Swanee Hunt
Swanee Hunt in 2021
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 74)
Political partyDemocratic Party
SpouseCharles Ansbacher
RelationsHelen LaKelly Hunt (sister)
June Hunt (sister)
Ray Lee (brother)[1]
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 an American writer, academic, and former diplomat.

Hunt is a lecturer in public policy at Harvard Kennedy School and was the founding director of the Women and Public Policy Program[2] at the Kennedy School.[3][4] From 1993 to 1997, she served as United States Ambassador to Austria. She is a recipient of the PEN/New England Award for non-fiction.

Early life

Hunt was born May 1, 1950, in Dallas, Texas, the youngest of four children born to the oil tycoon H.L. Hunt and Ruth Ray. However, not until her father's first wife died did Swanee Hunt's parents marry in 1957 and it was only then that she and her siblings moved into the Hunt mansion, built to resemble its namesake, Mount Vernon.[5]

Hunt grew up in Dallas, Texas, where she attended the Hockaday School.[6] 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.


While Hunt had hoped to attend college in the east, her ultra-conservative father refused, so Hunt began college in her hometown at Southern Methodist University.[5] Hunt earned her BA in philosophy from Texas Christian University, an MA in psychology from Ball State University, and an MA in religion and a doctorate in theology from Iliff School of Theology.[7]


Hunt was appointed in 1993 as ambassador to Austria, where she was notable for writing a weekly newspaper column and radio program.[8]

In 1997, Hunt helped establish the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard Kennedy School. Since stepping down as Director of the Program in 2008, she has continued on at the Kennedy School as the Eleanor Roosevelt Lecturer in Public Policy.[5]

Personal life

At age 20, Hunt married Mark Meeks, a seminary student. Hunt gave birth to daughter Lillian in 1982, and the marriage dissolved soon after.[5]

In 1985, Hunt married conductor Charles Ansbacher, who died on September 12, 2010. She has three children, among them filmmaker Henry Ansbacher, and three grandchildren.[5]


Her book This Was Not Our War: Bosnian Women Reclaiming the Peace won the 2005 PEN/New England Award for non-fiction[9] and includes a foreword by former president Bill Clinton.


  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. ^ a b c d e "Collection: Swanee Hunt papers | Smith College Finding Aids". findingaids.smith.edu. Retrieved June 29, 2020. This article incorporates text available under the CC BY 3.0 license.
  6. ^ Hunt, Swanee (October 4, 2006). Half-Life of a Zealot. Duke University Press. ISBN 9780822338758. Retrieved August 3, 2016 – via Internet Archive.
  7. ^ "Ambassador Swanee Hunt's CV". Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  8. ^ "Milestones". Swanee Hunt. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  9. ^ "News Release - John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum". Retrieved August 3, 2016.
Diplomatic posts Preceded byRoy M. Huffington U.S. Ambassador to Austria 1993–1997 Succeeded byKathryn Walt Hall