Civic Engagement and Human Rights: Reviving U.S. Democracy


Wednesday, July 15, 2020, 2:00pm to 3:00pm


Virtual Event (Registration Required)

Join us for a conversation with Danielle Allen, Director of Harvard's Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, and John Shattuck, Senior Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, as they discuss their common purpose of reviving American Democracy in the 21st Century. 

Professor Allen has recently worked with The American Academy to release Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century. A report which lays out a case for renewed civic faith. It offers a set of recommendations for building a fresh collective commitment to democratic citizenship, to American constitutional democracy, and one another.

Professor Shattuck leads the Renewing Rights and Responsibilities in the United States research and policy initiative at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. The initiative is a two-year research project, launched last fall by the Carr Center, to create a nonpartisan, evidence-based report and agenda for the U.S. administration in 2021 for the renewal of rights and responsibilities in the U.S.


  • Danielle Allen | James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University, and Director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics
  • John Shattuck | Professor of Practice in Diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and Senior Fellow, Carr Center 
  • Mathias Risse (Moderator) | Faculty Director, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy 

Danielle Allen is a political theorist who has published broadly in democratic theory, political sociology, and the history of political thought. Widely known for her work on justice and citizenship in both ancient Athens and modern America, Allen is the author of The World of Prometheus: The Politics of Punishing in Democratic Athens (2000), Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown vs. the Board of Education (2004), Why Plato Wrote (2010), Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality (2014), Education and Equality (2016), and Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A. (2017). She is the co-editor of the award-winning Education, Justice, and Democracy (2013, with Rob Reich) and From Voice to Influence: Understanding Citizenship in the Digital Age (2015, with Jennifer Light). She is a former Chair of the Mellon Foundation Board, past Chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. Allen is also the principal investigator for the Democratic Knowledge Project, a distributed research and action lab at Harvard University. The Democratic Knowledge Project seeks to identify, strengthen, and disseminate the bodies of knowledge, skills, and capacities that democratic citizens need in order to succeed at operating their democracy. The lab currently has three projects underway: the Declaration Resources Project, the Humanities and Liberal Arts Assessment Project (HULA), and the Youth and Participatory Politics Action and Reflection Frame.

John Shattuck is Professor of Practice in Diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, a Senior Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and chairs the international advisory board of the Center on Ethics, Justice and Public Life at Brandeis University. His many publications include Freedom on Fire, a study of the international response to genocide and crimes against humanity, Rights of Privacy, and many articles on democracy, human rights, civil liberties, international relations and higher education. Shattuck comes to the Carr Center after a distinguished career spanning more than three decades in higher education, international diplomacy, foreign policy and human rights. Shattuck served as the President and Rector of Central European University, CEO of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, a national public affairs center in Boston, and Senior Fellow at Tufts University, where he taught human rights and international relations.

Mathias Risse is the Faculty Director at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy and the Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Philosophy and Public Administration at the Harvard Kennedy School. His work primarily addresses questions of global justice ranging from human rights, inequality, taxation, trade and immigration to climate change, obligations to future generations and the future of technology. He has also worked on questions in ethics, decision theory and 19th century German philosophy, especially Nietzsche. In addition to the Harvard Kennedy School, he teaches in Harvard College and the Harvard Extension School, and he is affiliated with the Harvard philosophy department. He has also been involved with executive education both at Harvard and in collaboration with international organizations. Risse is the author of On Global Justice and Global Political Philosophy. On Global Justice is known for introducing the "grounds-of-justice" approach to global political thought. Global Political Philosophy is an introduction to political thought from a global standpoint rather than the more typical state-focused perspective. Risse is currently completing two additional books. The first is the co-authored On Trade Justice: A Philosophical Plea for a New Global Deal, forthcoming with Oxford University Press (with Gabriel Wollner). The other is On Justice: Philosophy, History, Foundations, forthcoming with Cambridge University Press.

Virtual Event Details
This event will be livestreamed on YouTube Live. Attendees registered for this event (link below) will receive a reminder for the livestream fifteen minutes before the event along with a link to the YouTube page where you can participate in the live chat and ask questions during the event.

Registration Closed