Harvard Kennedy School Receives $1 Million Gift for Program to Address Renewal of Rights and Responsibilities in the United States

September 6, 2019
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Media Contact:  James Smith| James_Smith@hks.harvard.edu| 617-998-1780

Cambridge, MA—Harvard Kennedy School today announced a program for the renewal of rights and responsibilities in the United States. The Renewing Rights and Responsibilities project at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy will bring together Harvard faculty, fellows, and students to examine the U.S. system of rights, and explore ways to overcome challenges to issues such as voting rights, equal protection, freedom of speech, privacy and due process of law. The program is being launched with a gift of $1 million from the Schooner Foundation.

“We appreciate the Schooner Foundation’s continuing generous support of the Carr Center and its important work of bringing a human rights lens to solving public policy problems,” said Kennedy School Dean Douglas Elmendorf. 

The program anticipates generating and disseminating scholarly research by faculty, fellows and students, as well as offering nonpartisan, evidence-based policy recommendations for policy makers over the next two years. It will be led by Carr Center Faculty Director Mathias Risse, Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Philosophy and Public Administration, in collaboration with John Shattuck, Senior Fellow at the Carr Center and former assistant secretary of state for democracy, rights, and labor.

“An emphasis on the renewal of rights and responsibilities in the United States is timely and important, as civil society and communities across the country seek to strengthen the principles of equality and liberty that are enshrined in our country’s founding documents,” said Risse, whose research focuses on issues of global justice including human rights, the ethical use of technology, trade, and immigration.

“The government has a responsibility to protect these rights and institutions,” said Shattuck, whose leadership experience spans senior roles in government, civil society, and academia. “Our citizens have a responsibility to respect the rights of others and participate in the democratic process. A system of rights, and the responsibility to uphold them, is what binds our nation of unprecedented racial, ethnic, religious, and cultural diversity.”

Faculty involved in stewarding the project include renowned international relations scholar Kathryn Sikkink, Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights Policy, and democracy expert Archon Fung, Winthrop Laflin McCormack Professor of Citizenship and Self-Government. 

About the Harvard Kennedy School
Harvard Kennedy School’s mission is to improve public policy and public leadership across the United States and around the world, so people can lead safer, freer, and more prosperous lives. By combining cutting-edge research, the teaching of outstanding students, and direct interaction with practitioners, we have an impact on solving public problems that no other institution can match.

About the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy
The Carr Center for Human Rights Policy is the hub of the Harvard Kennedy School’s research, teaching and training in the human rights domain. The Center has 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, policy makers, and business.