Michael Ignatieff Named Edward R. Murrow Professor at Harvard Kennedy School

Michael Ignatieff
Michael Ignatieff

June 24, 2014 – Author, scholar, journalist, former politician and Professor of Practice Michael Ignatieff has been named to the Edward R. Murrow Chair of Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS). His full-time appointment begins July 1, and he will serve as a faculty affiliate at the School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.

Since 2012 Ignatieff has held a joint professorial appointment at the Munk School of Public Affairs at the University of Toronto and at HKS, where he has served as a Professor of Practice.  He previously served as director of the Kennedy School’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy between 2000 and 2005 before running for political office in his native Canada. Ignatieff served as a Member of Parliament for Etobicoke Lakeshore, as well as Deputy Leader and later as Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.  Ignatieff returned to academic life in 2011 after the Conservative Party won the national election.

Ignatieff is the author of 17 books, including Isaiah Berlin (1998), Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry (2001), and Fire and Ashes: Success and Failure in Politics (2013).  While living in the United Kingdom from 1978-2000, Ignatieff became well known as a television and radio broadcaster and as an editorial columnist for The Observer.  His best-known television work has been Voices on Channel 4, the BBC 2 discussion program Thinking Aloud, and BBC 2’s arts program, The Late Show.  His documentary series titled Blood and Belonging aired on the BBC in 1993 and won a Canadian Gemini Award.  In 1998, he was on the first panel of the long-running BBC Radio discussion series In Our Time.

“The Kennedy School is an exciting and dynamic place where our future leaders are engaged in the very real process of gaining a greater understanding of the challenges they will face and the tools they will need to confront them,” said Ignatieff. “I am thrilled to join the full time faculty at HKS and to serve as an affiliate of the Shorenstein Center.”

At the Shorenstein Center, Ignatieff will participate in research activities and lend his expertise to the Fellows Program.  He will be teaching courses on Responsibility and Representation: Meeting the Demands of Political Life; Sovereignty and Intervention; and Human Rights and Foreign Policy.

“During the course of his remarkable career Michael Ignatieff has leveraged the power of the media time and again to draw attention to many important public policy issues,” said Alex S. Jones, Laurence M. Lombard Lecturer in the Press and Public Policy and director of the Shorenstein Center. “His experience as an author, editorial columnist, television presenter and documentary filmmaker — in addition to his accomplishments as a scholar and political leader — provide him with a unique and textured understanding of the interplay between media, politics and public policy.”

Ignatieff earned his BA at the University of Toronto, his MA from Cambridge University, and his PhD in history from Harvard.

The Edward R. Murrow Professorship was established in 1987; the first occupant was Marvin Kalb, the founding director of the Shorenstein Center.  The chair was designed to be held by a distinguished practitioner from the media and was named after Edward Roscoe Murrow (1908-1965), the esteemed radio and television newscaster whose pioneering eyewitness accounts brought the events of World War II and its aftermath into American living rooms.  The Chair was funded by more than 40 donors including the Westinghouse Broadcasting Company, Mary Bingham and G. Barry Bingham Jr.

Download the press release (PDF).