Robert Putnam

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Robert Putnam

Robert D. Putnam is the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard, where he teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses. He is also Visiting Professor and Director of the Manchester Graduate Summer Programme in Social Change, University of Manchester (UK). Professor Putnam is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the British Academy, and past president of the American Political Science Association. In 2006, Putnam received the Skytte Prize, one of the world's highest accolades for a political scientist. Raised in a small town in the Midwest and educated at Swarthmore, Oxford, and Yale, he has served as Dean of the Kennedy School of Government.[1]


Putnam as written a dozen books, translated into seventeen languages, including the best-selling Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, and more recently Better Together: Restoring the American Community, a study of promising new forms of social connectedness. His previous book, Making Democracy Work, was praised by the Economist as "a great work of social science, worthy to rank alongside de Tocqueville, Pareto and Weber." Both Making Democracy Work and Bowling Alone rank high among the most cited publications in the social sciences worldwide in the last several decades.[2]


Putnam consults widely with national leaders, including US Presidents Bush and Clinton, British Prime Ministers Blair and Brown, and Ireland's Bertie Ahern. He founded the Saguaro Seminar, bringing together leading thinkers and practitioners to develop actionable ideas for civic renewal.[3]

Early work

Putnam's earlier work included research on comparative political elites, Italian politics, and globalization. Before coming to Harvard in 1979, he taught at the University of Michigan and served on the staff of the National Security Council. He is currently working on three major empirical projects: (1) the changing role of religion in contemporary America, (2) the effects of workplace practices on family and community life, and (3) practical strategies for civic renewal in the United States in the context of immigration and social and ethnic diversity.[4]

The American Prospect

In 2009 Robert Putnam was listed as a Contributing Editor of The American Prospect.[5]

al-Qadaffi adviser

As a longtime advisor to Saif al-Qaddafi, son of Libya's leader Muammar al-Qaddafi, Benjamin Barber knew him just about as well as any Western intellectual. Barber was among a small group of democracy advocates and public intellectuals, including Joseph Nye, Anthony Giddens, Francis Fukuyama, and Robert Putnam, working under contract with the Monitor Group consulting firm to interact with Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi on issues of democracy and civil society and to help his son Saif "implement democratic reforms and author a more representative constitution for Libya".[6]

Monitor Group

In April 2007, Anne-Marie Slaughter traveled with her husband Andrew Moravcsik, to Libya with Monitor Group, an organization that specializes in helping organizations and governments with the issues that are most important to them. Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi had contracted the group to enhance his public image in the U.S. The project was officially called "The Project to Enhance the Public Image of Libya and Moammar Gadhafi." The group's official summary memo of the project, obtained by World Net Daily stated that Monitor Group had been in discussion with George Soros about ways to "advocate on Libya's behalf." At the time, Slaughter was dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and was an adviser to then-presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Monitor was reportedly paid by the Government of Libya $250,000 a month along with an open expense account that would not total more than $2.5 million, apparently including travel for those sent to visit the country. The memo stated the group worked on behalf of Libya to "to enhance international understanding and appreciation of Libya and the contribution it has made and may continue to make to its region and to the world," and to present Gadhafi "as a thinker and intellectual, independent of his more widely known and very public persona as the Leader of the Revolution in Libya."

Other "important international figures" sent to Libya by Monitor included Richard Perle, former assistant secretary of defense; sociologist Anthony Giddens; Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Nicholas Negroponet; Middle East and Islam historian Bernard Lewis; Joseph Nye, professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University; and Harvard professor Robert Putnam.

Slaughter said she was aware that Monitor was being paid by the Libyan government, "but her understanding was that it was for consulting regarding economic and political reforms." She stated that she has never been an employee of Monitor Group. She was listed in Monitor Group literature as official "Monitor Talent." Subsequent to the above story breaking, Slaughter's profile page on the Monitor Group website was taken down. However it is accessible on the Way Back Machine. Click here to view Slaughter's profile with Monitor Group.[7]


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