Swanee Hunt

Swanee Hunt
Swanee Hunt 2017-01-10 - Photo by Martha Stewart (32144028510) (cropped).jpg
Swanee Hunt in 2017
United States Ambassador to Austria
In office
November 4, 1993 – October 18, 1997
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byRoy M. Huffington
Succeeded byKathryn Walt Hall
Personal details
Born (1950-05-01) May 1, 1950 (age 70)
Political partyDemocratic Party
Spouse(s)Charles Ansbacher
RelationsHelen LaKelly Hunt (sister)
June Hunt (sister)
Ray Lee (brother)[1]
FatherH. L. Hunt
EducationTexas Christian University (BA)
Ball State University (MA)
Iliff School of Theology (MA, D.Th.)
OccupationDiplomat, professor

Swanee Grace Hunt (born May 1, 1950) is 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[2] at the Kennedy School,[3][4] and is a former United States Ambassador to Austria. She is a recipient of the PEN/New England Award for non-fiction.

Early life[edit]

Hunt's father was H. L. Hunt, an oil tycoon. Hunt grew up in Dallas, Texas, where she attended the Hockaday School.[5] She lived for many years in Denver, Colorado, where she was active in many community and philanthropic activities. Her several siblings include sisters Helen LaKelly Hunt and June Hunt.


Hunt has a BA in philosophy from Texas Christian University, an MA in psychology from Ball State University, an MA in religion and a doctorate in theology from Iliff School of Theology.[6]


Hunt is an expert on women in politics,[citation needed] 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 by directly funding increased policing, public shaming, and prosecution; 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 in 1993 as ambassador to Austria, where she was notable for writing a weekly newspaper column and radio program.[citation needed] 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.

Awards and honors[edit]

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.[citation needed]

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
  • Nomi Network's 2013 Abolitionist Award
  • The Women's Image Network Awards Humanitarian Tribute[7]

Her book This Was Not Our War: Bosnian Women Reclaiming the Peace won the 2005 PEN/New England Award for non-fiction[8] and includes a foreword by former president Bill Clinton.

Hunt has received honorary doctorates from Webster University (1994), the University of Denver (2002), Graceland University (2005), Mount Ida College (2007), Pine Manor College (2007), Cambridge College (2007),[6] Southern Methodist University (2013),[9] Smith College (2014),[10] William James College (2014),[11] and Southern New Hampshire University (2016).[12]

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[13] 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.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

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.



  1. ^ Stanley H. Brown, H. L. Hunt (Chicago: Playboy, 1976) 192–193.
  2. ^ "Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP)".
  3. ^ School, Harvard Kennedy. "Swanee Hunt". Retrieved August 3, 2016.
  4. ^ "Ambassador Swanee Hunt - Inclusive Security".
  5. ^ Hunt, Swanee (October 4, 2006). Half-Life of a Zealot. Duke University Press. Retrieved August 3, 2016 – via Internet Archive.
  6. ^ a b "Ambassador Swanee Hunt's CV". Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  7. ^ Network, Women’s Image. "The WIN Awards 2013 Film & Television Nominees & Honorees Rosalind Jarrett Sepulveda, Cecilia DeMille Presley & Ambassador Swanee Hunt". Retrieved August 3, 2016.
  8. ^ "News Release - John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum". Retrieved August 3, 2016.
  9. ^ "SMU prepares for 2013 Commencement May 17-18". Southern Methodist University. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  10. ^ "Smith College's 2014 Honorary Degree Recipients". Smith College. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  11. ^ "William James College Announces 34th Commencement". William James College. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  12. ^ Keane, Lauren (April 23, 2016). "SNHU Announces 2016 Commencement Speakers". Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  13. ^ "Swanee Hunt - Colorado Women's Hall of Fame".

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

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