The Carr Center for Human Rights Policy serves as the hub of the Harvard Kennedy School’s research, teaching, and training in the human rights domain. The center embraces a dual mission: to educate students and the next generation of leaders from around the world in human rights policy and practice; and to convene and provide policy-relevant knowledge to international organizations, governments, policymakers, and businesses.


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Latest Publications

The '3.5% rule': How a small minority can change the world



Research featuring Carr Center's Erica Chenoweth. 

Nonviolent protests are twice as likely to succeed as armed conflicts – and those engaging a threshold of 3.5% of the population have never failed to bring about change.

"In 1986, millions of Filipinos took to the streets of Manila in peaceful protest and prayer in the People Power movement. The Marcos regime folded on the fourth day.

In 2003, the people of Georgia ousted Eduard Shevardnadze through the bloodless Rose Revolution, in which protestors stormed the parliament building holding the flowers in their hands."

Read the full article on BBC Future.

ow: David Robson | May 15, 2019
sdf: Nonviolent protests are twice as likely to succeed as armed conflicts.
Last updated on 02/11/2020

The Populist-Nationalist Rebellion: Challenge to Transatlantic Democracy

The Populist-Nationalist Rebellion: Challenge to Transatlantic Democracy


New Policy Brief from John Shattuck for the College of Europe Policy Brief series.

"The US and the European Union (EU) are confronted to- day by a surge of populist nationalism that presents mul- tiple challenges to transatlantic democracy. Populism is a form of grassroots rebellion against governing elites with a long history and complex relationship to democracy, as illustrated by two historical examples, the rebellions in colonial America and post-1989 Czechoslovakia, both of which led to democratic governments, and two contrary contemporary examples, in the US and Hungary, which have gone in the opposite direction."

Link here:

: John Shattuck | Apr 29 2019
: The US and the EU are confronted today by a surge of populist nationalism that presents multiple challenges to transatlantic democracy.
Last updated on 02/11/2020

People Power is Rising in Africa


Zoe Marks, Erica Chenoweth, and Jide Okeke. 4/25/2019. “People Power is Rising in Africa.” Foreign Affairs. See full text.
People Power is Rising in Africa


New article in Foreign Affairs from Carr Center's Zoe Marks and Erica Chenoweth, with Jide Okeke, delineates how protest movements are succeeding where even global arrest warrants can’t.

A new tide of people power is rising in Africa. On April 2, a nonviolent resistance movement in Algeria succeeded in pressuring Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign after 20 years as president. Nine days later, protesters in Sudan were celebrating the ouster of Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s president of 30 years, after a three-month-long uprising against his regime.

The nonviolent overthrows of Bouteflika and Bashir are not aberrations. They reflect a surprising trend across the continent: despite common perceptions of Africa as wracked by violence and conflict, since 2000, most rebellions there have been unarmed and peaceful. Over the past decade, mass uprisings in Africa have accounted for one in three of the nonviolent campaigns aiming to topple dictatorships around the world. Africa has seen 25 new, nonviolent mass movements—almost twice as many as Asia, the next most active region with 16.

Read the full article on Foreign Affairs.

: Zoe Marks et al. | April 25, 2019
: How protest movements are succeeding where even global arrest warrants can’t.
Last updated on 02/03/2020
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“The Carr Center is building a bridge between ideas on human rights and the practice on the ground. Right now we are at a critical juncture. The pace of technological change and the rise of authoritarian governments are both examples of serious challenges to the flourishing of individual rights. It’s crucial that Harvard and the Kennedy School continue to be a major influence in keeping human rights ideals alive. The Carr Center is a focal point for this important task.”


- Mathias Risse