SNF Agora Institute Announces Inaugural Director

By Dave Alexander

photo of Hahrie Han

Hahrie Han, a political scientist who has dedicated her career to understanding civic and political participation will now work to advance them as inaugural director of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University. She starts July 1.

The SNF Agora Institute is an interdisciplinary academic and public forum with a goal of strengthening democracy by fostering civic engagement, inclusive dialogue, and the open exchange of ideas. A scholar, prolific researcher, and author, Han comes to Baltimore from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she currently serves as the Anton Vonk Professor of Political Science and Environmental Politics and runs a lab dedicated to investigating how to build meaningful political and social action.

“Hahrie Han possesses that rare combination of qualities that we believe will make her a uniquely effective inaugural director for this institute,” Johns Hopkins President Ronald J. Daniels said. “Not only is she an outstanding scholar, whose work on civic participation has already shaped her field, she also brings a far-ranging strategic vision, boundless energy, and exceptional collegiality to all she undertakes.”

The SNF Agora Institute, created with a $150 million gift from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, aims to bring together a diverse group of scholars and practitioners, along with government, the media, and the broader community, to forge new ways to support its efforts in promoting healthy democracies. Han’s research focuses on the essence of the institute’s goals: civic and political participation, collective action, organizing, and social change.

“Strengthening our ability to realize the promise of democracy around the world is one of the great challenges of the 21st century,” Han said. “With its focus on blending the highest quality scholarly research with communities of practice and the public conversation, the SNF Agora Institute is uniquely poised to not only help us understand the complex problems, but also identify actionable solutions to address them. I am deeply honored by the opportunity to help build it.”