Skip to content
Reading time: 2 minutes
Ruth Ben-Ghiat headshot
Ruth Ben-Ghiat

Acclaimed political and cultural historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat will be in residency at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa this spring semester as the Dan and Maggie Inouye Distinguished Chair in Democratic Ideals.

Drawing upon decades of scholarship, Ben-Ghiat is a history and Italian studies professor at New York University, a Guggenheim fellow and advisor to Protect Democracy. She is also an MSNBC columnist and regular contributor to CNN and The Washington Post. Her latest book, Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present, looks at how illiberal leaders use propaganda, corruption, violence and machismo—and how they can be overcome.

“Having Dr. Ben-Ghiat here as our Spring 2023 Dan and Maggie Inouye Distinguished Chair in Democratic Ideals provides an opportunity to consider the surge in illiberal and authoritarian political currents across the globe from our unique vantage point of Hawaiʻi and the broader Pacific,” said Peter Arnade, dean of the UH Mānoa College of Arts, Languages and Letters.

During her residency at UH Mānoa, Ben-Ghiat will meet with students, faculty and the broader community in a series of free public events.

  • Community conversation with East-West Center President Suzanne Vares-Lum, March 1, 6 p.m., Church of the Crossroads
  • Keynote Address “Strongmen: How illiberal leaders consolidate power and how they can be defeated,” March 2, 6:30 p.m., UH Mānoa Art Auditorium. Please register for the event here.

The Dan and Maggie Inouye Distinguished Chair in Democratic Ideals brings prominent scholars, artists and public intellectuals to Hawai‘i to share their life experiences and foster public discourse regarding democratic ideals and civic engagement. The Inouye chair is administered jointly by the Department of American Studies in the College of Arts, Languages and Letters and the William S. Richardson School of Law.

Sponsored in part by the UH Better Tomorrow Speaker Series, a joint venture of UH Mānoa, Hawaiʻi Community Foundation and Kamehameha Schools. Established in 2005 by the UH Board of Regents.

For further information, contact Noelle Kahanu of UH Mānoa American Studies at

Back To Top