Barber currently holds the positions of Gershon and Carol Kekst Professor of Civil Society and Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park School of Public Policy, as well as president and director of the international NGO CivWorld, and its annual Interdependence Day event, and distinguished senior fellow at Demos. As a political theorist, Barber argues for a renewed focus on civil society and involved citizenship as tools for building effective democracy, particularly in the post-Cold War world. Benjamin Barber has been a Senior Fellow at the USC Center on Public Diplomacy since 2005.
Barber was educated at Grinnell College (B.A., 1960) and Harvard University (M.A., 1963; Ph.D., 1966), after earning certificates at Albert Schweitzer College (1959) and the London School of Economics (1957). He has served as an advisor to various politicians in the United States and around the world, including Bill Clinton and Howard Dean. Dean made Barber his foreign policy advisor in his failed 2004 campaign. WNYC - The Brian Lehrer Show: Only Dean’s Barber Knows For Sure (January 19, 2004)
He has also moonlighted as a singer, actor and magician.
Barber's honors include a distinction (Palmes Academiques/Chevalier) from France (2001), the Berlin Prize of the American Academy of Berlin (2001) and the John Dewey Award (2003). He has also been awarded Guggenheim, Fulbright, and Social Science Research Fellowships, honorary doctorates from Grinnell College, Monmouth University and Connecticut College, and has held the chair of American Civilization at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales in Paris.