Thomas J. Vallely is Senior Advisor for Mainland Southeast Asia at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation. Vallely is also the current director of the Harvard Myanmar Program, which seeks to broaden and deepen the understanding of the development and democratic governance challenges facing Myanmar.
Vallely founded the Harvard Vietnam Program in 1989 and established the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program in Ho Chi Minh City in 1994. Vallely leveraged the Vietnam Program’s research to engage in a candid and constructively critical dialogue with the Vietnamese government about the strategic challenges confronting the country. Under his leadership, the Fulbright School emerged as a center of excellence in public policy research and teaching and a pioneer in the development of new modes of institutional governance in Vietnam.
Prior to founding the Vietnam Program, Vallely was a senior research fellow at Harvard Kennedy School, where he worked on strategic and military issues in East and Southeast Asia.
He has worked as a political consultant and was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1980, where he served until 1987. From 2014 to 2017, Vallely served on the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Policy Advisory Board.
Vallely received a B.S. from the University of Massachusetts/Boston and an M.P.A. from the Kennedy School and served with the United States Marine Corps in Vietnam. Vallely served as Senior Advisor to The Vietnam War, an epic ten-part documentary miniseries directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.