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CAMBRIDGE -- Joseph S. Nye, Jr., dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, announced during Commencement exercises today the establishment of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. The center, to be based at the Kennedy School, is expected to be among the world’s most important venues for research into human rights policy. It is made possible by an $18 million gift from the Gregory C. Carr Foundation, Inc. Gregory C. Carr holds a master’s degree in public policy from the school, and his gift is the largest ever from an alumnus or alumna. The funding will include an endowment for ongoing operating support, a professorship, and money for facilities.
The Carr Center will be a research, teaching, and training center to examine the effect on human rights around the world of governmental policies and actions, international organizations, and independent actors. The center will engage in empirical, philosophical, and conceptual research on the concept of human rights, as well as its relationship with other disciplines.
"I am extremely gratified by Greg Carr’s generosity and vision in creating the new center," Nye said. "It is rare that an individual philanthropist chooses to approach a policy challenge as complex, all-encompassing, and multi-dimensional as human rights with the level of passion, knowledge, and commitment that Greg has. His gift is truly extraordinary in terms of its importance and impact during such a critical time in the world’s history, when human rights concerns affect so many facets of global affairs."
Carr earned his master’s in public policy in 1986, having received his B.S. from Utah State University. While at the Kennedy School, he became acquainted with then-Dean Graham Allison (now director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs), who has been a friend and frequent advisor to Carr since. Carr said that his choice of the Kennedy School as a home for the new center is due, in large part, to his relationship with Allison — for whom a room in the center will be named — and is also an expression of confidence in Nye’s leadership.
Carr co-founded Boston Technology, Inc. in 1986 and served as its CEO until 1992, when he became Chairman of the Board. Boston Technology had its genesis in policy analysis Carr performed at the Kennedy School regarding the divestiture of the former Bell System into AT&T and the seven "Baby Bells." Boston Technology merged with Comverse Technology, Inc. in 1997. In 1996, he became Chairman of Prodigy, Inc. of White Plains, NY. Prodigy is a global Internet services provider. In early 1999, Carr sold a portion of his interests in Prodigy and formed the Gregory C. Carr Foundation, Inc. He is a member of the Committee on University Resources, founding benefactor of the Kennedy School’s Human Rights Initiative (the precursor to the new Carr Center), and a generous supporter of the Summer Internship Fund.
Carr’s interest in human rights was galvanized in 1996, when he met Chinese dissident Harry Wu. Since that time he has been a leading contributor to the cause. He is currently conducting research on the drafting process of the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document that sought to define core human rights ideals.
"Greg’s entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, and intellectual curiosity have distinguished him throughout his studies and his career," said Allison. "His great generosity in establishing the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy demonstrates both his ideals and his willingness to invest financial resources earned in his private ventures for the larger public good."
Frederick Schauer, Frank Stanton Professor of the First Amendment and Academic Dean of the Kennedy School, will serve as Acting Director of the Center during its initial activities, and while the search for a permanent director takes place. While serving as Acting Director of the Carr Center, Schauer will remain as Academic Dean and will retain his affiliation with the Joan Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics, and Public Policy.