Grant T. Harris

Grant Harris
Professorial Lecturer of International Affairs; CEO, Connect Frontier LLC
[email protected]

Grant T. Harris has 20 years of private and public sector experience related to international relations and global business. He is currently CEO of Connect Frontier LLC, a consultancy that advises companies and organizations on strategy, policy, and mitigating risk with respect to doing business in emerging and frontier markets. Harris is also an Adjunct Professor of Global Management at Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University) and a Lecturer at Haas School of Business (University of California, Berkeley), where he teaches on doing business in emerging markets.

Harris previously served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the White House from 2011-2015. In this role, Harris conceived the historic U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, which generated $37 billion in new commitments to support trade, investment, and development across Africa. Harris also initiated President Obama’s Doing Business in Africa Campaign and launched the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative. As former Deputy Chief of Staff and Counselor to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, his portfolio included East Asia and Africa. Previously, Harris was an attorney at the law firm of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, where he focused on cross-border transactions in Latin America. Harris also served in the African Affairs Directorate at the White House under President Bill Clinton and in the U.S. Mission to the United Nations under Ambassador Richard Holbrooke.

Harris holds a law degree from Yale Law School, a Master’s in Public Affairs, with Distinction, from Princeton University, and a B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of California, Berkeley. His writings have appeared in The Washington Post; Forbes; TIME; Harvard Business Review; U.S. News & World Report; Foreign Affairs; Foreign Policy; HuffPost SA; The Hill; Yale Journal of Law & Policy; Berkeley Journal of International Law; Israel Law Review; and The San Francisco Chronicle. He is a frequent conference speaker and has been widely quoted in U.S. and international media, including The New York Times; The Financial Times; BBC; and The Wall Street Journal.

Current Research

Emerging markets, international business, foreign policy, international relations, strategy, political risk, public policy, commercial diplomacy, social impact


Harris holds a law degree from Yale Law School, a Master’s in Public Affairs, with Distinction, from Princeton University, and a B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of California, Berkeley.


“How Investors Can Navigate Pandemic-Related Risk in Emerging Markets,” Harvard Business Review (2020)

“Leaders of Developing Countries Are Particularly Vulnerable During this Pandemic,” The Washington Post (2020)

“How Vladimir Putin is outplaying the U.S. in Africa,” The Washington Post (2019)

“Why Every University Needs an Africa Strategy,” Inside Higher Ed (2019)

“The Perils of Chinese Debt Diplomacy,” Wilson Center (2019)

“How Trump’s ‘Victory’ Became Kim’s Triumph,” Project Syndicate (2019)

“Trump’s Africa Policy Is Destined for Failure,” Foreign Affairs (2019)

“The U.S. is Punishing Rwanda for Rejecting Our Old Jeans and T-Shirts. It’s a Shortsighted Move,” The Washington Post (2018)

“China Is Loaning Billions of Dollars to African Countries. Here’s Why the U.S. Should Be Worried,” TIME (2018)

“In Africa, It’s Not Just China Eating America’s Lunch,” Wilson Center (2018)

“Trump’s Militaristic Africa Policy Will Backfire,” Foreign Policy (2018)

“The Key to Stopping an Outbreak,” U.S. News & World Report (2018)

“Why U.S. Companies Need to Include Africa in Their Global Growth Strategies,” Initiative for Global Development (2018)

“Stop the Ghost of ISIS from Haunting Africa,” U.S. News & World Report (2018)

“Challenging North Korea,” Wilson Center (2018)

“End Africa’s Lifeline to North Korea,” U.S. News & World Report (2018)

“The U.S. Needs Real Diplomacy to Counter North Korea in Africa,” Foreign Policy (2017)

“Ignoring Africa Endangers America,” U.S. News & World Report (2017)

“By Ignoring Africa, U.S. Cedes Jobs To China,” Forbes (2017)

“Where Trump Fails on US-Africa Policy, Congress Must Step In,” The Hill (2017)

“Will African Leaders Allow Youth To Make The World A Better Place?” HuffPost SA (2017)

“Why Africa Matters to U.S. National Security,” The Atlantic Council (2017)

“Obama Stakes His Africa Legacy On Economic Growth,” Forbes (2017)

“Why Africa Matters to U.S. National Security,” Pouvoirs d’Afrique (2017)

“U.S. Investors Are Missing Out On Africa’s Economic Growth,” Forbes (2016)

“It’s Time for U.S. Companies to See Africa as an Investment Destination,” Initiative for Global Development (2016)

“A Global Stage for Africa’s Rising Tech Entrepreneurs,” Wilson Center (2016)

“A Legacy in the Making: Obama’s Approach to Security Sector Assistance,” The Cipher Brief (2016)

“The Imperative of African Leadership: Fulfilling the Continent’s Massive Potential,” Horizons (2016)

“Human Rights, Israel, and the Political Realities of Occupation,” Israel Law Review (2008)

“The Era of Multilateral Occupation,” Berkeley Journal of International Law (2006)

Note, “The CIA Mandate and the War on Terror,” Yale Law & Policy Review (2005)

Classes Taught

IAFF 6502 Political Risk Analysis