News & Announcements

Renewing Rights and Responsibilities in the U.S.
Ralph Ranalli. 9/30/2019. “Renewing Rights and Responsibilities in the U.S.” Harvard Kennedy School .Abstract
See the HKS article on the new Carr Center Rights and Responsibilities Initiative.

Americans live in a country founded on the concept of individual rights, but human rights experts say more work still needs to be done teaching people what rights actually are, where they come from, and how their neighbors’ rights intertwine with their own.

A major new initiative from the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy will seek to bridge that gap, particularly in the area of how individual rights are inextricably linked to societal responsibility. The two-year research initiative is titled “Renewing Rights and Responsibilities in the US.”

“We want to get people to think about human rights and to remind them of their relevance,” said Mathias Risse, the Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Philosophy and Public Administration and faculty director of the Carr Center. “We want to remind people of the content of the American Declaration of Independence and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to remind people of the significance of looking after every single person. That’s really the purpose of this initiative.”

See full article here. 



Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Talks Ethics and Technology at Kennedy School
Michelle G. Kurilla. 9/10/2019. “Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Talks Ethics and Technology at Kennedy School.” The Harvard Crimson. See full text.Abstract
Luís Roberto Barroso, current justice of the Supreme Federal Court of Brazil and senior fellow of the Harvard Kennedy School, warned that advances in technology will pose new dangers to Brazilian and American democratic institutions in a speech at the school Monday evening.

He said the development of artificial intelligence — which he called the “fourth industrial revolution” — will prompt urgent questions about the proper limits of freedom of expression on the internet, including ways to combat hate speech and fake news.

Read the full article here

The Education of an Idealist
Samantha Power. 9/10/2019. The Education of an Idealist. Dey Street Books. See full text.Abstract
In her memoir, Power offers an urgent response to the question "What can one person do?"—and a call for a clearer eye, a kinder heart, and a more open and civil hand in our politics and daily lives.

The Education of an Idealist traces Power’s distinctly American journey from immigrant to war correspondent to presidential Cabinet official. In 2005, her critiques of US foreign policy caught the eye of newly elected senator Barack Obama, who invited her to work with him on Capitol Hill and then on his presidential campaign. After Obama was elected president, Power went from being an activist outsider to a government insider, navigating the halls of power while trying to put her ideals into practice. She served for four years as Obama's human rights adviser, and in 2013, he named her US Ambassador to the United Nations, the youngest American to assume the role.

Power transports us from her childhood in Dublin to the streets of war-torn Bosnia to the White House Situation Room and the world of high-stakes diplomacy. Humorous and deeply honest, The Education of an Idealist lays bare the searing battles and defining moments of her life and shows how she juggled the demands of a 24/7 national security job with the challenge of raising two young children. Along the way, she illuminates the intricacies of politics and geopolitics, reminding us how the United States can lead in the world, and why we each have the opportunity to advance the cause of human dignity. Power's memoir is an unforgettable account of the power of idealism and of one person's fierce determination to make a difference.


Civil Action and the Dynamics of Violence
Erica Chenoweth, Deborah Avant, Marie Berry, Rachel Epstein, Cullen Hendrix, Oliver Kaplan, and Timothy Sisk. 9/25/2019. Civil Action and the Dynamics of Violence, Pp. 320. Oxford University Press. See full text.Abstract
This comprehensive study introduces scholars and practitioners to the concept of civil action. It locates civil action within the wider spectrum of behavior in the midst of civil conflict and war, and showcases empirical findings about the effects of civil action in nine cases from around the world. It explains the ways in which non-violent actions during civil war affect the dynamics of violence.

Many view civil wars as violent contests between armed combatants. But history shows that community groups, businesses, NGOs, local governments, and even armed groups can respond to war by engaging in civil action. Characterized by a reluctance to resort to violence and a willingness to show enough respect to engage with others, civil action can slow, delay, or prevent violent escalations. This volume explores how people in conflict environments engage in civil action, and the ways such action has affected violence dynamics in Syria, Peru, Kenya, Northern Ireland, Mexico, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Spain, and Colombia. These cases highlight the critical and often neglected role that civil action plays in conflicts around the world.


The ICC’s Afghanistan Decision

April 16, 2019

A Pre-Trial Chamber at the International Criminal Court (ICC) has rejected the Prosecutor’s request, filed nearly 18 months ago, to open an investigation of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan, including of allegations that U.S. forces and the CIA committed acts of torture there.... Read more about The ICC’s Afghanistan Decision