Danielle Allen named next Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics

December 18, 2014

On December 18, 2014, the University announced the appointment of the Center's next Director. See below for a message from the Center's current Director, Lawrence Lessig.

Dear Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics community,

I'm writing with wonderful news.

As you know, when I joined the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, I had committed to leading a five-year research project, and then to step down. That was the genesis of the Lab. This is the Lab's final year, and, for at least the past year, the University has been conducting a search for a director to replace me.

Today, the University has announced the appointment of Danielle S. Allen, M.A. '98, Ph.D. '01, as the Faculty Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, and also to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as a Professor in the Government Department. Read the University's announcement here.

Danielle is a world famous political theorist. She was most recently the UPS Foundation Professor in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. She has won many awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship from 2002 to 2006. Danielle will continue the (newly founded) tradition of focusing the work of the Center on a particular theme. Stay tuned for the announcement of next year's theme, and the call for Fellows in January.

It has been an incredible honor to follow in the footsteps of the Center's founders (Dennis Thompson and, in a critically important way, Arthur Applbaum), and I am grateful to Harvard for allowing me the experiment of running an ethics Lab. The Fellows (residential, non-residential, and network) have done an extraordinary job giving birth to what now feels like a new field. And as we draw the Lab to a close, I am incredibly proud of everything that has been done (and very eager that we finish lots more by May!).

The Center, of course, is much more than the Lab, and I have been very fortunate to have the extraordinary support of Eric Beerbohm, Arthur, and Frances Kamm, as well as insanely talented research directors (Bill English, most recently) and the best possible staff (directed by the very best assistant director Stephanie Dant). All that together makes this, in my view, the best corner of Harvard. It gives me great joy to know that it will be led so effectively next year by such an extraordinary scholar. I look forward to working with Danielle, and to watching the Center flourish under her leadership.


Lawrence Lessig

Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership, Harvard Law School
Director, Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University

See also: Lawrence Lessig