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Swanee Grace Ansbacher (Hunt)

Birthplace: Texas, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of H. L. Hunt and Ruth Hunt
Widow of Charles Ansbacher
Mother of <private> Ansbacher
Sister of <private> Hunt; <private> Hunt and Ray Lee Hunt
Half sister of Hugh S. Hunt; Nelson Bunker Hunt; Lamar Hunt; Caroline Rose Hunt and <private> Hunt

Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About Swanee Hunt

Swanee Grace Hunt (born May 1, 1950), Eleanor Roosevelt Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, is the founding director of the Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP) at the Kennedy School, and former United States Ambassador to Austria.

A daughter of oil tycoon H. L. Hunt, she grew up in Dallas, Texas and then lived in Denver, Colorado for many years, where she was active in many community and philanthropic activities. She has a BA in philosophy, two master's degrees, and a doctorate in theology. Hunt is also an expert on women in politics, having conducted research, training, and consultations with women leaders in some 60 countries. She is the chair of the Washington-based Institute for Inclusive Security (including the Women Waging Peace Network) which advocates integrating women into peace processes.

In 1981, she co-founded Hunt Alternatives Fund with her sister Helen. The Fund is focused on strengthening youth arts organizations, supporting leaders of social movements, combating human trafficking, and increasing philanthropy. Based in Denver until 1997, the Fund was relocated to Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1997, when Hunt founded WAPPP at Harvard University. She has also lectured at Harvard's business, law, divinity and education graduate schools.

Swanee Hunt was appointed as ambassador to Austria in 1993, where she was notable for writing a weekly newspaper column and radio program. She also organized women's conferences in Bosnia and otherwise worked to secure peace in the former Yugoslavia.

Hunt is active in Democratic politics and, in addition to fundraising events for candidates, she recently convened Unconventional Women, a six-hour program featuring more than 20 female political leaders for an audience of 3000 in Denver during the Democratic National Convention.

In 2001, she received the Community of Christ International Peace Award. In April 2007 she was the keynote speaker at the Association of Junior Leagues International Annual Conference. In October 2007, she joined her sister Helen LaKelly Hunt as an inductee of the National Women's Hall of Fame. She is also a photographer and her photographs have been exhibited in more than a dozen one-woman shows; her musical composition, The Witness Cantata has been performed in six cities.

She was married to the conductor Charles Ansbacher, who died on September 12, 2010. They have three children, among them filmmaker Henry Ansbacher, and three grandchildren.


Philanthropist, ambassador, and social activist, Swanee Hunt, has made her presence known the world over. The youngest daughter of Texas oil billionaire, H.L. Hunt, Swanee began her philanthropic work in Denver where in 1981 she, with her sister, Helen founded the Hunt Alternatives Fund. For 16 years the Fund gave millions to neighborhood and minority groups, not funded by larger foundations, in the Denver area. Most of these more than 600 grassroots organizations were focused on families in poverty, particularly women and children, and included mental health care, homeless services and battered women shelters, areas of special concern to Hunt.

In 1987, she co-founded The Women's Foundation of Colorado, which makes grants to empower women of all ages, and which now has over $10 million in endowments.

In 1993, President William J. Clinton appointed Hunt United States Ambassador to the Republic of Austria, where she served for four years. During that time she worked extensively as a political and social activist. She brought together business executives, politicians, government leaders, as well as cultural leaders, in order to further U.S. and Austrian interests. Hunt played a key role in the creation of the Bosnian Women's Initiative in 1996 and within that context, she was the keynote speaker for a women's conference in Sarajevo with more than 500 participants from all over Europe. She personally funded the Vienna Women's Initiative, which provided an opportunity for women leaders across all fields to come together to join forces.

In January 1998, she and her family moved from Denver to Cambridge, Massachusetts and Harvard University. As the Director of Harvard's Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP) at the Kennedy School of Government, Hunt continues in her role as an educator and supporter of women leaders worldwide. The WAPPP focuses on public policies that significantly impact women and on the women who shape these policies. In 2005, Hunt's book This Was Not Our War: Bosnian Women Reclaiming the Peace won the Pen / New England Award for non-fiction. In addition to her writing, she is a talented photographer, composer, and speaker. She holds two masters degrees, a doctorate in theology and several honorary degrees.

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Swanee Hunt's Timeline

May 1, 1950
Texas, United States