Meet W3D: Women in Defense, Diplomacy, and Development

Meet W3D: Women in Defense, Diplomacy, and Development


W3D welcomes new members at the Student Organization Fair in September. 

Who we are

W3D: Women in Defense, Diplomacy,

and Development is a student organization at the Harvard Kennedy School that

aims to elevate the visibility and impact of women at the Kennedy School

interested in pursuing careers in the fields of security, diplomacy, and


Our mission is to:

  1. Cultivate women leaders
  2. Build professional development
  3. Foster community

We want to create a welcoming

network for students who are interested in breaking into male-dominated fields

or advancing within them. Our aim is to give women a chance to get more

involved in these fields at HKS and beyond. We’ve teamed up with a network of

Harvard alumnae who are leading in these fields in D.C. and

around the world.

What we do

We are among the most engaged student organizations on campus.

We collaborate and organize many events with

staff and fellows from the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and the Center’s Intelligence, Defense, and Future of Diplomacy


This academic year, we have hosted over 40 events! Here is a small sample of the events we’ve hosted in the last year:

  • In

    September, we hosted Maryum Saifee, senior advisor in the Office

    of Diversity and Inclusion at the U.S. Department of State, for an Ask Me

    Anything event. Saifee shared insights on current diversity and inclusion

    initiatives at State and the importance of women’s leadership at all levels of

    foreign policy.

  • In

    November, we hosted Intelligence Project Fellow Kristin Wood and Kelli Holden,

    two former CIA senior officers, for a discussion on careers in intelligence.

  • Most

    recently, we celebrated International Women’s Day with the Women’s Caucus and

    Women of Color: Working Beyond the Margin Caucus on campus to

    recognize the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.

We also love hosting community

events that bring students together. We organize regular happy hours, holiday

celebrations, and networking events. We believe we can learn just as much from

each other as from accomplished professionals.


Members of W3D celebrate International Women’s Day in the Sunshine Lobby.

How to get involved

As an HKS student, there are

many different ways to get involved with W3D.

  • Attend

    speaker series with leading practitioners in defense, diplomacy, and


  • Help

    coordinate an event or serve as a moderator for a panel discussion.

  • Serve

    on the W3D leadership team to gain organizing, event planning, public speaking,

    and leadership experience (apply in September).

  • Network

    and connect with other students at our happy hours, holiday celebrations, and

    other community events.

  • Participate

    in our annual W3D mentorship program, which provides an opportunity to connect

    with accomplished Harvard alumni in the 3D fields. This year, we connected 75

    Harvard alumnae mentors with HKS students to exchange knowledge, learn from each

    other’s experiences, and develop the necessary skills to support their career


Photos courtesy of W3D Co-Chair Bethan Saunders MPP 2023