academia, civil society, and the private sector.
In addition to her career in academia, Papoulias’ professional experiences include advisory, public affairs, communications and analytical work for government agencies, political candidates, grassroots campaigns, non-profit institutions as well as private companies across a multitude of sectors. She received a BA from Wesleyan University and a MALD from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. She currently serves on the boards of Navarino Network (Thessaloniki); Center for Openness and Dialogue (Tirana); Intersection Centre for Science and Innovation (Belgrade); and diaNEOsis (Athens). Her interests include democratization, politics and societies in Southeastern Europe. She speaks Greek fluently and has a working knowledge of Persian.