Carr Center for Human Rights Policy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Carr Center logo.gif
Type Research Center
Location Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

The Carr Center for Human Rights Policy is a research center concerned with human rights, and is located at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

The mission of the Carr Center «is to train future leaders for careers in public service and to apply first-class research to the solution of public policy problems.»[1] The Center's research, teaching and writing are guided by a commitment to make human rights principles central to the formulation of public policy throughout the world.

The Carr Center was founded in 1999 by Kennedy School alumnus Greg Carr, and has since developed a focus on genocide, mass atrocity, state failure and the ethics and politics of military intervention, social movements, and modern-day slavery. The Carr Center also houses a number of projects, including, the Right to Water Initiative, Afghan Students Initiative, the Kashmir Initiative, the Latin America Initiative, as well as study groups about gender and security, and transitional justice.

The Center was previously directed by Michael Ignatieff (2000-2005), Sarah Sewall (2005-2008), and by Rory Stewart (2009-2010). The founding Executive Director of the Center is current National Security Council member Samantha Power, and held the position from 1998-2002. Charlie Clements currently serves as Executive Director.

Fellows who are or have been associated with the Center include William Arkin, Roméo Dallaire, Caroline Elkins, Sally Fegan-Wyles, Omer Ismail, Andrea Rossi, Beena Sarwar, William F. Schulz, and Taslima Nasrin.

Mission Statement[edit]

The mission of the Carr Center, like the Kennedy School, is to train future leaders for careers in public service and to apply first-class research to the solution of public policy problems. Our research, teaching and writing are guided by a commitment to make human rights principles central to the formulation of good public policy in United States and throughout the world.

Since its founding in 1999 through a gift from Kennedy School alumnus Greg Carr, the Center has developed a unique focus of expertise on the most dangerous and intractable human rights challenges of the new century, including genocide, mass atrocity, state failure and the ethics and politics of military intervention.

In approaching such challenges, we seek to lead public policy debate, to train human rights leaders and to partner with human rights organizations to help them respond to current and future challenges. We also recognize that the solutions to such problems must involve not only human rights actors, but governments, corporations, the military and others not traditionally perceived as being "human rights" efforts. Thus, we seek to expand the reach and relevance of human rights considerations to all who influence their outcomes.

The Center uses its convening power to create a safe space for human rights organizations and other policy actors to engage in constructive self-criticism and to forge new partnerships.

The Center uses its research capacity to evaluate the human rights policies of the United States and other governments and to analyze the dilemmas that need to be resolved when human rights principles are brought to bear on major public policy choices.

The Center uses its teaching capacity to inspire future leaders to make respect for human rights principles a central commitment of democratic leadership.

Current Programs[edit]

  • The Human Rights and Social Movements Program examines the complex relationship between human rights and social movements with a particular emphasis on how grassroots mobilizations have shaped and contested modern conceptions and practices of human rights, both in the United States and throughout the world. This new program is guided by the faith that social movements have played—and continue to play—a significant role in the conception, development, evolution, and implementation of what Michael Ignatieff refers to as the “human rights revolution.”
  • The Program on Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery attempts to expand the understanding of human trafficking in all its dimensions and develop policies to address this global affront to human dignity. This program conducts research, connects scholars and practitioners, develops best practices, and engages anti-trafficking policymakers and future public policy leaders around the world.
  • The Mass Atrocity Response Operation (MARO) Project seeks to enable the United States and the international community to limit or prevent mass atrocities through an integrated strategy by explaining key relevant military concepts and planning considerations. The MARO Project is based on the insight that the failure to act in the face of mass killings of civilians is not simply a function of political will or legal authority; the failure also reflects a lack of thinking about how military forces might respond. States and regional and international organizations must better understand and prepare for the unique operational and moral challenges that military forces would face in a MARO.
  • The National Security and Human Rights (NSHR) Program examines national security issues through the prism of human rights, weaving humanitarian concerns into the fabric of traditional security studies. Through research, publications, and dialogue among practitioners and academics, the Program aims to shape national and international security and human rights policies and the promotion of organizational learning and change. The Program addresses issues ranging from the effect of war on foreign civilians to the impact of security measures upon American citizens; from civil-military relations at the highest levels in Washington to actions in the field; and from the role of military ethics, leadership, training, doctrine, and capabilities in upholding human rights norms and laws to national and international judicial redress for abuses committed during armed conflict.
  • The Program on State Building and Human Rights, Afghanistan and Pakistan seeks to enable researchers and practitioners to draw on their extensive field experience to better explain some of the key characteristics of the 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 tales” or myths becoming conventional wisdom. At the same time, the Program will identify positive examples of what has worked well and holds promise for the future.
  • The Afghan Students Initiative (ASI) was formed in September 2009 to engage local Afghan students with Carr Center programs and resources. It has since evolved into an active student group that seeks to promote discussion and awareness on issues of importance to Afghanistan. The group, which is the first of its kind in the Boston area, was organized in collaboration with fellows and staff from the Carr Center's State Building and Human Rights in Afghanistan and Pakistan program.
  • The Kashmir Initiative hopes to bring inclusive dialogue and broader awareness of the complex issue of Kashmir. Kashmir’s geopolitical importance has increased drastically with the continuing war along Pakistan’s untamed western border and Afghanistan. Divided and disputed between India and Pakistan, Kashmir has seen conflict for the past 62 years. It has been identified by the U.S. government as the world’s most militarized dispute. This conflict is, however, more than a territorial dispute between two nuclear powers. As states negotiate solutions, the voice of Kashmiris who have suffered internal conflict and human rights abuses must not be lost in the cacophony of realpolitik.
  • The Latin America Initiative examines the pressing human rights issues related to social conflicts that result from ethnic tensions, erosion in the practice of democracy, extreme poverty, and the war on drugs. In Latin America human rights abuses do not take extreme forms. Except for Argentina's Dirty War, the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, Guatemala in the recent past and in Colombia at some stage in its civil war, genocide and other mass atrocities are not a current occurrence in the region. However, there are still many pressing issues that need to be addressed. Most of these are related either to the lack of legal enforcement throughout the region or to governmental abuses in face of weakening contending powers. In order to improve these conditions, it is important that democracies are strengthened and strong legal systems put in place or reinforced.
  • The Gebran G. Tueni Human Rights Fellowship, sponsored by gift from the Hariri Foundation-USA, supports two 10-month fellowships per year during a three-year period for scholars, journalists, writers, and human rights activists from Lebanon or Iraq to conduct research in residence at the Carr Center. Each of the Gebran G. Tueni Fellows will undertake a major research project focusing on the areas of freedom of speech, arbitrary detention, or discrimination against minorities, displaced populations, or other vulnerable groups in one or more countries in the Middle East.
  • The Right to Water Initiative uses a human rights framework to examine global inequalities in access to clean water and sanitation. Nearly one billion people do not have access to drinking water, nearly 2.6 billion people lack access to sanitation, and nearly 1.6 million people die every year from water and sanitation-related diseases. However, improving access to water is not simply a question of engineering or science. At the heart of the problem lie fundamental legal, political and moral questions.

Human Rights Professional Interest Council (HRPIC) is a student-led organization at HKS committed to exploring and better understanding human rights in practice. Activities this year will include career events, writing opportunities, and monthly "HR Lab" sessions, where the PIC brings students and practitioners together to discuss and analyze specific HR issues.

Former Programs[edit]

A list of former programs can be found on the Carr Center's website: *


  1. ^ Mission statement of the Carr Center, retrieved September 16, 2013

External links[edit]