Canadian Politician and Scholar to Speak on Imagining a Global Ethic

March 30, 2012 — Michael Ignatieff - author, academic and former leader of the Liberal Party of Canada - will speak April 19 at the University of Virginia on "Imagining a Global Ethic."

This lecture, free and open to the public, will begin at 3:30 p.m. in the Great Hall of Garrett Hall. The event, which will be followed by a reception, is co-sponsored by U.Va.'s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture and Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, along with the Social Trends Institute of Barcelona.

As a historian, fiction writer and public intellectual, Ignatieff has written extensively on international development, peacekeeping and the international responsibilities of Western nations. During the 2011-12 academic year, he is senior resident of the University of Toronto's Massey College, where he teaches courses in law and political science for the Munk School of Global Affairs, the School of Public Policy and Governance and the Faculty of Law.

From 2008 until 2011, he was the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and Leader of the Official Opposition. Ignatieff received his doctorate in history from Harvard University in 1976. He has been a senior research fellow at King's College, Cambridge, and has held teaching posts at Harvard University, Cambridge University, Oxford University, the University of California, the University of London and the London School of Economics.

Between 2000 and 2005, Ignatieff was professor of human rights and director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

He served on the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty and helped write its 2001 report, "The Responsibility to Protect," which examines the role of international involvement in Kosovo and Rwanda and advocated a framework for intervention in future humanitarian crises.

Ignatieff has written scholarly works on subjects as diverse as the English penal system, the human need for community and the Scottish Enlightenment, as well as a family memoir, "A Russian Album" (1987), which won the Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction and the Heinemann Award. His second novel, "Scar Tissue" (1993), was short-listed for both the Booker Prize for Fiction and the Whitbread Novel Award. His acclaimed 1998 biography of Isaiah Berlin was short-listed for both the Jewish Quarterly Literary Prize for Non-Fiction and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction). He is also the author of "The Rights Revolution: The Massey Lectures" (2000); "Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry" (2001) and "The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror" (2004); and editor of "American Exceptionalism and Human Rights" (2005).

For information, contact Jenny Gladding at 434-924-0998 or

U.Va.'s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture is an interdisciplinary research center and intellectual community, committed to understanding contemporary cultural change and its individual and social consequences. Over the past 15 years, the institute has organized numerous lectures at which senior scholars, public intellectuals and dignitaries have made major statements on some of the most pressing issues of our time.