Andrew Light Joins the Biden-Harris Administration

Andrew Light, the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy's Director, has been appointed by the Biden-Harris administration to lead the Office of International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Energy for International Affairs. This office takes the lead for all international engagement for the U.S. government on energy cooperation with a focus on the global clean energy transition to address climate change. The work includes oversight of over a dozen current bilateral programs of cooperation and several multilateral platforms. DOE will play a large role in implementing the Biden-Harris administration’s overall plan on climate and clean energy.  


In his new role, Light reports directly to Energy Secretary-designate Governor Jennifer Granholm, and will be part of the broader Biden-Harris international climate mission directed by Presidential Special Envoy for Climate Change, John Kerry. Jesse Kirkpatrick, the Institute's Assistant Director, will serve as Acting Director during Andrew's two-year leave from Mason for this position.


“We congratulate Andrew on his new position with the incoming team at the Department of Energy,” said dean Ann Ardis. “His expertise, tireless advocacy for clean energy, and prior experience in climate and energy policy work at the international and national levels will no doubt enable his success in this new role.”


Light has previous governmental experience, having served as Senior Adviser and India Counselor to the U.S. Special Envoy on Climate Change from 2013-16, and as a Staff Climate Advisor in Secretary of State John Kerry's Office of Policy Planning in the U.S. Department of State. In this capacity he was Co-Chair of the U.S.-India Joint Working Group on Combating Climate Change, Chair of the Climate Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals across all agencies for the U.S. government, and served on the senior strategy team for the UN climate negotiations.


Among many awards for his work, Light received a shared Superior Honor Award, from the U.S. Department of State in July 2016, for “contributions to the U.S. effort that made the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris, where the landmark Paris Agreement was concluded, a historic success.”

"It is terrific to see Andrew stepping into this important new role,” said Rachel Jones, chair, Department of Philosophy, "and it is inspiring for our students to see how a training in philosophy can be put to work to serve the public good and lead collaboration on these urgent national and global issues."

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