Navin Narayan Memorial Lecture

Navin NarayanIn 2000, Kalman and Kusuma Narayan endowed The Navin Narayan Memorial Lecture in honor of their late son, Social Studies concentrator, Navin Narayan.

Narayan was a remarkable and accomplished young man. From age 14, he worked with the Red Cross, rising to chair one of its national committees and advising then-director Elizabeth Dole. As a concentrator, Narayan conducted field work in India for his senior thesis, graduating summa cum laude, winning a Rhodes Scholarship, and gaining admission to Harvard Medical School. 

In addition to this endowed Lecture, the American Red Cross established the Navin Narayan Scholarship which is granted "to exceptional graduating high school seniors who show high academic competence and ambition, longevity and dedication to the American Red Cross, and leadership in their respective positions."

The Narayan Lecture is held each October at Adams House, and is open to the public. For additional information, please contact the Department at (617) 495-2163.

Past lectures include:


Sarah Lewis
Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture and African and African American Studies, Harvard University
"Race and the American Landscape: Visual Tactics of the Stand Your Ground Era"


Arlie Hochschild
Professor Emerita, UC Berkeley
"Strangers in Their Own Land: The Way Forward"


Robert Putnam
Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy, Harvard University
"How Did We Get Here? Social Change in America, 1900-2020"


E.J. Dionne
Brookings Institution Senior Fellow
Washington Post Columnist
"Defending Democracy in an Age of Disaffection"


Peniel E. Joseph
Barbara Jordan Chair in Politics and Ethics at the LBJ School of Public Affairs
Professor of History at The University of Texas at Austin
"From Selma to Ferguson: Civil Rights, Black Power, and Racial Justice in the Age of Obama and Black Lives Matter"


Martha Minow
Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
"Justice and Debt Forgiveness"

2001-2013 Lectures


Eric Nelson
Professor of Government, Harvard University 
"The Lord Alone Shall Be King of America: Hebraism and the Republican Turn of 1776"


Melissa Lane 
Professor of Politics, Princeton University 
"Eco-Republic: Plato and Sustainable Citizenship"


Anne-Marie Slaughter 
Professor of Politics, Princeton University
Former Director of Policy Planning at the State Department
"Connect the World: Technology, Society, and Global Problem-Solving"


Amy Guttmann 
President of the University of Pennsylvania 
"Social Studies, Then and Now"


Rory Stewart 
Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy


Louise Richardson
Executive Dean, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
"What Terrorists Want: Understanding the Enemy, Containing the Threat"


Jennifer Leaning
Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
"Ask What You Can Do for the World: The Legacy of Navin Narayan"


Paul Farmer
Founding Director of Partners in Health
"Global Health Equity"


Michael Ignatieff
Carr Professor of Human Rights Practice
Director, Carr Center for Human Rights and Policy
"Human Rights and Citizenship in an Age of Terror"


Father Bryan Hehir
President, Catholic Charities USA, Archdiocese of Boston
"Religion, Politics, and Peace"


Samantha Power
Founding Executive Director of the Carr Center of Human Policy
"Human Rights and American Power: An Inherent Oxymoron or a Necessary Merger"


David G. Nathan, M.D.
President Emeritus, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Robert A. Stranahan Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
"Ethical, Political, and Financial Challenges to Progress in Medicine" 


Robert Reich
University Professor and Maurice B. Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy, Heller School, Brandeis University
"Whatever Happened to the Social Contract?"