Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI

Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI

Jacinda Ardern, the former prime minister of New Zealand who led the country during the worst of the pandemic and mourned with its citizens following the Christchurch massacre, announced that she will be joining Harvard University this fall.

The 42-year-old has been appointed to dual fellowships at Harvard Kennedy School, the ivy league university’s school for public policy and government.

“I am incredibly humbled to be joining Harvard University as a fellow — not only will it give me the opportunity to share my experience with others, it will give me a chance to learn,” she said in a statement. “As leaders, there’s often very little time for reflection, but reflection is critical if we are to properly support the next generation of leaders.”

The announcement comes after she resigned as prime minister in January during her sixth year at the country’s helm, citing a lack of gas in the tank to take on not only another year in office but also to prepare for another term.

She initially took office in 2017 at the age of 37, making her the world’s youngest female leader at the time, and she gained international attention for her compassionate response to a mass shooting at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch that left 51 people dead in March of 2019.

She is also known for enforcing a strict and lengthy lockdown on the entire country during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, which sparked some criticism at home in the form of protests but attracted praise from abroad.

She also gave birth while prime minister, becoming only the second world leader to do so while in office and the first in nearly three decades.

“Jacinda Ardern showed the world strong and empathetic political leadership,” Douglas Elmendorf, dean of Harvard Kennedy School, said in a statement. “She earned respect far beyond the shores of her country, and she will bring important insights for our students and will generate vital conversations about the public policy choices facing leaders at all levels.”

While at Harvard, she will be completing dual fellowships as the 2023 Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow and as a Hauser Leader in the Center for Public Leadership.

she will also continue to work as a special envoy to the Christchurch Call, an international community that works to eliminate terrorism and violent extremism online, and will remain on the board of the Earthshot Prize, she said.

On Instagram, she explained that at Harvard she will be able to share her experiences through speaking engagements while also having the time to learn.

“While I’ll be gone for a semester … I’ll be coming back at the end of the fellowships,” she said on the social media platform. “After all, New Zealand is home!”

In May, Ardern also delivered the 2022 Commencement Address at Harvard University.

Since Ardern stepped down, Chris Hipkins has served as prime minister with New Zealanders set to vote on a new leader Oct. 14.