College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Professor Michael Ignatieff - The Crisis of Universal Values and the Return of the Sovereign

The fifth Fulbright Annual Lecture at the University of Edinburgh will be delivered by Professor Michael Ignatieff, Edward R. Murrow Professor, Harvard Kennedy School

Event details

Date: Monday 6 June 2016, 17:00 - 18:30

Venue: Lecture Theatre G.03, 50 George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9JY

About the lecturer

Dr Michael Ignatieff is a writer, teacher and former politician. Born in Canada, educated at the University of Toronto and Harvard University, he has written award-winning books, worked as a television presenter and documentary filmmaker, editorial columnist and university teacher. He has taught at the University of British Columbia, Cambridge University, the London School of Economics and Harvard University, where he was Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Kennedy School of Government between 2000 and 2005. He is a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and holds eleven honorary degrees.

His major publications are

  • The Needs of Strangers (1984)
  • Scar Tissue (1992)
  • Isaiah Berlin (1998)
  • The Rights Revolution (2000)
  • Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry (2001)
  • The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror (2004)
  • True Patriot Love (2009)
  • Fire and Ashes: Success and Failure in Politics (2013)

Between 2006 and 2011, he was Member of Parliament for Etobicoke Lakeshore, Deputy Leader and Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Between 2011 and 2013, he held a professorial appointment at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto. In 2014, he re-joined the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University as Edward R. Murrow Professor of the Practice of Politics and the Press. He also serves as Centennial Chair of the Project on Global Ethics at the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs in New York.

Professor Ignatieff will take up the role of President and Rector of the Central European University, Budapest, later in 2016.

Lecture abstract

The European refugee crisis challenges the hopeful narrative Europeans have tried to believe since the end of the Cold War: that the nations of Europe are drawing ever closer together; that the developed world can partner with the developing world to build shared prosperity; that human rights and international law will steadily improve the protection of the stateless and the desperate. As razor wire goes up along Europe’s southern frontier, a darker narrative is emerging: that the sovereign must protect citizens against strangers; that the nation, not the continent is the true home of citizens; and that citizens in the developed world must protect its economies from migrants, refugees and strangers. These three lectures analyze the emergence of this new narrative for our times and searches for an alternative and more hopeful path.

Lecture video

Jun 06 2016 -

Professor Michael Ignatieff - The Crisis of Universal Values and the Return of the Sovereign

The fifth Fulbright Annual Lecture at the University of Edinburgh will be delivered by Professor Michael Ignatieff, Edward R. Murrow Professor, Harvard Kennedy School.

Lecture Theatre G.03, 50 George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9JY