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Jonathan F. Fanton

Honorary Doctorate


Jonathan F. Fanton

Jonathan F. Fanton – BA, MA Philosophy, PhD American History
Honorary Doctor of Laws

Dr. Jonathan Fanton is a leading advocate for a more just, sustainable and peaceful world who  has devoted his professional life to promoting innovation in higher education, global justice and philanthropy.

As President of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (1999-2009), Fanton provided critical support for Canadian-led initiatives such as the Ottawa Treaty banning antipersonnel landmines, creation of the International Criminal Court and formation of the doctrine of “Responsibility to Protect.” He continues to be one of the world’s leading advocates for an integrated system of international justice and for four years, served as chair of Human Rights Watch, the largest U.S. based human rights organization, which operates in 70 countries.

During Fanton’s tenure, support from the MacArthur Foundation enabled The University of Winnipeg to engage in a number of conservation and land use planning projects with First Nations communities in Northern Manitoba. In 2008, UWinnipeg hosted experts from the MacArthur Foundation’s groundbreaking digital learning initiative, focused on understanding how digital media are changing the way young people learn, play and socialize.

Fanton pioneered a distinct style of higher learning as President of the New School for Social Research in New York City (1982-1999). The New School is renowned for inspiring students to create positive change in the world. Under his tutelage, the New School also embraced the immediate neighbourhood and became a force for change and redevelopment in lower Manhattan, by sponsoring market gardens and new housing. 

Fanton’s determination to reach for that which is possible has had a significant impact around the world, in Canada, and most especially, here at The University of Winnipeg.