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Elaine Papoulias

Executive Director, Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies

Elaine Papoulias


Elaine Papoulias

Elaine Papoulias is the executive director of the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies (CES) at Harvard University. She is responsible for the overall management and administration of the Center and its many grants and initiatives which promote the interdisciplinary understanding of European history, politics, economy and societies. She also oversees the Center’s strategic planning, development, and stewardship activities.

From 1999-2012, Papoulias served at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) as Director of the Kokkalis Program on Southeastern and East-Central Europe, integrating this region into HKS academic and executive education programs, as well as co-curricular initiatives across the University. Under her leadership, the program became the school’s hallmark of Europe-focused activity and its regional model. Her academic and professional mentoring of students helped to support their success in building careers at high levels of government, international organizations, academia, civil society, and the private sector.

In addition to her career in academia, Papoulias’ professional experiences include advisory, public affairs, communications and analytical work for government agencies, political candidates, grassroots campaigns, non-profit institutions as well as private companies across a multitude of sectors. She received a BA from Wesleyan University and a MALD from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. She currently serves on the boards of College Year in Athens (Greece); Navarino Network (Greece); Center for Openness and Dialogue (Albania); Intersection Centre for Science and Innovation (Serbia); and diaNEOsis (Greece). Her interests include democratization, politics, and development in Southeastern Europe. She speaks Greek fluently and has a working knowledge of Persian.


  • Executive Director, Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University