Ignatieff, Michael Grant (ĭgnătˈēəf) [key], 1947–, Canadian politician, writer, and academic, b. Toronto, B.A. Univ. of Toronto (1969), Ph.D. Harvard (1976), M.A. Cambridge (1978). He was an assistant professor at the Univ. of British Columbia, Vancouver (1976–78) and a senior research fellow at King's College, Cambridge (1978–84) before he became a presenter and documentary film writer with the British Broadcasting Corp. (1985–2000). In 2001 he became a professor at Harvard and director of its Center for Human Rights policy, but he resigned in 2005 to enter Canadian politics. He was elected to parliament in 2006, as a Liberal from an Ontario constituency. He subsequently was an unsuccessful candidate for the Liberal party leadership, losing to Stéphane Dion and becoming deputy party leader. When Dion resigned in 2008, Ignatieff became party leader. He resigned in 2011 after the Liberals were routed at the polls and he lost his own seat.
Ignatieff's nonfiction works include A Just Measure of Pain: Penitentiaries in the Industrial Revolution, 1780–1850 (1978); The Needs of Strangers: An Essay on the Philosophy of Human Needs (1983), which focuses on spiritual, emotional, and social human needs; The Russian Album (1987), a memoir of his aristocratic Russian family; a biography of Sir Isaiah Berlin (1998); and Virtual War: Kosovo and Beyond (1999). He also has written three novels and contributed articles to newspapers, magazines, and academic journals.
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