History & Approach

Since its founding in 1999, the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School has been a leading research center that has focused on some of the most intractable challenges facing the world, including genocide, torture, violence against women, and human trafficking. The Center was founded by director Michael Ignatieff, currently President of Central European University, and Executive Director Samantha Power, who was later U.S. Ambassador to the UN.  

In celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 2018, the Center looked back to examine the progress made to date, and the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead. Its new areas of focus include the impact of technological advancements on the future of human rights; the power and impact of nonviolent social movements in effecting change; and the renewal of rights and responsibilities in the United States. Its current Director, Mathias Risse, is a philosopher and ethicist focused on global justice. Its current Executive Director, Sushma Raman, is a practitioner with experience launching, leading and scaling human rights and social justice programs and collaborations. By training the next generation of leaders, developing new knowledge and ideas, and holding conveneings for human rights scholars and practitioners around the world, the Carr Center seeks to build a more just, peaceful future.