Richard Rubenstein

Photo of Richard Rubenstein
Titles and Organizations

University Professor Emeritus of Conflict Resolution and Public Affairs, Carter School

Contact Information

Campus: Arlington
Building: Arlington: Vernon Smith Hall
Room 5090
Mail Stop: 4D3

Personal Websites


Richard Rubenstein was educated at Harvard College, Oxford University (Rhodes Scholar) and Harvard Law School.  Before coming to teach at George Mason University in 1987, he was a practicing lawyer in Washington DC, a political science professor at Roosevelt University in Chicago, and a law professor at Antioch School of Law in Washington DC.  At George Mason he joined the faculty of the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution and served as its director from 1988-1991. He retired from full-time teaching in 2023 and is now University Professor Emeritus at the Institute's successor, the Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution. 

Prof. Rubenstein is the author of ten books on political violence and conflict resolution, including Alchemists of Revolution: Terrorism in the Modern World (1986), When Jesus Became God (1999), Aristotle's Children (2003), and Reasons to Kill: Why Americans Choose War (2012).  His latest works are Resolving Structural Conflicts: How Violent Systems Can be Transformed (2017) and Conflict Resolution After the Pandemic (2021, with Solon Simmons).

Rubenstein has written many scholarly articles and is a frequent contributor to journals like Transcend Media Service and CounterPunch.  He organizes conferences and dialogues on key issues involving contemporary social conflicts. In 2023 he became chair of the Carter School’s Advisory Board.

Honors and Awards

  • Faculty Member of the Year for 2017, George Mason University Alumni Association
  • Honorary Degree- Doctor of Literature, University of Malta

In the News

Articles for Transcend Media Service

Against Involuntary Death
TRANSCEND Media Service, 5 Jun 2023

29 May 2023 – I recently celebrated my 85th birthday, an event that clearly lands me in “the valley of the shadow of death,” as King David so neatly put it. For a self-donated birthday present I gave myself permission to talk publicly about the more general implications of this situation in a way that some people may consider irritating or tasteless.

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Voting for Peace? A Democratic Dilemma
TRANSCEND Media Service, 5 Jun 2023

I recently discussed Biden’s and U.S. Democratic Party’s foreign policies with a friend in the peace movement. He agreed that to call these policies “imperialist” was, if anything, an understatement: “In the American two-party system, there is no lesser evil to vote for or support.” No lesser evil?

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Inculcating the “Military Virtues”: The Pentagon’s Predatory Role in U.S. High Schools
TRANSCEND Media Service, 19 Dec 2022

On 11 Dec, the New York Times broke a front-page story about “J.R.O.T.C,” described as “a program funded by the U.S. military designed to teach leadership skills, discipline, and civil values – and to open students’ eyes to the idea of a military career…” If peace education programs can be combined with civilian job training and public advocacy efforts, we might finally see a real challenge to the ongoing militarization of the schools.

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The Time to Negotiate Peace in Ukraine Is NOW
TRANSCEND Media Service, 24 Oct 2022

Experts in conflict resolution understand that, in many cases, the best time to undertake peace negotiations is exactly when warring parties, having stepped up their military efforts, declare that they will never negotiate with the enemy. Are things in Ukraine getting worse? Yes, for both sides. This is precisely the right time to give peace a chance.

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New Patterns of Conflict and the Weakness of Peace Movements
TRANSCEND Media Service, 29 Aug 2022

The beginning of the Russo-Ukrainian war in Feb 2022 dramatized a dangerous global conflict between the USA and its Cold War adversaries, Russia and China. A regional conflict that might have been resolved by negotiation or dialogues between the parties became relatively intractable, with no immediate solutions in sight.

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Anti-Abortion Activism and the Sources of Polarization
TRANSCEND Media Service, 25 Jul 2022

Abundance equally shared can make the tribal conflicts that plague us now seem obsolete.  It’s time to find a better way to organize our social and economic affairs.

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Reaching a Just and Lasting Peace in Ukraine
Submitted by Richard E. Rubenstein – TRANSCEND Media Service, 27 Jun 2022

On June 6-7, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network convened at the Vatican a study group of experts in international affairs, military and security affairs, and international relations among the US, European Union, Ukraine, and Russia. Their statement follows.

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Articles for CounterPunch

“Eric Draitser’s Disturbing Review of “War In Ukraine””
February 3, 2023  

“The New Turn in Ukraine: Putin’s War Becomes Biden’s War”
April 29, 2022  

“Russia vs. Ukraine: No Vaccine For War Fever”
April 13, 2022 

“The Ukrainian Conflict and the Imperial World System”
March 4, 2022  

Presentations and Performances

Reasons to Kill: Why Americans Choose War.” C-SPAN, Cambridge, MA, 2011.
Transforming Violent Systems: The Key To Social Peace.” TEDx Talk, George Mason University, 2020.
Dr. Richard Rubenstein: When Jesus Became God,” 2021.
Last But Not Least: Last Lecture with Richard Rubenstein and Sara Cobb,” 2023


  • B.A. magna cum laude, 1959, Harvard College
  • M.A. 1961, Oxford University
  • J.D. 1963, Harvard Law School
  • LL.D. honoris causa, 2016, University of Malta