Arts as Refuge: The Power of Art to Unify and Heal


Thursday, September 12, 2019, 5:30pm to 6:30pm


Harvard Kennedy School, Taubman 520 (Nye A)

Emily Kernan RaffertyJoin CPL Hauser Leader Emily Kernan Rafferty, President Emerita of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, for this special event exploring art's power to provide refuge. With more than four decades of experience in the art world, Rafferty will delve into historical and current cases of art’s ability to heal those who’ve experienced trauma, and unify those whose divisions are otherwise intractable.

This event is free and open to the public. Light dinner will be served. Questions? Email


Co-sponsored by the Harvard Kennedy School Arts & Culture Caucus

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Emily Kernan Rafferty, President Emerita of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, served for 40 years at the Museum: as chief of institutional advancement, Senior Vice President of External Affairs, and as President from 2005 to 2015. As President of the Met, she was the Museum’s chief administrative officer, supervising a staff of 2,000 full- and part-time employees and volunteers. Ms. Rafferty’s global experience took her to some 50 countries on behalf of the Museum as she worked with government and private sector officials on initiatives involving funding, marketing, international art loans, legislative affairs, and cultural issues.

Ms. Rafferty served also as a Board member of the New York Federal Reserve Bank (2011-2017; Chair, 2012-2016), and as a UNESCO Senior Adviser for Heritage Protection and Conservation (2015-2017). Since 2008, Ms. Rafferty has been Chair of NYC & Company (the city’s official tourism and marketing organization), while continuing to serve as a board member of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, PJT Partners, and Koç Holdings, Istanbul. Formerly an Advisory Board member of the Bipartisan Congressional Commission for The American Museum of Women’s History in Washington, D.C. (May 2015-December 2016), she continues to serve as an advisor to the Smithsonian for the advancement of that project.

As principal of Emily K. Rafferty & Associates, she currently consults for several organizations, including Russell Reynolds Associates in that firm’s nonprofit practice and for The Shed, a performing arts center under construction at Manhattan’s Hudson Yards. She is also a Board member of Carnegie Hall, on  the Advisory Council of the American University of Beirut, a Board member of Global Hope Coalitions, a member of the Advisory Board of The European Fine Arts Fair (TEFAF), and is a member of the Economic Club and the Council on Foreign Relations. She also lectures widely on topics relating to non-profit and board management, fundraising, and cultural heritage.

The recipient of many awards and honors, Ms. Rafferty was named by Crain’s New York Business one of New York City’s 100 most influential women from 2009 through 2013, and in Fall 2015 she was elected to its Hall of Fame. In 2012, she received New York University’s Lewis Rudin Award for Exemplary Service to New York City, and in 2018, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.