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LUC Welcomes Michael Ignatieff

Former leader of the Canadian opposition, world-renowned scholar and current President of Central European University (in Budapest) Prof. dr. Michael Ignatieff visited LUC The Hague on Thursday, November 25th. He was touring the Netherlands to promote his new book The Ordinary Virtues: Moral Order in a Divided World and stopped by the LUC campus in The Hague for a quick lunch with some of our students and staff.

The Ordinary Virtues

In his book, dr. Ignatieff tries to answer the question if economic globalization leads to a global convergence of human values. Over the course of three years, Ignatieff visited eight countries across the world looking for the answer. To do this, he spent time with a large variety of people: from favela dwellers in Brazil to gang leaders in Los Angeles and Buddhist monks in Myanmar. His findings: the moral language that resonates with most people is that of ‘everyday virtues’ like forgiveness, trust, and resilience. Regardless of where you live – as a member of the ‘global elite’ in New York, a resident of a township in Johannesburg, or a farmer in rural Kyrgyzstan – we tend to share our loyalties and virtues with the people we know.

Lunch and Q&A

His book was one of the topics staff and students discussed in our ‘all you can ask’ lunch session on Thursday. However, with someone as important as dr. Ignatieff there are so many more topics to discuss. The lunch started with interesting insights in Ignatieff’s leading role in the fight for academic freedom in Hungary. Earlier this year, Hungary’s government threatened to shut down ‘foreign universities’, most notably Central European University. In response, tens of thousands of people marched through the streets last April to show solidarity with the principle of academic freedom. Other topics that were discussed were the shared values systems in international human rights law (Ignatieff’s academic field of expertise), and how to stay true to real liberal values in a time of Trump and increased polarization. The questions from staff and students coming from different countries and academic disciplines provided a very fruitful discussions and new insights – for staff members and dr. Ignatieff alike.  

Want to know more?

Interested in dr. Ignatieff’s work? Buy his book, or listen to a panel discussion about his book at King’s College London last September.

Staff and students joined Prof. dr. Ignatieff for lunch and a Q&A at the LUC campus in The Hague