Carnegie Council Congratulates Michael Ignatieff on Winning Eighth Annual Zócalo Book Prize for "The Ordinary Virtues"

May 17, 2018

Michael Ignatieff's latest book, The Ordinary Virtues: Moral Order in a Divided World, which grew out of his Centennial project for Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, has won the Zócalo Book Prize for 2018.

An internationally-known scholar and former politician in his native Canada, Dr. Ignatieff is currently president and rector of Central European University in Budapest.

"All of us at Carnegie Council offer our congratulations to Michael Ignatieff on winning this prestigious prize," said Joel Rosenthal, president of Carnegie Council. "We were honored to have him as our Centennial Chair from 2012-2014. The Ordinary Virtues is the culmination of his Centennial project, Global Ethical Dialogues, a multi-year initiative that engaged societies across the world in the quest for a global ethic—shared values with which to tackle problems that transcend national boundaries."

To write this book, Dr. Ignatieff embarked on an eight-nation journey in search of answers to the following questions: What moral values do human beings hold in common? As globalization draws us together economically, are our values converging or diverging? In particular, are human rights becoming a global ethic?

After engaging with people in disparate communities across the world, what he found was this: while human rights may be the language of states and liberal elites, the moral language that resonates with most people is that of everyday virtues: tolerance, forgiveness, trust, and respect.

The Zócalo Book Prize is given to the nonfiction book that most enhances our understanding of community, human connectedness, and social cohesion. "[Michael Ignatieff's] premise is so basic and so brilliant that it wholeheartedly embodies the Zócalo Book Prize," said one of the Zócalo Book Prize judges. "His observation of the forces and virtues that allow us to live side by side, and the hierarchy of our morality and treatment of others, gave me a deeper understanding of intrinsic human virtues and how they transcend religion and geography to help people live their lives."

Dr. Ignatieff will deliver the lecture and accept the prize, which includes a $5,000 award, on May 22 at the National Center for the Preservation Democracy in downtown Los Angeles. The title of his lecture is: "Are Ordinary Virtues More Powerful than Universal Values?" Please see more details on the award ceremony here.