Eminent political theorist Eric Beerbohm, professor of government and faculty affiliate in the Department of Philosophy, has been appointed as the next director of Harvard’s Edmond & Lily Safra Center for Ethics.
Beerbohm succeeds Danielle S. Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor, M.A. ’98, Ph.D. ’01, who has served as director since 2015 and will continue in her role as a University Professor.
“The Edmond & Lily Safra Center for Ethics has been a catalyst for important work in ethics at Harvard and a key part of advancing that work in the world beyond,” said University Provost and Chief Academic Officer Alan M. Garber. “Eric’s many intellectual achievements in the field of ethics and political thought and his cross-disciplinary engagement both inside and outside the University make him an ideal candidate to direct its work. I am thrilled that he has agreed to serve as director.”
“I also want to extend my thanks to Danielle Allen for her tremendous leadership over the past eight years, both in continuing to develop the center’s intellectual vision and building up the community of scholars carrying that vision forward,” said Garber. Over the course of her eight years of leadership, Allen established several major research and impact initiatives at the center. These included the Design Studio for Ethics and Civics Pedagogy and the Justice, Health, and Democracy Impact Initiative, a project introduced by Allen to further the application of ethics in areas such as genetics, alternative emergency response programs, and economic dignity.
As director of the Edmond & Lily Safra Center for Ethics, Beerbohm will further its work to encourage teaching and research about ethical issues in public and professional life. He will expand on its work in Harvard’s House system, drawing on his experience serving as a faculty dean. As a longtime affiliate of the center, he looks forward to taking on his new role.
“I couldn’t be more excited to work with this vibrant community of students, faculty, and staff across the University as we grapple with the most serious ethical issues of our time. Some are arrestingly new — like ChatGPT. Others go back to when democracy was a pilot project,” Beerbohm said. “The Edmond & Lily Safra Center’s mission is as urgent now as when its founding director, Dennis Thompson, charted its path in 1986.”
“Eric embodies the commitment of the Edmond & Lily Safra Center for Ethics to putting work on core human values at the center of teaching, learning, and public policy. He’s helped to build some of the center’s most important programs — both our graduate and undergraduate fellowship programs — and invariably leads with warmth, collegiality, and integrity,” said Danielle Allen, the center’s current director. “I am excited to see where he will take the center next.”