Special Assistant to the President & Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council
The White House
The Honorable Grant T. Harris serves as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs on the National Security Council Staff of the White House. Mr. Harris initiated and served as principal architect of the U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa, signed by the President in June 2012, and conceived of and was a primary lead in implementing the historic U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, in which the President hosted 51 African Leaders in Washington, DC, in August 2014. Mr. Harris also helped initiate and coordinate the Doing Business in Africa Campaign, to encourage greater U.S. trade and investment, and launched the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative, to support emerging leaders. Prior to this position, Mr. Harris was Deputy Chief of Staff and Counselor to Susan E. Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and a member of President Obama’s Cabinet. Mr. Harris also served as Senior Policy Advisor to Ambassador Rice and was a member of the Obama/Biden Transition Team. Previously, Mr. Harris was an associate at the law firm of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, where he focused on international financings and business transactions. Prior to that, Mr. Harris served in the African Affairs Directorate at the National Security Council at the White House and at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations during the Clinton Administration. Mr. Harris is a graduate of Yale Law School, where he served on the Journal of International Law and was awarded the Ambrose Gherini Prize for best paper in the field of international law. Mr. Harris also received a Master’s in Public Affairs, with Distinction, from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He received a B.A. in Political Science, summa cum laude, from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was president of the student body. His writings have appeared in such publications as Yale Journal of Law & Policy, Berkeley Journal of International Law, Israel Law Review (peer-reviewed), and The San Francisco Chronicle. He received the Francis Lieber Prize from the American Society of International Law for outstanding scholarship in the field of the law of armed conflict.