Mathias Risse Photo
Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy
Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights, Global Affairs and Philosophy
Assistant: M. Derya Honca

Mathias Risse is Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights, Global Affairs and Philosophy and Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University. His work primarily addresses questions of global justice ranging from human rights, inequality, taxation, trade and immigration to climate change, obligations to future generations and the future of technology, especially also the impact of artificial intelligence on a range of normative issues. He has also worked on questions in ethics, decision theory and 19th century German philosophy, especially Nietzsche. (For some recent writings on race and protest, see: “Giving Account: On Dealing with White Ignorance (Personally and Professionally);” “Statement Regarding My 2004 Paper on Racial Profiling;” “Discrimination, Cognitive Biases, and Human Rights Violations,” based on a talk in Mexico City; “Human Rights and Social Order: Philosophical, Practical and Public Policy Dimensions,” based on a talk in Santiago de Chile regarding the protests in Chile; and “Dangerous Science: Might Population Genetics or Artificial Intelligence Undermine Philosophical Ideas about Equality?,” based on a talk given in Cologne.) 

In addition to HKS, Risse also teaches in Harvard College and the Harvard Extension School, and is affiliated with the Philosophy Department. He has also been involved with executive education at Harvard and in collaboration with international organizations. Risse is the author of On Global Justice (Princeton University Press) and Global Political Philosophy (Palgrave Macmillan), as well as On Trade Justice: A Philosophical Plea for a New Global Deal (Oxford University Press, with Gabriel Wollner) and On Justice: Philosophy, History, Foundations (Cambridge University Press). Risse serves as Co-Director of Graduate Studies at the Edmond J Safra Center for Ethics (jointly with Danielle Allen), as well as Director of the McCloy program, a fellowship program for German students. He is also affiliated with the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.

Risse has been the organizer of a number of major international conferences at Harvard and a co-organizer of several more such events in East and South East Asia (Singapore, Seoul and Shanghai), as a way of fostering collaboration among political philosophers and representatives of other fields across cultural divides. He has been a visiting professor at the National University of Singapore, New York University Abu Dhabi and Leuphana University in Germany. Risse grew up in a village in Westphalia, Germany. He studied in Bielefeld, Pittsburgh and Jerusalem, and then received his PhD from Princeton in 2000 and taught in the Department of Philosophy at Yale before coming to Harvard in 2002. He lived in Harvard's Eliot House for six years, and now resides in Somerville with his wife. See also

Executive Education Programs


Phone: 617-495-9811
Assistant: M. Derya Honca


Human Rights
Fairness & Justice
International Relations & Security

Mailing Address

Harvard Kennedy School
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138