Thu, 20 January 2022

7:00 pm - 8:15 pm GMT

Michael Ignatieff – On Finding Solace in Dark Times

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Political leader, philosopher, historian, journalist, broadcaster, and Booker shortlisted literary novelist: Michael Ignatieff is a twenty-first century renaissance man.

There has never been anyone like Michael Ignatieff.

As a young historian at Cambridge and Oxford, he did not rest in the ivory tower but brought his erudition on the great stories and crises of the day, travelling widely and becoming one of our most celebrated broadcasters and influential public intellectuals. Later, he returned to his native Canada to become leader of the Liberal Party: a scholar whose commitment to democratic ideals earned him widespread admiration on the global stage.

Now he joins us to reflect upon a philosophical question touching upon each of our lives: how do we console one another and ourselves in an age of unbelief?

When we lose someone we love, when we suffer loss or defeat, when catastrophe strikes—war, famine, pandemic—we go in search of consolation. In this moving and moving exploration of this essential idea, Ignatieff will show how men and women in extremity have looked to each other across time to recover hope and resilience.

Recreating the moments when great figures found the courage to confront their fate and the determination to continue unafraid, this talk will take those stories into the present, movingly contending that we can revive these traditions of consolation to meet the anguish and uncertainties of the twenty-first century.

Praise for Michael Ignatieff’s On Consolation:

‘An extraordinary meditation on loss and mortality – drawing on all of Michael Ignatieff’s powers as a philosopher, a historian, a politician and a man. His portraits of figures such as Hume and Montaigne are sharp and dignified, troubling and consoling, thoughtful and deeply humane.’ – Rory Stewart

‘In an age when we are so much in need of solace, Michael Ignatieff went looking for it in texts and times whose assumptions are profoundly different from our own. The result is a secular reinterpretation of a landscape that has often seemed visible only through a religious lens: it is elegant, humane and intensely rewarding.’ – Kwame Anthony Appiah

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Michael Ignatieff

Writer, Historian, Politician

Michael Ignatieff is a writer, historian and former politician. He has taught at Cambridge, Oxford, the University of Toronto and Harvard and is currently President and Rector at Central European University in Vienna. His books, which have been translated into twelve languages, include Blood and Belonging, Isaiah Berlin: a life, The Needs of Strangers, The Russian Album and The Ordinary Virtues.