John Ruggie

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John Ruggie
John Ruggie 2012.jpg
Professor John Ruggie
John Gerard Ruggie

(1944-10-18) 18 October 1944 (age 74)
Alma materMcMaster University and University of California, Berkeley
OccupationProfessor of Political Science

John Gerard Ruggie (born October 18, 1944) is the Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights and International Affairs at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He is also an Affiliated Professor in International Legal Studies at Harvard Law School.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Ruggie was born in Graz, Austria, son of Josef and Margaret Ruggie. He was raised in Toronto, Canada.

Ruggie has a BA in politics and history from McMaster University in Canada.

He married Mary Zacharuk in 1965, with whom he has one son, Andreas Ruggie, who attended Columbia University and MIT Sloane.

He moved to the United States in 1967 to attend graduate school. He earned a PhD in political science from the University of California, Berkeley.


Academic appointments[edit]

Ruggie taught for many years at Columbia University, eventually becoming Dean of the School of International and Public Affairs. He has also taught at the University of California's Berkeley and San Diego campuses and directed the UC system-wide Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation.

United Nations work[edit]

He has twice served as a senior official in the United Nations. From 1997 to 2001, he served as United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Planning, a post created specifically for him by then Secretary-General Kofi Annan. He was one of the principal architects of the United Nations Global Compact.[2] In 2005, he was appointed as the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Business and Human Rights.[2] He developed a set of principles, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which have been adopted by multiple international agencies.[1][3]

Scholarly work[edit]

Ruggie is widely considered to be one of his generation's most influential political scientists. He introduced the concepts of international regimes and epistemic communities into the international relations field; adapted from Karl Polanyi the term "embedded liberalism" to explain the post-World War II international economic system among western capitalistic states; and was a major contributor to the emergence of the constructivist approach to international relations theorizing, which takes seriously the roles of norms, ideas, and identities, alongside other factors in determining international outcomes. A survey in Foreign Policy magazine has named him as one of the 25 most influential international relations scholars in the United States and Canada.[1]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Ruggie has a Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) from McMaster; and a Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) from University of Waterloo.

A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Ruggie is a recipient of the International Studies Association's Distinguished Scholar Award and the American Political Science Association's Hubert Humphrey Award for outstanding public service by a political scientist. He is also a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. Foreign Policy magazine has named him as one of the 25 most influential international relations scholars in the United States and Canada. In 2014, he received the Harry LeRoy Jones Award of the Washington Foreign Law Society, honoring "an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the development and application of international law" for developing the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Previous recipients have included, among others, Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, Member of the International Court of Justice Thomas Buergenthal, Secretary of State James Baker, Senator George Mitchell, Ambassador Thomas Pickering, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, and Transparency International founder Peter Eigen ( He was also awarded the Global Environment Award of the International Association for Impact Assessment.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Faculty page". Harvard Kennedy School. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Secretary-General appoints John Ruggie of United States as special representative on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises". Press release. Office of the U.N. Secretary-General. July 28, 2005. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
  3. ^ "Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, John Ruggie" (PDF). Human Rights Council, 17th Session. Retrieved 17 August 2014.

External links[edit]