We stand at a critical crossroads for the global LGBTQI+ community.

Around the world, we are witnessing an escalating crisis of violence and discrimination against LGBTQI+ individuals.

In a troubling global trend, numerous countries are intensifying their oppressive measures against LGBTQI+ communities, pushing these groups into their most vulnerable period in recent history. Across various regions, millions of LGBTQI+ people live under the constant threat of persecution and death, compelling them to conceal their identities and live in the shadows. This widespread fear deeply affects their daily lives, especially among the youth who see little hope for the future. These unbearable living conditions contribute to alarmingly high rates of suicide among LGBTQI+ individuals.

In some countries, where LGBTQI+ individuals are fundamentally demonized and misunderstood, crackdowns are often a reactionary backlash against the advancements in the Global North. Elsewhere, authoritarian regimes use the suppression of LGBTQI+ rights as a tool to stoke populism and tighten their grip on power.

The mission of this program is to uphold the promise of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for LGBTQI+ people. We advance this mission by empowering movement leaders through transformative trainings, developing high-impact research, and establishing platforms for influential dialogue. Our efforts aim to influence policymakers and facilitate global collaboration among activists, academics, policymakers, and the media.

Applications Open
Apply for the 2024 International LGBTQI+ Activism Summit and the 2024–2025 Online International LGBTQI+ Advocacy Training Program by June 21, 2024.

Program Leadership

Mathias Risse

Mathias Risse

Faculty Director, Carr Center

Timothy Patrick McCarthy

Timothy Patrick McCarthy

Faculty Program Chair

Diego Garcia Blum

Diego Garcia Blum

Program Director

Risse, McCarthy, and Garcia Blum envision establishing the Carr Center as a key international nexus for LGBTQI+ human rights policy, training, ideas, and dialogue that will amplify the impact of activism on the ground and facilitate global collaboration among activists, academics, policymakers, and the media.

"When you experience some kind of injustice in your life and in the world, you want to work to undo it." 

We sat down with Diego Garcia Blum, Program Director of the Global LGBTQI+ Human Rights Program, to learn more about advancing the LGBTQI+ rights movement.

Key Initiatives


  • Training. Our training programs bring together LGBTQI+ leaders from around the world to master strategies for igniting substantial social movements and achieving systemic change. Participants learn advanced methods in collaboration with Harvard faculty, nonprofit leaders, and fellow activists, enhancing their skills for impactful advocacy.
  • Research. Our research concentrates on three main areas: Debunking harmful myths, misconceptions, and misunderstandings that lead to human rights abuses against LGBTQI+ individuals; developing comprehensive policy recommendations; and devising innovative advocacy approaches that empower activists to navigate and overcome challenging conditions effectively.
  • Events and Special Podcast Episodes. These will focus on LGBTQI+ issues and utilize the Carr Center's convening power to raise awareness and drive important discussions for the global movement.

“The heart of this program is empowering and supporting the brave LGBTQI+ activists working in challenging and often perilous environments. Through our training and high-impact research, we aim to supercharge their efforts.”

Diego Garcia Blum, Program Director, Global LGBTQI+ Human Rights Program

Training Programs

The Global LGBTQI+ Human Rights Program offers two distinct training programs: a three-day, in-person summit at Harvard that focuses on critical regions under threat known as the "International LGBTQI+ Activism Summit," and a nine-month online program that runs from September to May, connecting approximately 200 activists in a virtual learning environment. 

The online program begins with a core curriculum essential for all participants during the fall semester, followed by elective workshops in both fall and spring. These sessions, led by seasoned nonprofit leaders and human rights practitioners, focus on specialized topics designed to enhance practical skills and knowledge.

Support Our Work
Make an impact by supporting the Global LGBTQI+ Human Rights Program at the Carr Center.

The International LGBTQI+ Activism Summit

The International LGBTQI+ Activism Summit is an immersive learning experience that brings together LGBTQI+ leaders from around the world to learn proven strategies for catalyzing powerful social movements that dismantle myths and stigma harming these communities worldwide. Participants delve into cutting-edge approaches with Harvard faculty and fellow activists, gaining insights to champion LGBTQI+ rights, challenge discrimination, and drive systemic change. 

The first International LGBTQI+ Activism Summit held in 2023 brought together global activists dedicated to expanding LGTBQI+ rights in challenging and dangerous contexts and provided a unique opportunity for these individuals to receive training and engage with esteemed Harvard faculty members and fellows.

Applications for the 2024 International LGBTQI+ Activism Summit will open on May 17, 2024—stay tuned for updates on how to apply!

Participants of the 2023 LGBTQI+ Activism Summit speaking with Prof. Timothy Patrick McCarthy and Diego Garcia Blum.

Prof. Kathryn Sikkink and Diego Garcia Blum providing a training session at the 2023 LGBTQI+ Activism Summit.

Participants of the 2023 LGBTQI+ Activism Summit. 

Prof. Marshall Ganz giving a training course aside Diego Garcia Blum at the International LGBTQI+ Activism Summit.

Diego Garcia Blum giving a presentation at the International LGBTQI+ Activism Summit. 

Participants asking questions during the International LGBTQI+ Activism Summit. 

Carr Center Faculty Director Prof. Mathias Risse providing a training course at the International LGBTQI+ Activism Summit alongside Diego Garcia Blum.

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