Born in Canada, educated at the University of Toronto and Harvard, Michael Ignatieff is a university professor, writer and former politician.

His major publications are The Needs of Strangers (1984), Scar Tissue (1992), Isaiah Berlin (1998), The Rights Revolution (2000), Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry (2001), The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror (2004), and Fire and Ashes: Success and Failure in Politics (2013).

Between 2006 and 2011, he served as an MP in the Parliament of Canada and then as Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and Leader of the Official Opposition. He is a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and holds eleven honorary degrees.

Between 2012 and 2015 he served as Centennial Chair at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs in New York.

Between 2014 and 2016 he was Edward R. Murrow Professor of the Practice of the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

He is currently the Rector and President of Central European University in Budapest.

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BA Honours History

University of Toronto, 1969

PhD, History

Harvard University, 1976


Cambridge University, 1978


President and Rector

Central European University, Budapest

2016 - present

Professor of Practice

Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

2013 - 2016

Centennial Chair

Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, New York

2012 - 2015


Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto

2012 - 2013

Senior Resident Fellow

Massey College, University of Toronto

2011 - 2012


Liberal Party of Canada

2009 - 2011

Deputy Leader

Liberal Party of Canada

2007 - 2008

Member of Parliament

House of Commons of Canada, Ottawa

2006 - 2011

Contributing Writer

The New York Times Magazine

2000 - 2005

Professor of Practice and Director

Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

2000 - 2005

Editorial Columnist

The Observer, London

1989 - 1991

Free-lance Writer

Broadcaster and Journalist, London

1985 - 2000

Visiting Scholar

Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris


Senior Research Fellow

King’s College, Cambridge

1978 - 1984

Assistant Professor

History Department, University of British Columbia

1976 - 1978