Rachel Kyte is the 14th dean of The Fletcher School at Tufts University. A 2002 graduate of Fletcher’s Global Master of Arts Program (GMAP) and a professor of practice at the school since 2012, Kyte is the first woman to lead the nation’s oldest graduate-only school of international affairs, which attracts students from all corners of the globe and at all stages of their careers.
Prior to joining Fletcher, Kyte served as special representative of the UN secretary-general and chief executive officer of Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL). She previously was the World Bank Group vice president and special envoy for climate change, leading the Bank Group’s efforts to shift its operations and campaign for the Paris Agreement.
In her UN role and as CEO of SEforAll, a nonprofit public/private platform created from an initiative of the UN secretary-general, Kyte led efforts to promote and finance clean, affordable energy and low-carbon growth as part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in the context of the Paris Agreement. She grew SEforALL into an organization that employs more than forty staff and has partnerships with companies, governments, and civil society organizations. She continues to serves as co-chair of UN Energy.
Kyte grew up in eastern England and has a deep appreciation for the value of apprenticeship, mentoring, sponsorship, and skills learned on the job in addition to in the classroom. She earned her undergraduate degree in history and politics from the University of London. Kyte is married to Dr. Ilyse Zable and they have two children.
As leaders prepare massive stimulus packages to stabilize their battered economies, consensus over a green, resilient, and inclusive recovery is becoming mainstream rhetoric. Indeed, several projects can deliver the dual objective of economic recovery with jobs and green growth, but several struggling fossil-intensive industries employ millions and cannot change overnight. Investment across the energy sector will fall, and the International Energy Agency expects global growth in new renewable energy capacity to slow for the first time in two decades. Somehow, the immediate economic rescue will need to be balanced with the Paris Agreement’s longer-term objectives and sustainable development goals, including the bedrocks of a clean economy and societal transitions. What is the UN doing to maintain a sense of climate urgency during this critical recovery period in the latter half of 2020? How will COVID-19 affect long-term climate policies that remain under development or have been wholly upended? What are the expectations for COP 26 in 2021? How will the guidelines and principles of green recovery be shared to identify sustainable investments?