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Past Program Areas


State Building and Human Rights: Afghanistan & Pakistan (2009-2011)

This program sought to enable researchers and practitioners with substantial field level experience to, by drawing on that experience, better explain some of the key characteristics of the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan, including: the proliferation of objectives that often lack clear causal connectedness to the overall goals of the mission; what has worked and why; the implications of establishing parallel systems and how the perverse consequences of the actions of the international community can be avoided in the future; and documenting the structural factors that lead to “fairy stories” or myths becoming conventional wisdom. At the same time, the program strived to identify positive examples of what has worked well and what might hold promise for the future.

Go to an archive of this former program's web site >


Measurement and Human Rights (2006-2011)

The Measurement and Human Rights (MHR) program worked towards the promotion of the generation and application of empirical evidence in the design of human rights policies. In collaboration with associated faculty, students and fellows, the MHR Program aimed to: frame the discussion on the role of reliable and robust research techniques in the process of collecting solid evidence of human rights violations, generate evidence-based policies, and assess the impact of intervention more effectively. Under the leadership of program director, Andrea Rossi, the MHR Program addressed the lack of a systematic usage of solid research methodology, data collection and analysis in the formulation of human rights policies.

Go to an archive of this former program's web site >


Civil Society Organization (CSO) Effectiveness (2001-2005)

The Carr Center is one of the few research institutions devoted to examining critically the policies and actions of human rights organizations as they affect the realization of human rights. In the past, the Carr Center has drawn human rights NGOs together with policymakers and academics in high-level conferences to examine human rights activism and policy around the global HIV/AIDS crisis and conflict diamonds among many other pressing topics. The Carr Center also sponsored research into how human rights NGOs address challenging political questions in the midst of ethnic or religious conflict and partnered with the Kennedy Library for a series of roundtables to explore the forging of new connections between the civil rights and international human rights communities in the United States.


Terrorism and Human Rights (2002-2005)

The Carr Center is partnering with the University Committee on Human Rights Studies in its Terrorism and Human Rights Program. This interdisciplinary program brings together senior scholars and policymakers to investigate the ethical dilemmas of democratic states responding to terror. Launched out of Carr Center Director Michael Ignatieff's 2002-2003 Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh, the program examines the central political dilemma for a constitutional state waging a war on terror: how to keep control of counter-terrorism measures that may violate human rights and humanitarian principles in the process. In 2004 the Gifford Lectures evolved into Michael Ignatieff's book The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror (Princeton University Press, 2004), on which he continued to lecture during the 2004-2005 academic year.


Religion and Human Rights (2003-2004)

With generous support from Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Carr Center, in coordination with the Harvard Divinity School and the University-wide faculty Committee on Human Rights, will launch a program in Fall 2003 to consider how the encounter between religion and human rights has framed political struggles throughout the world over the last decade. The Religion and Human Right program analyzes pressing policy questions about the proper balance between religion, politics, rights and democracy in a selection of countries.


American Exceptionalism (2001-2004)

Thanks to a grant from the Winston Foundation, the Carr Center launched a colloquium series to explore the unique nature of American rights culture and America's longstanding habit of exempting itself from international human rights obligations and international legal frameworks. Leading scholars from a variety of fields explore the origins and impact of "American Exceptionalism" in areas ranging from freedom of speech to economic and social rights. The series has produced a vibrant intellectual exchange among many of America's leading scholars for edited volume, American Exceptionalism and Human Rights (Princeton University Press, 2005) on the causes and consequences of this exceptionalism, edited by Michael Ignatieff.


International Responses to the HIV/AIDS Pandemic (2001-2003)

The Carr Center is devoted to advancing the roles of human right norms and institutions in the international response to the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. The Center work on the topic began in 2001 with a speaker series and a policy conferencethat focused on securing the support of key international human rights NGOs to research and report on this crisis. Since then, faculty and fellows have pursued research agendas on AIDS in Africa and the role of pharmaceutical companies in HIV/AIDS drug pricing debates, among other topics. The Carr Center is coordinating further meetings to consider the current state of funding and human rights activism for AIDS prevention and treatment programs.


Social Psychology of Conflict Escalation (2001-2003)

This program examines the application of social psychology of conflict to human rights policy. Led by Carr Center faculty affiliate Professor Keith Allred and sponsored by the Carr Foundation, the program's project on resolving the Nez Perce/local government conflict of Idaho applies conflict resolution research to a dispute between a tribal government and surrounding city and county governments. Along with Professor Joseph Kalt of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, professor Allred also has developed an education and mediation intervention to overcome those biases and resolve the conflict. Allred and his research team have been asked to perform similar negotiations for communities both nationally and internationally.


Comprehensive Security and Sustainable Development (2001-2003)

This initiative produces cutting edge research, teaching and practical engagement on the shift from a globalization model focused narrowly on national security and economic growth to one designed to achieve comprehensive security and sustainable development. Led by Professor Sanjeev Khagram. The program examines: 1) the relations between governance, security, and development, and the rights and risks based approaches in particular; 2) transnational dynamics and emerging architectures of governance; 3) corporate citizenship, accountability; responsibility and sustainability, 4) social movements in the South - Brazil, India, South Africa and Thailand; and 5) innovations in government and governance for comprehensive security and sustainable development. Khagram co-edited the volume, Reconstructing World Politics: Transnational Social Movements, Networks and Norms (U. of Minn. Press, 2002).



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