Government Professor Daniel Ziblatt Tapped to Direct Harvard’s Center for European Studies


Harvard Government professor Daniel F. Ziblatt will lead the University’s Center for European Studies for a three-year term beginning in January, the center announced last week.

Ziblatt — a scholar of European politics, state-building democracy, and historical political economy — has been a member of the center since 2003 and previously served as its acting director in 2014 and 2019. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences earlier this year and serves as director of the Transformations of Democracy Research Unit at the Berlin Social Science Center.

“I am honored to lead the Center at such a challenging time for Europe, as it confronts a multitude of pressures due to Russia’s war in Ukraine, deepening geopolitical tensions between China and the United States, changing demographics and migration, fissures in transatlantic relations, and the challenge of de-democratization in countries such as Hungary and Poland,” Ziblatt said in a press release announcing his appointment.

Ziblatt succeeds Government professor Grzegorz Ekiert, who has served as CES Director since 2012.


“For more than 50 years, CES has been the leading Center for the study of Europe at Harvard and in the U.S. and a bridge for scholarly exchange across the Atlantic,” Harvard Dean of Social Science Lawrence D. Bobo said in the release. “As we witness perpetual challenges to democratic institutions around the world, Daniel’s important scholarship is ideally suited to build upon the Center’s mission and shape a compelling intellectual vision for the Center.”

Ziblatt’s colleagues in the Government department, including Ekiert, lauded his appointment.

“I am delighted that Daniel will be the next director. His passion for Europe and his expertise in the study of democracy make him ideally suited to lead CES at this juncture,” Ekiert said in the press release.

Government and Latin American Studies professor Steven Levitsky called Ziblatt “one of the most brilliant social scientists I know.”

“I think it’s a brilliant appointment,” he said. “Obviously, there are many, many issues facing Europe today, but the issue of democratic resilience in an increasingly diverse world is a major, major challenge facing Europe and I cannot think of a better person to be leading CES at this time than Daniel.”

—Staff writer Rysa Tahilramani can be reached at

—Staff writer Emily R. Willrich can be reached at