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Michael Ignatieff appointed Cleveringa Professor at Leiden University
11 June 2013
Michael Ignatieff, Canadian author, university professor and former politician, has been appointed Cleveringa Professor for the 2013-2014 academic year at Leiden University, the Netherlands. Professor Ignatieff will deliver the Cleveringa lecture on 26 November 2013.
Academic and politician
Michael Ignatieff (Ontario, Canada, 12 May 1947) read history at the University of Toronto and gained a doctorate at Harvard University. He is a former Senior Research Fellow at King's College, Cambridge, and has held teaching posts at the Universities of Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford, Toronto and London, and at the London School of Economics. From 2000-2007 he headed the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University. Ignatieff was leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and Leader of the Official Opposition from 2008 until 2011. He currently holds posts at both the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto.
Professor Ignatieff has written extensively on modern warfare and on questions associated with human rights. He is the author of 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 True Patriot Love (2009). In addition, he has written novels and won several literary prizes.
Broadcaster and critic
Ignatieff lived in the United Kingdom from 1978 to 2000, where he became well known as a broadcaster and critic on television and radio. He is particularly famed for his award-winning BBC series Blood and Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism, examining the issue of nationalism in the late twentieth century.
During World War II, on 26 November 1940, Professor Rudolph Cleveringa, Dean of Leiden University’s Faculty of Law, held a famous speech in the main auditorium of Leiden University against the dismissal of his Jewish colleague, E.M. Meijers, Professor of Private Law. On the orders of the German Nazi occupying forces, all ‘non-Arian government personnel and persons with an equivalent function’ were to be relieved of their positions. Professor Cleveringa’s speech triggered a strike among the students, which prompted the Nazis to close Leiden University.
Cleveringa Chair and Lecture
The Cleveringa chair was established in 1970 by Leiden University as a tribute to Cleveringa and his courageous conduct in November 1940. The Cleveringa chair is a one-year professorship that is held every academic year by a different Dutch or international academic. The Cleveringa professor is engaged in issues in the area of law, freedom and responsibility. The Cleveringa lecture is held every year on 26 November.
Former Cleveringa Professors
Former Cleveringa Professors include historians Professor Timothy Snyder and Professor Hans Blom, the author Ian Buruma, former President of the International Court of Justice Dame Rosalyn Higgins, Medical Anthropologist Professor Arthur Kleinman, Agriculture and Food Scientist Louise Fresco, and Dutch politician Job Cohen, then Mayor of Amsterdam.